What is Just Coffee?

March 3, 2015
An Okada
An Okada

"Would you like to join us for Just Coffee?," my supervisor asked. I said "yes," but had many questions about it. It sounded very ambiguous and I could not imagine what to expect.

It's a truism that in order to get anything done, you have to have trust. Trusting relationships are imperative for a strong community. But how do we build those trusting relationships? We need to start with getting to know each other. Just Coffee is hosted by the SSU Center for Community Engagement and Community Action Partnership of Sonoma County at A'Roma Roasters Coffee and Tea in Santa Rosa at 9am on the second Tuesday of each month.



It is an great opportunity to make connections with other people. This event was developed because it is not always easy for people to connect with other people who they do not know but want to talk with.

At first, it felt like this event was like "school lunch time" because it seemed like it was people just hanging out with each other. But, I noticed that the participants did not forget to introduce themselves, and they always tried to make connections with others whom they were interested in. Some people exchanged their cards, and other people distributed handouts. I saw that they wanted other people to know about who they are, and their work lives.

Honestly, I thought I could not join in any conversations at the beginning because I'm a student who is writing a blog article, and I did not have any business ideas. So, I was very nervous and just listened to other people's conversations. But, soon my anxiety was gone without my noticing it; the participants and I found common interests, and were soon conversing.

A few people said they had friends and family members who are living in Japan, and knew interesting stories about California and Japan. For example, I did not know Japan contributed to the California oyster production in the mid-1950s! It was funny because I really like oysters from San Francisco, but I had never heard the oysters were from my home-country; Japan.

Moreover Mr. Sam Euston, from Euston Productions, and I have a common interest: sustainability. Because I will attend Sonoma State University Alternative Breaks, and am studying sustainability now, he listened to me. He also talked to me about Humboldt County where I will go for the trip. Because I did not think I would want to connect with other people, I was surprised that I truly became interested in talking with him when I heard about his job. This helped me understand why the participants were interested in connecting with each other.

After an hour some people were leaving, but they seemed like they still wanted to stay there, like the people at the first Social Media Professionals Roundtable. I was happy to have conversations with the participants, and understand why they come to Just Coffee; the participants did just have coffee, but they also found and made relationships. I mean having coffee is enough for them to develop their conversations with other people. The participants enjoyed not only their coffee, but also opportunities to get to know each other.

Just Coffee provides a casual space with no agenda. Everyone is welcome and all are invited. It is important to build relationships between people, and as people get to know each other, they build strong communities. Strangers, colleagues, and friends are all part of this strong community. It seems to be working as the number of participants is increasing every month. Besides, this event is just fun! I hope to see you at Just Coffee soon!