The perfect coffee can be prepared in just a few steps – thick, golden brown, foamy and topped with a crema. Whether with a French press or an espresso machine, the inviting smell of coffee lures you into the living room – or into a café. Various different types of preparation are offered in Kristin Jordan’s café. The most important thing, however, is not the tool, but the beans. In 2014, Lühnebohne changed Kristin’s perception of coffee and the fair trade aspect of this product. She is the founder of a charitable association called Lühnebohne e.V., a partner of the Avenir Ladencafé in Lüneburg and an Agile Coach in advanced training and organisation development at OTTO.
“Lünebohne”, “Lünepresso” and “Schokolüne”
When young Lüneburg students join forces and decide they want to make a difference, ideas like the Lühnebohne e.V. association emerge. Such organisations aim to put consumption in the limelight through educational workshops, campaign days and information events - and of course with fair trade products. “We wanted the association to help bring fair trade coffee to Lüneburg and thereby increase the sales of fair trade coffee,” explains Kristin over a hot drink in the café. But how did the Avenir idea come about? “Of course, we talked about whether we should open a Ladencafé (a shop and café combined) on many an occasion,” she continues on a rainy afternoon in Hamburg. “Eventually the opportunity arose because the owner of the world shop in the Heinrich-Böll-Haus was looking for someone to take over the shop. He knew that we were enthusiastic about fair trade too, so he asked us and we said yes.” They quickly founded a limited company to add some commitment into the bargain, and this is how in 2014 the five friends began to set up a café in Lüneburg. Three of the partners still potter about in the café today, developing it further and promoting fair trade products. They concentrate on values such as fairness, transparency, environmental awareness, regional origins and artisanal production. The Avenir sells directly traded filter coffee, “direct trade” espresso that they roast themselves, regional milk, home-made cakes, organic wine and craft beers. Kristin taps it every Friday evening at the craft beer brewery.
“Before we opened, the shop was dark and not very sexy. We wanted to make fair trade appealing to the younger generations and create a place where people enjoyed spending time.” The 32-year-old and her team certainly succeeded there. Inviting and bright, with lots of wood and a fantastic atmosphere, the local shop is situated on Lüneburg’s Katzenstraße.
However, her job doesn’t only involve serving coffees and handing out cake. Ultimately, the bookkeeping will not do itself – invoices must be written, and procurement and new concepts must be considered. Kristin shakes her head at the allocation. “Sounds like a full-time job. But for me it’s not.” The Avenir is the second string on her bow, her second love. Her first love is her job at OTTO.
“She’s never here on Fridays”
Kristin has a Bachelor’s degree in Cultural Studies and a Master’s in HR Management. She has worked for the Hamburg-based online retailer for the last seven years. “I’m part of the OTTO furniture, and I socialise here too. For the past year I’ve been training as an Agile Coach,” and she is now part of a small team of coaches. She supports departments with their agile change processes, assessing the different levels of maturity within the teams. “Just because you’ve introduced scrums, it doesn’t mean that you’re agile and can work. Instead it just means that you’ve mastered the agile methodology. Whether you really subscribe to agile values is another question entirely,” explains Kristin. Her seven years at OTTO have allowed her to see how the company changes, and how it has evolved culturally-speaking. Her working hours model shows the diversity of the flexible solutions within the organisation. “It’s fantastic that the jobs complement and stimulate each other so well, and that I’m able to pursue both my passions.”
Kristin lives in Hamburg and has a room in a shared flat in Lüneburg, commuting between two worlds. To this day she has difficulty in deciding where she wants to live. The best thing, though, is that she doesn’t have to decide. Her two jobs and her love for both cities go together wonderfully. On Fridays she sits in her own café with her laptop, working for OTTO in the mornings and dedicating her Friday afternoons and the weekend to coffee – Avenir time. For the rest of the week she lives in Hamburg and works as an Agile Coach. The world in which Kristin lives is a flexible one. Say a workshop comes up at OTTO on a Friday – no problem, her colleagues will cover for her in the café. It works exactly the same the other way around. Her recipe for success is flexitime working and an open-minded team.
100 per cent café? That’s a no-go.
Kristin is absolutely clear that she does not want to do without either job. She loves the café, the bustling days, the direct contact with customers. But investing 100 per cent of her time in the café just so she can be there? That’s something that Kristin can’t imagine. She has struck a good balance between both worlds. Whenever she talks about her little café-shop, it’s as though she is dreaming of being in Lüneburg. At OTTO my work is mainly knowledge-based, whereas in Avenir it’s more physical. I use my hands a lot there. After all, preparing coffee requires craftmanship,” she says smiling, as though she wants to demonstrate right now exactly what she means. When she talks about OTTO and the cultural evolution, her eyes start to shine. That’s because this is her pet project, she has the expertise and above conveys the feeling that anybody in the organisation could change something. She appears satisfied with her work model – to be engaged in two completely different fields of work and to be able to transfer skills from one activity over to the other. What an excellent model. But first, let’s have a coffee – or perhaps even a craft beer.