“Why IS the Mad Priest mad? For real though?" We get asked this question all the time. And I guess that’s what ya get for naming your coffee brand something that’s a little edgy and obscure!
If you just want another feel good coffee company, you’ve come to the wrong place. Anyone can put together a mission statement about “community” and “doing good”, talk about diversity, and/or make a cool, pastel color palette.
But we are different.
Simply put, the Mad Priest is mad about the injustice & inequality in our world, in our country, and in our city. And it's an embodiment of the fight for justice, freedom, and opportunity for all peoples. Anger can be righteous, you know.
The name officially comes from the character in the classic novel by Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo. (Haven’t read it?! Why? But for real though!) In the story, Edmond Dantes was imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit (sound familiar) and he was ready to give up and die there. Just then, the ‘Mad Priest’ (or Abbe Faria) came on the scene and gave him a reason to hope again...along with the skills he needed to win at life.
So yes, we based our brand on a book, though the brand has evolved past that in recent years to make space for more nuance, humor, and creativity. But we hope if you take the time to look around everything we do as a company, you’ll see the deeper layers of meaning in why we do what we do. Everything from the people we hire...to the pop-ups and cultural events that we've hosted...to the beautiful, inclusive all day cafe & bar space that we opened (and now closed, thanks COVID) on Cherry St downtown...speaks to our desire to make safe, welcoming spaces for people from every culture, race, age, and class in our city.
We believe in welcome. Welcoming is not just a lifesaving humanitarian gesture for refugees at a time when more people worldwide are uprooted by war and crisis than ever before. (According to the United Nations Refugee Agency or UNHCR, a refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war, or violence. Many times refugees have minutes to grab a few belongings and flee for their lives, often having to leave family members behind.) Refugees and immigrants also greatly enrich our economy and continue to make America great, as they have for hundreds of years since the first immigrants came across the ocean from Europe.
And really, coffee is an immigrant here in the United States, after all. How would each of us be able to follow our dreams (or work that 9-5 and pay the bills) if it wasn’t for the beautiful elixir that Kaldi, the goat herder, discovered in Ethiopia centuries ago? Coffee was born in Western Ethiopia, made a treacherous journey through the Middle East, Europe and Latin America, and finally reached American shores. And we are forever grateful that it ended up here! Coffee, Africa’s gift to the world. You’re welcome.
Also. In an effort to try and keep it real over here...we are *also* a little mad, as in crazy. Because, at the cutting edge of creativity and innovation, there is always a little bit of crazy, right? You can see some of that crazy in our 2020 marketing content like our Pulp Fiction parody video, billboards, church sign, and the "Covid Confessions" video & podcast series. (Watch it all on the Mad Priest channel on Youtube!)
At Mad Priest, we are imperfect humans on a journey trying to make a difference in our little part of the world, and we hope that you join us on that journey.