Cool Kids Coffee Roasters, a new roastery based in New Orleans, does more than make coffee. The brand was started by District Donuts.Sliders.Brew. (know for their delectable donuts and more) and partners with local nonprofits that are specifically related to children. For every retail bag sold, Cool Kids shares $1 with a nonprofit in an effort to make young lives better.
Co-founder Aaron Vogel knew that coffee and espresso would always be a part of District's DNA and knew, that at some point, they would want to do it themselves. "We make everything by hand: the bread, the donuts," he says. "We waited for the appropriate time to integrate the coffee component."
Vogel and his partner, Chris Audler, had never roasted coffee before. They shadowed knowledgeable friends, acquired the equipment, and did plenty of research. After several months, they began to put cold brew, drip coffee, and espresso into District. "We staged it out slowly and got feedback from people. We knew we needed to treat it with honor and respect, since this is something that is not easy. We took the time to figure that out and did it with diligence."
Bags of coffee are available for purchase at District locations (not yet online), and is the preferred coffee of some New Orleans offices. (One of Vogel's goals is to get Cool Kids in more of the city's churches and offices). Businesses and individuals now have another choice besides roast when choosing coffee: they can choose to support a cause.
Helping others has long been a part of District's philosophy. Vogel worked in the nonprofit sector in his 20s and knew from age 16 that we wanted to give his life to organizations that would help and change lives. "When District came along, it wasn't about District," he told Adore. "It was 'how can I tie in my passion of serving people in a business platform?'"
District was established in 2013 under the TurnChange, LLC, where Cool Kids also lives. TurnChange stands for "Turn Profits, Change Lives," and Vogel says they wanted TurnChange to be at the heart of their roastery. Cool Kids currently partners with Crossroads Nola, which connects children in crisis with foster families, and Children's Hospital of New Orleans.
The company's 130 employees are also involved with the nonprofits. Participation includes delivering donuts on Thanksgiving and Christmas to Children's Hospital to bringing bags of coffee and a meal to a foster family during the first days of taking a child in. (Vogel, a foster parent himself, says the first few days are very difficult).
As the partners look to expand Cool Kids, they are sticking to their tried and true philosophy. "We can always do more things, but we like to do things with a great story, purpose, and intentionality around."