In this second installment of our special article series on Locke Street, Steve Watts features local Java hotspot Johnny's Coffee.
The experience of sitting in a crowded café, surrounded by the many opinions, voices, and experiences, seems to open one’s senses to the fullest. Coffee has come to be an accessible medium for individuals to come together, share a conversation, and explore each other’s thoughts. The act of drinking coffee is now a social phenomenon that seems to disregard status, gender, age, or life experience. Coffee can easily become a point of similarity between seemingly different lifestyles. Having a coffee is often the source of changing one’s mood and kick-starting a whole new approach to your day. Finding that perfect cup of coffee, holding it in your hands, smelling its rich aroma, and tasting that first drop on your tongue can turn around a horrible day.
There are so many new coffee shops popping up everywhere in Hamilton, often making it difficult to narrow down your favourite place. Johnny’s Coffee, on Locke Street, offers a very “Hamilton-esque” space for you to get your coffee fix. The name, “Johnny,” represents the everyday Hamiltonian. “Johnny” is the Hamiltonian who comes to the coffee shop to meet friends, enjoy a break, have a meeting, or get some work done. Johnny’s Coffee strives to be a casual, familiar, and friendly space for everyone to enjoy. At any time there can be a wide range of Hamiltonians sipping coffee at Johnny’s, giving it a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere.
The staff at Johnny’s, inviting and cheerful, are committed to creating a sustainable footprint on Locke Street. Johnny’s Coffee is seizing the chance to be part of the current ecological movement in Hamilton and is motivated to operate in a sustainable way. By serving coffee produced by local and environmentally conscious suppliers, Johnny’s exposes customers to a different, yet delicious, alternative to large coffee chains. This exposure to new types of coffee often prompts inquisitive responses from customers. In turn, Johnny’s Coffee can inform the public about these alternative coffees while broadening Hamilton’s coffee palette.
I recently spoke with Jille Magnus, the manager at Johnny’s Coffee, about their environmental initiatives and role in the Hamilton community. Johnny’s Coffee is thoroughly committed to limiting their waste. With a goal that involves producing almost zero garbage throughout the year, Johnny’s Coffee places enormous emphasis on the importance of recycling and composting. In fact, if you visit Johnny’s Coffee, you will notice they do not have a garbage can at all- only a recycling bin and a compost area. In addition, all of the disposable cups they provide for customers are biodegradable, which extends their green goals into the hands of the customers. Not only are they attempting to become eco-conscious within their store, Johnny’s is helping customers become less wasteful in their daily lives. Customers can still enjoy the convenience of a disposable cup that they can take anywhere; however, that cup can actually be recycled or composted. Johnny’s has employed this simple, yet innovative, approach to “coffee-on-the-go” and is helping Hamiltonians in becoming more eco-conscious.
I was curious about Johnny’s motivations around providing a sustainable alternative for coffee drinkers. Interestingly, Jille suggested that those working at Johnny’s Coffee see no alternative- sustainability is the most suitable way to operate their coffee shop. For a sustainable coffee shop, like Johnny’s, to thrive in the heart of a once coined “steel city” is quite persuasive. Why can’t other coffee shops in the city follow suit and become sustainable as well?
The efforts at Johnny’s Coffee shine bright into the future. With plans to support and host local fundraisers, creating awareness around local issues, and developing a distinct communal space, Johnny’s is a valuable example of community development in Hamilton. So, stop by 129 Locke Street S (on the bridge) and enjoy the Johnny’s Coffee atmosphere. The aroma, the sounds, the amazing art, and, of course, the cozy hospitality.