Two blocks away from BSGE on Northern Boulevard is a large white building that resembles a warehouse, similar to the many other barren looking structures throughout Astoria and Long Island City (LIC). But if you manage to stumble inside the first floor of this building you will find “Coffeed,” the eco-friendly coffee shop that gives back to the community of Queens through 10% of their beverage sales and 5% of their food sales.
The first thing one would most likely notice is the casual setup of the café with mismatched tables and chairs strung along a cement floor with posters and chalkboards hung up along the wall. Although the spacious room seems to resemble a forgotten loft, the relaxing music, aroma of brewing coffee and quiet chatter gives it a comfortable and homey vibe.
“It’s a quaint kind of locale,” Andres Gomez 15’ said. “It’s definitely a place I would go to for a sandwich after school.”
Frank Raffaele or, “Turtle”, his nickname, is the founder of this coffee shop business with two other stores in Port Washington, Long Island and the CUNYLaw building, also in LIC. A “Queens boy” growing up in various neighborhood of Queens, Raffaele is a graduate of Yale who returned to his roots to contribute to the large ethnic borough using his knowledge of business that he has acquired over the years.
“Coffeed came from the idea that we needed to create a business, in simple terms, but something that is unique.”
And unique is everything Coffeed is. Besides being a humanitarian coffee shop, sending their profits to local charities, Coffeed is also eco-friendly and very community-orientated. The flagship store of Coffeed on Northern Boulevard is partnered with Brooklyn Grange, a rooftop farming business that actually has its own farm on the roof.
In fact, BSGE has an excellent view of the Brooklyn Grange Farm from the East side of our school. In case you don’t know which side is the East side, the view from Mr. Heine’s room on the fourth floor is fantastic. You can easily point out the farm from its sky blue colored shed on the roof labeled with the giant words of “FARM.”
Raffaele reflects fondly of the his first experience with the farm.
“I remember as soon as I saw the farm, I fell in love. I knew I had to have our coffee shop HERE.”
Current manager of Coffeed, Victoria Jennings also raves about the farm, saying “I take any chance I can get to come up here.” She continues, “Honestly, this farm is a huge part of the reason why this job is so great.”
Coffeed works with Brooklyn Grange Farm in a symbiotic relationship where Coffeed sends its used coffee grounds and food scraps to use as fertilizer in the farm while Coffeed uses the fresh harvested vegetables in their menu. Coffeed also donates parts of its profits to Brooklyn Grange for a charity they have that brings inner city kids to the farm in order to learn how food comes to their plate and to interact with a real farm.
Raffaele also believes in the immense importance of schools in any neighborhood or community. He even allowed us to quote him on saying, “All BSGE students will be given a 15% discount off all beverages and foods if they bring their student ID!”
Now there is no reason not to give Coffeed a try.