Cincinnati favorite “blends” coffee with music

By: Allison Wistanski ~Staff Writer~

On Nov. 15, the Xavier University Department of Social Work will host an open-mic night
at Community Blend titled “Cafe Express Yourself.” The event is a macro-project assigned to students in the social work department with requirements to help the surrounding community.

Vanilla Sake - facebook dot com
Vanilla Sake is Will Clemens, Brian Sheridan, Anthony Notaro and Sean Dunn.

Located at 3546 Montgomery Road, Community Blend is an eco-friendly, co-op cafe that sells fair-trade coffee, teas and locallymade foods. The establishment is different than other Cincinnati cafes, as it provides employment and ownership opportunities to its local Evanston residents, giving each of them a share of the shop.

Community Blend pays its workers above minimum wage to keep the money earned there in the local economy, as some of the employees live in the Evanston community. “We hope that this is the beginning of many such enterprises like this that are worker-controlled so that the money generated stays in the communities where the businesses exist,” Tim Kraus of Interfaith Business Builders said. The cafe reaches out to the Evanston community in multiple ways. Community Blend is a business that emphasizes the value of community, cooperation and solidarity.

As for its fair-trade products, Community Blend purchases its coffee beans from Equal Exchange, a company that has longstanding relationships with coffee co-ops and sources the best beans from each harvest as sustainably as possible. The smallscale farmers from whom it buys its products are paid fair wages, an important factor to workers at Community Blend.
The department chose Community Blend because of its proximity to Xavier’s campus
and because its values align with Xavier’s stated values. This open-mic night will be Community Blend’s first event of this kind. “We wanted to do open-mic as a way for our students to express themselves creatively, whether it’s poetry, stand-up comedy or
singing,” student representative Teresa McCafferty said.

The main band for the night is Vanilla Sake, a four-piece band made up of Xavier alumni that
has played at various Xavier spots such as Unified for Uganda events. For this performance, two of the four band members will play indie-rock music with guitar solos. The performance will be acoustic and calm to contribute to the atmosphere of Community Blend.

At the end of the night, there will be approximately half an hour for anyone else who wants to perform.

Community Blend - urbancincy dot com
Community Blend works closely with Equal Exchange for fair-trade coffee.

The Department of Social Work hopes to give Xavier students a new place to go that
especially helps the Evanston community.

The cafe is a “comfortable, cute little place with lots of small tables and perfect for studying for students,” McCafferty said. “It’s a prime place for diverse strangers to meet, talk and appreciate each other.”
So, if you’re looking to check out a new off-campus spot, Community Blend is a place to go. The shop is open from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends.