Others! – Portland, Maine


“Changing the world… one cup at a time,” is the motto most prominently used by a coffee shop and cafe in Portland, Maine, known by the unique name of Others! The exclamation point is part of their name, drawing enthusiastic attention to the store, which itself places enthusiastic attention into other people; hence why Others! is named as it is.

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The Man Behind this Non-Profit Establishment

Owned and operated by Brad McCurtain, Others was founded in 2005, and unlike most coffee shops, it is a fully incorporated non-profit business.  Beginning with where they source their coffee beans from, which they are quick to point out are actually seeds and not literal beans, Others places deep care and involvement into the lives of the farmers they work with.

Others is fully engrained in the Fair Trade movement, striving to offer the farmers the most amount of profits that they can. In Others’ case, this rings more true than is typical of most coffee shops.

The Profits Go Back to the Farmers

Beyond the other functions and charities that Others feed their funds into, the profits go to those who grow and harvest the coffee beans that create the funds in the first place.

This is a logical and fair idea, as Others broadcasts with a conscience about how the areas of the world that grow coffee beans are more often than not stricken and consumed by poverty and all that accompanies it. 

Others Strive to Make the World A Better Place

However, Others doesn’t just care about specific farmers: they care about the world as a whole. There is no better place to create an impact and spread positive, generous mindsets than one’s immediate environment, and thus with its location in Portland, Maine,

Others sets about its charitable habits. Customers can cast ballots in store for their favorite charities that they think deserve Others’ support. Charities are supported in rotating casts of three via the money created through food and beverage sales.

Serving Coffee, Gelato and Delicious Banana Bread

In store, they serve a variety of gelato, which makes good use of food that would otherwise have gone to waste. Further food consists of banana bread, muffins, and bars. As a coffee shop, they logically serve coffee, as well as some teas.

The tea is from Zhena’s Fair Trade Teas, and the coffee is served as espresso, lattes, cappuccinos, and drip coffee. Flavors can be added if desired, but the amount and variety in the coffee is second to the more important focus on what it is benefitting. 

They Only Use Biodegradable Items

Many coffee-goers waste hefty amounts of supplies, such as straws, wrappers, napkins, cups, lids, stir sticks, and more. Others dislikes these single-use items, and strives to come up with alternatives, such as the uncooked spaghetti in place of stir sticks.

The spaghetti is biodegradable and a good repurposing of what would otherwise have been thrown. You can’t actually throw things away at Others though, as they don’t have a garbage can, attempting to promote environmentally friendly habits.

Final Words

On their tenth anniversary, the owner handed out ten-dollar stacks of money to a wealth of people, simply trying to spur bystanders to do something good for the world around them. That was four years ago now, but the ideal can still be acted upon, not least by visiting Others! and ordering a cup.  


15 Monument Sq, Portland, Maine, 04101