I was running late. My friends were meeting me at Laughing Man Coffee, that sliver of a shop that had opened in Tribeca about a year ago.
Founded by actor Hugh Jackman, Laughing Man is not just your ordinary coffee shop whose profits go to glorify some corporate CEO. Jackman?s visit to Ethiopia and his friendship with an Ethiopian coffee farmer ?Dukale ?was the inspiration behind Laughing Man Worldwide. At the core of the charity?s belief is the tagline, All Be Happy.
As I read more about Jackman?s vision, I realized that this vision was far from a get rich quick scheme or just another coffee outfit. Jackman has a genuine interest in and hope for humanity, and that sense of purpose pays off in that Laughing Man Coffee gives 50% of its profits back to Laughing Man Worldwide, and benefits the community of farmers from whom the beans are sourced. Laughing Man Worldwide, according to its website, gives 100% of the profits it receives from companies worldwide to charity.
Committed to education as the building block and foundation of a peaceful and prosperous community, the foundation supports various educational initiatives both in the U.S. and worldwide. Compared to so many other coffee shops I know and love, the vision and commitment of Laughing Man to improving the lives of humanity stands out.
That?s not to say that other coffee companies don?t give back: Starbucks has its Ethos Water Fund which takes 5 cents from every bottle of water sold for its sanitation, hygiene and educational programs in water-stressed countries; Green Beans Coffee donates a portion of proceeds to charities that help military families or children of the fallen. But Laughing Man Worldwide is more than generous in the proportion of profits it gives back to the community.
Laughing Man Tribeca is barely a few square feet of space, but along its walls are curated bags of whole bean and fresh ground coffee, teas, chocolate bars, accessories and gift sets. ?Many locals and visitors come here for their famously advertised Flat White Coffee (this originates from Australia and made using microfoam over a single or double shot of espresso; Think of it as a Caffe Au Lait?Aussie style). But many also come to buy whole beans which are roasted in Tribeca and Maspeth, NY.
?The most popular coffees that people purchase are the Ethiopian and House Blend,? says Angel, the General Manager of Laughing Man and one of the key personnel in the startup. The House Blend varies in the proportion of its beans according to seasonality, so it?s hard to predict what the House Blend will taste like. But that?s half the fun.
Since the Tribeca location is the size of a postage stamp, my friends and I had trouble finding a seat. One of us ended up standing.
What the Tribeca location lacks in space it amply makes up in charm and hospitality. The croissants are flaky and fresh. The flat white coffee is perfection?not too acidic, not too sweet or unduly roasted. In the words of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, ?Just right.?
In a quest to expand, Laughing Man Worldwide has opened another coffee shop in Battery Park on August 4th.
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RunawayJuno at Laughing Man coffee, where we had our first proper NYC meeting!?