power of coffee

Appears in the November 2021 issue.

By Peter Gianopulos

Jennifer Fox, owner of Dragonolia Coffee (dragonolia.com), thinks a good cup of Joe should be more than a mere vehicle for caffeine. In the right hands, it can be a catalyst for empathy and personal growth. It’s an idea borne from personal tragedy: In 2018, Fox lost her brother to complications from substance abuse. While journaling and running 5Ks to cope, she started musing about the power of coffee. “I kept thinking about how people open up and share really personal stories over cups of coffee,” says Fox. That’s when an epiphany struck: Why not create a coffee brand rooted in storytelling? She launched Dragonolia’s website—the name honors her brother’s love of dragonflies and mom’s affection for magnolia trees—by self-publishing her own story, then inviting others to do the same. Not only do proceeds support Herren Project, a nonprofit helping those battling substance abuse, each bag comes with a sticker that reads “Live a Good Story.” Sticking those decals in high-traffic spots is meant to honor those who can’t continue their story and remind us to live a life that makes us proud. “If in some way, we can help people share their stories without shame—to remind people that we’re all imperfect—we will have done a good thing,” says Fox.

Photo courtesy Dragonolia