Local Coffee Company Brews Cheer During Crisis


Photo Courtesy of Adeel Asif

In regards to sourcing their coffee beans, Able Coffee Roasters works with a foundation named Café Femenino. Dedicated to improving the economic and social rights of female coffee workers, Café Femenino pays a fair trade cost for all of the coffee beans that these women farm.

By Claudia Lin and Charlotte Cao

From mom-and-pop restaurants to local bookstores, small businesses play a large role in establishing the character of a community. But with the onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the resulting quarantine, several community shops in Irvine have been forced to bring all operations to a temporary halt. 

Despite these unanticipated obstacles, Able Coffee Roasters, an Orange County-based coffee company, has managed to creatively offer their services to customers while abiding by social distancing laws. Founded by Adeel Asif, the older brother of sophomore Aneeqa Asif, and his partner Anthony Palmeri in 2018, Able Coffee Roasters sells whole bean coffee that has been sourced from countries around the world. 

“Being a small business is definitely harder and more stressful than a larger business, in the sense that we don’t have the same financial backing as many other larger businesses,” Adeel Asif said. “For us, in a time like this, it is basically about surviving and making it through these times without going out of business. Whether you are a small or large business, it is the same thing; just because the sales stop, doesn’t mean the expenses stop.”

In order to adapt to current circumstances, the local coffee company established Able Home Delivery, a distributing system in which orders are left on the customers’ doorsteps so they can enjoy freshly-brewed coffee drinks with a minimal risk of contamination. 

“I think it means a lot to the businesses that are still able to function by offering delivery options since those who couldn’t have to close indefinitely,” customer and sophomore Cinta Adhiningrat said. “By locally supporting Able, I can make sure the owners are still able to make profit during this difficult time.” 

Whether you are a small or large business, it is the same thing; just because the sales stop, doesn’t mean the expenses stop.”

— Adeel Asif

The small coffee company created a new slogan to describe their movement: “Coronavirus on Extinction.” 

“Able Coffee Roasters is putting the ‘Coronavirus on Extinction’ by maintaining social distancing during the quarantine and having coffee drinks delivered to customers’ own homes to decrease the spread of this unfortunate problem,” Aneeqa Asif said. “Therefore, during spring break I got the opportunity to use my self-taught calligraphy skills to write the new slogan on the 12-ounce coffee cups.” 

Able Coffee Roasters is dedicated to its community in more ways than one. Although the company is devoted to serving flavorful coffee drinks, both Adeel Asif and Palmeri strive to use the roasting process as a way to serve the disabled population. 

Committed to employing individuals who would otherwise be dismissed, Able Coffee Roasters provides effective training programs that allow for those with disabilities to master simple skills like packaging, weighing and labeling coffee. 

“We wanted to break all the limitations in a way that no one had seen before, and we were confident that with our experience and education, each individual, with a disability or not [could be] capable of being a functional part of society,” Adeel Asif said. 

This story was originally published on Portola Pilot on April 10, 2020.