Coffee marriage!

Coffee marriage!

Deaf Can! sets up shop at British High Commission


Sunday, June 09, 2019

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A chance meeting between Blake Widmer, director of Deaf Can! Coffee, and Andrew Witham, the British High Commission’s post security manager at the Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Festival in March, has resulted in a new win-win alliance.

Staff at the British High Commission can now enjoy Blue Mountain Coffee, tea, fruit smoothies and milkshakes, together with freshly baked pastries and cookies while supporting the work of Deaf Can!, an outreach of HarvestCall Jamaica.

The British High Commission team has welcomed the Deaf Can! team of baristas, with some of the staff starting to learn Jamaican Sign Language.

Deaf Can! is designed to inspire deaf youth to believe in their talents and abilities, engage their passions and interests and foster creative, positive thought in a healthy community that builds each other up and equips them for life.

“The team at the British High Commission is pleased to have the opportunity to help Deaf Can! achieve its goal through a sustainable coffee venture, which we have discovered to be a great product, served by talented staff, and providing an enjoyable experience,” declared Witham.

“It also planned to develop the partnership with Deaf Can! providing coffee-break services to internal meetings and conferences, and at social events at the High Commissioner’s residence and Windrush Gardens,” added Whitman.

He was supported by High Commissioner Asif Ahmad who pointed out that the presence of Deaf Can! at the British High Commission fills a big void.

“Our colleagues have to go out of their way to get refreshment during the day. Our limited kitchen spaces allow only simple beverages to be made. As we step up our work in Jamaica, I know we are going to need extra energy and resilience. In moderation, coffee and sugar-infused pastries will give us the boost we need,” said Ahmad.

“For the more health conscious, there are some good options. Nice to see the offer of bamboo straws too,” Ahmad added.

While the Deaf Can! facility at the high commission is not open to the public, its products are available to the public at Toyota’s Coffee House on Old Hope Road, and by reservation ( at its training centre at 4 Cassia Park Road in St Andrew.

“Like any business venture, and even those with a social purpose, the basics have to be right. In terms of product, Deaf Can! has already broadened its offer to take into account the needs of our market — great coffee and cakes. Service is important, and we have baristas who know what they are doing, and each customer is greeted with charm.

“For us, it is good to understand our limitations in communicating with deaf people. Each day we are learning a new sign language expression. So I take my hand away from my sated mouth to gesture ‘thank you’,” Ahmad continued.

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