Sunday, February 21, 2016

Amalgam Comics & Coffee - Philadelphia

A Coffee Maven Preview
(Not to worry: this blog is still primarily for postings by my GEOG 298 coffee students. The spring course is underway, and the next round of student finds will be here in March and April. Until then, it is all Coffee Maven.)
Source: Amalgam's Facebook Cover
At the beginning of this year, I began hearing about a new coffee shop in Philadelphia that is creating a lot of positive attention. I will turn this preview into a review as soon as my next drive to Maryland, since Philly is just a small side trip if I'm zooming down 95 to see friends and family in the Baltimore-Washington-Annapolis area.

I believe the first mention I heard was during an interview with founder Ariell Johnson on All Things Considered and soon after that, Amy Poehler's Smart Girls blog reported that Johnson is Taking the Comic Shop World by Storm.

What is all the excitement about? Apparently, a great coffee shop with a mission. In this case, the mission is to highlight not only the fact that comic-book audiences are more diverse than is often assumed while also highlighting work that brings some of that diversity to the comics themselves. Plus yoga, delicious baked goods (according to the reviews I have read) and, of course, coffee.

The main online presence of Amalgam is the Amalgam Philly Facebook page, which is filled with special events, links to the media items, including Johnson's own brief and powerful essay on Black History for

I look forward to my next drive south, so that I can learn more about this shop and of course its coffee!

The coffee at Amalgam comes from Philly Fair Trade Roasters, whose suppliers include PRODECOOP, a farmer cooperative I have visited in northern Nicaragua. In fact, I'm drinking PRODECOOP coffee (roasted myself) at home as I write this!
A good indication of PFT Roaster's commitment to coffee farmers is that its home page currently features an article on roya coffee rust, which threatens coffee and livelihoods throughout Central America. (I speak about this plague in my Coffee Bellwethers TED Talk.) When I visit Amalgam in real life, I'm going to have to set aside some time to visit Philly Fair Trade as well!

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