Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Going Green Before It Was Hip

Going "green" seems to be the latest rage.

It appears everyone wants to be environmentally correct nowadays. Everywhere you go, people are recycling more, building better buildings, even doing away with plastic shopping bags. But what if you were doing this all along before everyone one else showed up at the party?

Well, meet Ravenheart Cafe - downtown Elgin's newest hangout at 176 East Chicago Street and winner of the William Strickland award from the Mayor's office for rehabbing an old building into a fresh, new green business.

Photo: The Ravenheart Cafe logo might remind you of Edgar Allen Poe, but you could also think of it as one of the migratory birds that are saved by using sustainable shade-grown coffee.

According to owner Jerri McCue, the green doesn't stop at the building. She also serves sustainable shade grown coffee. What's that? You might ask. McCue has an answer.

"Shade grown coffee means the coffee is grown under the natural canopy of the forest as opposed to sun grown coffee where the forest's are cut down to grow the coffee."

The benefit of top shade grown coffee is the protection of the natural habitat for migratory birds says McCue. "Shade grown coffee is also rated in the top 15% of the coffee grown in the world."

This makes McCue's coffee a tasty treat of the highest quality. Another benefit to all this is that the growers of the coffee are treated fairly. All in all, it's an excellent product that McCue is very proud of and happy to bring to downtown Elgin.

"We've been promoting sustainable shade grown coffee for 5 years even before it was hip to be green," McCue says. "We pay more for our coffee but don't pass that on to our customers."

In actuality, McCue says Ravenheart is priced below most chain coffee shops. This is no small feat, considering Ravenheart is a family owned and operated independent green business.

When approached about participating in Walkabout, McCue was open to the idea.

"Anything we can do to get more people down here is fine by me," she said. "This is a wonderful location and people are excited by us being here. Now we just need more of them."
Ravneheart Cafe will be hosting Vex Theatre when they present "Netherlands" as part of Walkabout: Theater on your Feet. You can learn more about Ravenheart at their website:

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