Didn’t someone once say collaborations are the spice of life? Well, they should’ve. On this week’s edition of our canned coffee drink series Ready To Drink, we’re talking about two iconic San Francisco institutions coming together for one legendary beverage. Ritual Coffee Roasters joined forces with Bay Area drag queen superstar Juanita MORE! for an exclusive canned coffee drink that’s also benefitting the non-profit Queer LifeSpace, whose mission is to provide quality, long-term, and affordable care to the queer community.
We wanted to learn about the drag, the drink, the designers, and the details—so we got in touch with Ritual Coffee founder Eileen Rinaldi to talk about their canned coffee line-up and their exclusive offering with that peerless denizen of the limelight, Juanita MORE!
Hi Eileen! Tell us more about the offerings in this collaboration, like Soma Star, Mission Freestyler, and Hayes Jammer.
Soma Star and Mission Freestyler are both single origin black coffees. The flavor profile of Soma Star is more nutty and chocolatey, a definite crowd-pleaser. It’s currently a Brazilian coffee, Rubi Natural from Fazenda Esperanza. The Mission Freestyler is more juicy and bright, a classic Ritual flavor profile (and my personal favorite). It’s currently Kolla Bocha from Ethiopia. The Hayes Jammer is an oat latte, featuring our seasonal espresso blend and oat milk. None have any sugar added.
The cans are beautiful—who designed them?
We worked with Aimee Kilmer of Good Stuff and local artist Galine Tumasova. Aimee and her team helped us to come up with the concept for the line of cans (she also designed our original logo 18 years ago!). Each can celebrates an SF neighborhood beloved to Ritual, and each has some elements that would be recognizable to anyone who has been to that neighborhood, and other “Easter eggs” that you really have to know the neighborhood well to identify. Galine Tumasova is the artist who created the illustrations on each can. We had our heart set on finding an artist who actually lives in San Francisco to create these images and we had a clear vision of the style we were looking for. I feel so grateful that someone pointed us to Galine. She’s become a favorite collaborator, and she’s designed espresso art, merch, and even the mural at Ritual SFO for us. She is an incredibly talented artist who designs illustrations for clothing, as well as posters for the Fillmore and Bill Graham Presents. And she’s in the band Seablite.
How did y’all connect with drag legend Juanita MORE?
Juanita MORE is connected to Ritual through community about 87 different ways. We were in the design process for the can and we had decided on the name Soma Star and we had landed on featuring a drag queen as the person in the illustration. When we were sharing the early sketches to get feedback, someone said that the illustration just looked like a woman, and not enough like a drag queen, and said, you should just see if you can use an image of Juanita. And then we started hearing about all of the amazing work that Juanita does and partnering with her seemed like the obvious choice. The cans are a celebration of the incredible people that make up the fabric of our city, and Juanita has been here, tirelessly working for good for 30 years! She’s a legend and so fun and down-to-earth, community-minded and incredible to work with.
Tell us about the collaboration and the charitable component with Queer LifeSpace.
When we approached Juanita about being the face of Soma Star, we agreed to make donations to the non-profit of her choice each year. This year, she chose Queer LifeSpace, a nonprofit counseling agency that provides affordable, evidence-based mental health and substance abuse services to the LGBTQIA+ community in the Bay Area.
Queer LifeSpace was founded in 2011. Their mission began with a shared vision of its four founding directors to bring quality, long-term, and affordable care to the queer community. They strive to serve the underserved and are passionate about providing services from all walks of life regardless of their ability to pay. And they make it their mission to provide a safe and non-judgmental environment.
The main goals of Queer LifeSpace are to develop programs that are tailored for people of color, transgender and gender-variant identified people, vulnerable youth, seniors, individuals with disabilities, and people living with HIV/AIDS. In addition, they have started a queer-informed training program that provides the next generation of queer therapists, trainees, and interns with a forum of culturally affirming experiences. And lastly, to provide all of these services at a low fee.
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Aside from the cold brew, what does Juanita MORE! like to drink at Ritual?
The only thing she ever wants is the can with her face on it! Can you blame her? I mean, if you had a product with your image on it, would you opt for drinking out of a regular cup? Also, she’s very protective of her lipstick so she drinks with a straw!
When did this product debut?
We did a sneak peek at the SF Coffee Festival back in November. So we’re celebrating the launch for all of 2023!
Where is it available?
The Ritual cafes, our cafe wholesale accounts like Ain’t Normal, Petit Cafe in Oakland, as well as grocery stores like Rainbow and Bi-Rite. Part of what is exciting about this product is that it’s also available at corner stores that feature local goods like Dolores Deluxe. It’s definitely the most accessible product in the Ritual line up because you don’t need any expertise on how to prepare it or any fancy equipment. You just crack open the can and it tastes like a delicious Ritual coffee!
Check out the stockist map on our website – you can do a search for “canned coffee” near you!
Ready To Drink is a feature series on Sprudge Media Network. Got a canned coffee or otherwise “Ready To Drink” product you’d like to see featured? Get in touch!