A brief History of Coffee and Community in Queen Creek
A senior lady (70+) and her son (50+) open the coffee shop with a single mom and a community activist. They start with a donated food cart, an espresso machine from AMAZON and a bit of love. They can't even afford a sign but the city requires it - so they get a "one-letter" sign: the number "3"
The number three will stand for "third place," - a concept that was coined by Ray Oldenburg to define the need for gathering places in the community. Ray Oldenburg, an American Sociologist said we need places for diverse people to gather from the community for communal health. He said first places are your home, second places your work, and third places are gathering spots in the community that help build a healthy community. Third Place Cup, a Queen Creek Coffee House, was going to be that place. They started with very average coffee from world market or walmart and gave it away free for the first year and set up open mics on Fridays and live music on Saturdays. And it took off as the only regularly live music venue is the city.
Year 2. A young barista and singer showed up and hung out and then her and a foreign exchange student from Germany began running the coffee shop with many volunteers. One of the champions was Barry Barista's niece. The three of them and many more began singing and serving coffee and roasting their own green coffee beans in a popcorn popper in the back. Only the freshest roasted coffee was going to be served. A 25 cent requested donation was installed at this stage.
Year 3. A young couple from Colorado came to run the shop - he a singer and coffee aficionado. At this time we were donated around $20,000 from several sources to make it commercially legal so we installed a grease trap, bough commercial grade equipment, and around $8000 in a lever pulled espresso machine and a jolly mazzer grinder. At this time we started ordering only 3rd wave coffee - roasted just past first crack at 215-225 degrees. We only did pour-overs at this stage - and we started taking coffee care to the next level.
Year 4. A super-hero of the community - the president of RE:STORE food pantry - Shelly Vance Kohler began running the shop and implemented lunches. With some volunteers from around the community and the united states she too took the coffee shop to the next level. Many volunteers helped but then life happened and we needed to find some more help.
Year 5. (the first half) A school for drop out students started running the coffee shop for six months. They did an amazing job as well and implemented gluten free and vegan pastry options. The coffee shop grew and morphed into the goto place for in-house home-made healthy gluten free snacks. Third place was sad when this team decided on their own to move on - but happy to know that they had been inspired to do a similar community service/coffee shop venture. We have wished them well and all the best.
Year 5. (the second half) as of April 2016 - a new set of volunteers are running the coffee shop including: Noah (a freshman agri-business major at ASU polyptych), Barry ( a local community activist & parista - yes meant to be spelled that way), Shelly (yes the super-hero from year 4), Cristy (a local volunteer chef and baker), Nate (a regular volunteer and world-traversing super-star), Savannah (a senior in high school in Queen creek who wanted to do community service) and a retired water-well drilling aquaponics engineers named Randy. Would you like to join the volunteer team? This is a coffee shop for the people, by the people. Peace to you!