Camp North End roastery and coffee shop HEX Coffee is releasing a specialty Rogicha Ethiopian coffee tomorrow with the help of Charlotte artist and Queen Agenda founder Saloan Goodwin. Half of the proceeds from the new brew will benefit HEAL Charlotte, an organization that recently kicked off a $10-million capital campaign to transform a motel on Reagan Drive into a mixed-use transitional living complex.
HEX Coffee will spread the remaining 50% among a handful of wholesale accounts that the company has partnered with in Charlotte and across the country. These accounts will pick organizations in their communities that they wish to support, and HEX will make a donation on their behalf.
“We understand the coffee industry can be faceless when it comes to the hundreds of people it takes to produce just one coffee that finds its way to the consumer,” said HEX co-founder John Michael Cord. “With this release, we are trying to point to those around the country that are doing real hard work to enrich, improve, protect, and preserve Black communities and culture.”
HEX Joins the Social Justice Conversation
Since the roastery opened as a pop-up in 2015, it’s been featured in Bon Appetit, Food & Wine and Hop Culture. Most recently, HEX Coffee was recognized for serving coffee to presidential candidate Joe Biden during a campaign stop at Camp North End.
“When we started at Camp North End we literally only had a roaster and coffee,” says co-founder Chandler Wrenn. “We have been slowly investing into our space over the last three years. We feel like we are growing alongside Camp North End.”
As their popularity grew, so did their platform. During a time when conversations of scarce housing and racial injustice are at a high in Charlotte, HEX takes the opportunity to contribute rather than skirt around the sensitive topics, Cord said in a release on Wednesday.
“We are a small roastery here in North Carolina, but we feel an obligation to use our platform and market to continue to educate, inform, and continue the momentum to create lasting change that the Black Lives Matter movement, HEAL Charlotte and other initiatives around the country are working hard to bring to fruition,” Cord stated.
A Positive Perspective
HEX originally learned of Goodwin’s work through a referral from Davita Galloway, CEO and co-founder of Dupp & Swat, a HEX Coffee neighbor at Camp North End. Cord asked her to design the packaging for the product, but she didn’t want to do it blindly. For a better understanding, Goodwin insisted on tasting the new roast for inspiration.
“The first feeling that it gave us felt like joy,” Goodwin told Queen City Nerve, recalling her first visit to HEX and the first taste of Rogicha.
Goodwin described the resulting HEX piece as bright, whimsical and beautiful. The full design, which can be found on an insert inside the package, depicts a collage of a Black woman running in the sun over a floral background.
“It’s important that we balance out the perspective of Black people in a world that only harps on the trauma we experience. We are also happy people, we love our families, we have joyous moments that should be equally displayed. That is the formula to the art I make: beauty and joy,” Goodwin shares.
Goodwin, who designed the packaging for the limited release, began her career as a photographer more than 15 years ago. As she graduated from college with a degree in Public Relations from North Carolina A&T University, the landscape of her work continued to expand.
She began experimenting with collage work at the beginning of the pandemic, which led to where she is now.
“Through her art, Saloan takes life, beauty, and joy of being Black and portrays that to bring hope and light into tough times such as these — a theme that we hope is communicated through this joining of art and coffee,” Cord said.
Rogicha, a natural-process coffee from the Rogicha hamlet in Guji, Ethiopia, is $19.75 for a 10-ounce box and will be available online and at select retailers across the country starting Oct. 16. That includes the Camp North End roastery, located at 1824 Statesville Ave., Suite 101.