Cincy / NKY Coffee Community Unites to Help Injured Barista

Rhett Harkins and FamilyRead the Daily Coffee News Story on this Here!

On December 14, 2013, Rhett Harkins, BLOC Coffee Company Manager in Cincinnati, OH miraculously survived a 60 foot fall while hiking in Red River Gorge State Park in KY.  Stranded for 8 hours, it took a rescue crew of 20 men to get him out alive.  After multiple surgeries, Rhett and his family are recovering well.   But with mounting medical bills and the prospect of being back at work still months away, life for the Harkins is far from back to normal.

This is where several shops and roasters in the city have banded together to show their love for Harkins as well as to help raise money to offset some of the family’s bills. 

Deeper Roots Coffee Roasters first held a Latte Art Throwdown event at their roastery in January which pulled together baristi from 16 different shops in Cincy, Dayton, Columbus and Northern KY.  Harkins was there in a wheelchair as one of the judges and the event was a success, raising $1700 to help cover the costs of his ambulance transportation. 

Now, Justin Carabello, owner of Carabello Coffee of Newport, KY has coordinated an effort with six local shops to all serve and sell a special roast they are calling “Restore Coffee” that will benefit the family through the month of February.  As many of these shops use coffee from different roasters, a Sumatra Natural Wahana coffee was selected so that it would not conflict with coffees presently on their offering sheets. 

Collective Espresso, Rohs Street Café, Corner BLOC Coffee, Hilltop Cafe, Velocity Bike & Bean and Missio Dei Church have all joined Carabello who says, “I am amazed at how quick the other shop owners have been willing to jump on board with this idea.  Let's face it, we are all using different roasters in our shops, so, doing this is far from normal." 

"But we all love Rhett," Carabello further explains, "and the idea here is a simple one: Our friend is hurt and we want to do something to help him. This is what communities do, and I believe that the silver lining in all of this is that Rhett’s suffering has helped us all take a step toward unifying this community.”  

Beginning today and lasting through the month of February, coffee lovers in Cincinnati and NKY can walk into any of these shops and buy a cup or a bag of Restore Coffee and the family will benefit.  Out of towners can buy a bag through the Carabello Coffee website.  

Harkins response to this outpouring says it well, “Thank you for being such a huge and active blessing to us in this time of healing.  Your unity and fellowship is really an amazing gift to us and to the industry in Cincinnati.” 

Shops & Locations:

Carabello CoffeeNewport, KY

Collective EspressoEast Price Hill

Rohs Street CafeClifton

Hilltop CafeCCU Campus

Velocity Bike & BeanFlorence, KY

Missio Dei ChurchWalnut Hills