Time for Coast
It’s early Thursday morning, and Noah Pickett is zipping around the loading dock behind Higher Grounds Trading Company. Noah is busy loading bags of coffee beans into three large waterproof containers.
“I triple check that I have everything, and then I shove off,” they say as they load the heavy containers into an extended metal bike trailer.
It is a typical Thursday for Noah, who delivers coffee to businesses as part of the Higher Grounds’ Beans By Bike program. The service has been around since 2009 and hauls hundreds of pounds of coffee weekly. They pull the trailer of beans 25 miles per week, year-round.
Noah is a roaster and a barista for Higher Grounds, but they say this is their favorite part of the job. “It’s a great way to start my morning,” says Noah. “What’s lovely is that you get a lot of people saying hello. And in the summertime, the visitors are very curious — I’ve had some very pleasant conversations, just filling them in on what’s going on. Then, every once in a while, they ask if they can buy some coffee.”
Noah says Beans By Bike is close to the heart of what Higher Grounds stands for. In 2016, the program helped the company earn the League of American Bicyclists’ prestigious Bronze Level Bicycle Friendly Business award.
“We’re a company that has its own set of values, and those are very important to us,” says Noah. “All of our coffee is organic and fair-trade, we’re trying to limit our carbon footprint, and we’re very mindful of our impact on our community and the communities we interact with overseas. We’re trying to instill trust and integrity in those relationships, and this program is an extension of that.”
Higher Grounds also values active, healthy lifestyles, as evidenced by its long-standing support for Norte. Each summer, they sell the Coast blend and donate $5 per bag to Norte’s youth bike program, Adventure Bike Club.
Noah has a lot of fun delivering coffee to local businesses like Oryana — which goes through 300 pounds per week by itself — and he gets a lot of positive feedback from the community. He thinks bicycle travel is a great way to get around town, and he envisions a future where the bike delivery model takes off to include more businesses.
“Whatever gets more people on a bike and active is a very good thing,” they said.
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