October 10, 2016

Why Cafés Are Asking Customers to Donate Coffee


Paying it forward isn’t a new concept. There are movies about it. It has hashtags. It existed in Ancient Greece. And frankly, it’s brilliant.

More and more coffee houses are running pay-it-forward schemes at no loss to themselves, but at significant benefit to their local community. Here are some common ways, along with information on how to get started.

SEE ALSO: Shop For a Cause: Amazon & Anacafé Support Education in Guatemala


When is a coffee more than a coffee? When you’re paying it forward.

What Is Paying It Forward?

With more than one in five in the UK living in poverty (IFS 2015) and 46.7 million in the US (US Census, IMF 2016), you probably know somebody near you who could do with a coffee. They just can’t afford it.

But let’s not get too gloomy; you’re probably on a coffee break right now.

More and more coffee shops are finding different ways to make a difference in someone’s life, whether small or big. Here are some ways you can do it as well.


How much good can be done from behind an espresso machine?

Big Changes: Empowerment Through Employment

Café owners have the ability to make big changes to people’s lives. In fact, some people have even established not-for-profit cafes for this very purpose.

Second Shot Coffee in London is helping tackle homelessness by hiring and retraining people who have nowhere to live. In this way, their new employees get a profession and an income. They can then get off the streets and build a passion for their new career.

Paper & Cup, also in London, hires recovering addicts as baristas or café managers, allowing them to start a new life with a new skillset. Their partner, British café chain Pret a Manger, may also employ them after they’ve grown professionally.

Of course, not everyone can rethink their HR policies in that way. But there are other ways to pay it forward.


Cafés can serve so much more than a coffee and snack.

Making a Small Difference:

We can’t fix the world, but we can make it a little easier to bear – and we can do it through coffee.

A warm cup of coffee can keep someone warm on a bitter winter evening. It can give hope on a dismal day – when someone’s been rejected for yet another job, or doesn’t know how they’ll afford their children’s uniform.

So here at Discovering Coffee, we decided to set up our own way of helping cafés pay it forward with coffee – one that extends far beyond us. One that allows every café all over the world to help others.

Good To-Go: How YOU Can Help Others

We spoke to Good Deeds Day to organise what we’re calling the Good To-Go scheme. By following the instructions below, any café around the world can join and make their community a better place.

  1. Download the Good Deeds Day & Discovering Coffee Stickers.
  2. Put them in your window or by the cash register for all to see.
  3. Draw your customers’ attention to them, and encourage them to pay it forward with a cup of coffee.
  4. Share your photo on Facebook and/or Instagram using the #GoodDeedsDay and #DiscoveringCoffee hashtags!


Whatever you decide to do, it’s easy to make a difference to someone’s day. Whether it’s a job offer, a cup of coffee, or a friendly smile, let’s #payitforward.

Perfect Daily Grind is not affiliated with any of the individuals or bodies mentioned in this article, and cannot directly endorse them.

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