Coffee for Good Is a Hidden Gem in Plain Sight

Contributed by Shreya Prabhu Class of Greenwich High School class of 2025

Near the Second Congregational Church off Maple Avenue in Greenwich sits a hidden gem of a coffee shop: Coffee For Good.

The coffee shop is located in the historic Solomon Mead House which dates back to 1858. When you enter you will be warmly greeted by the staff who can provide a variety of refreshments, from the cafe’s signature drip coffee to gluten-free pastries. The high ceilings and comfortable seating options might even tempt you to stay for longer, making for the perfect place to study or have a chat with friends. 

If you look more closely, you will realize that Coffee for Good is not your typical high-end coffee shop. Although it has a full menu including teas, nitro brews, smoothies and salads, it is run by a non-profit that provides paid training to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities so that they can learn the technical and professional skills necessary to obtain competitive integrated employment.

The trainees are all Abilis program participants and that Abilis provides job coaches, driving and support and works with the Coffee for Good team to provide meaningful employment skills to the Abilis community members who work there.

Deb Rogan, the Executive Director of Coffee For Good says, “Our trainees learn while doing every job necessary to operate a high end coffee shop from running the point of sale, to making espresso drinks, to cleaning and doing dishes.” 

Each trainee works a three-hour shift three times a week, which allows Coffee for Good to train, at maximum, 24 adults at a time. The program provides a starting point for employees to gain knowledge about the work and professional setting, then using these skills as a launch pad when they have graduated and need a new job. Graduates have been placed at Gregory’s Coffee, Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, Honey Joes Coffee, Playa Bowls, Rise Donuts, YMCA-Greenwich, and Keough’s Hardware. 

According to Rogan, Coffee for Good was founded to address the high unemployment rate of people with developmental disabilities.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that the unemployment rate for this population is close to 80%. Rogan’s personal experience with her nephew, who has a disability, has made her hyper aware of the struggles and successes of people with disabilities. She saw his growth first-hand, and Rogan hopes that Coffee for Good is just the beginning of training platforms for people with differing abilities. 

Since its founding in June 2021, Coffee for Good has had on average 1,000 customers per month; this number is steadily increasing to over 1,400 customers per month. Customers are integral to the training as they provide trainees with real life work experiences. Luckily, new customers find their way to the cafe almost every day so the customer base is growing.

“The best part of my job is seeing our young trainees flourish and gain confidence in their abilities.  I have, on numerous occasions, seen a more seasoned trainee help a newer trainee learn a particular skill which is very rewarding,” Rogan explained, looking back fondly on her two years as Executive Director.

Coffee for Good operates in a historic 1858 building in Central Greenwich with free parking. Customers are drawn to the wonderful old world interiors, the great drinks and food and, most importantly, the mission.

Coffee for Good is open Monday through Friday from 7:30am to 5:30pm and on Saturdays from 7:30am to 4:00pm (closed on Sundays).

Pay them a visit for some nice refreshments and to support the mission of employment for all!