At first glance, Downtown Credo would appear to be your typical indie coffeehouse. It’s got a funky interior, flyers in the corner, and you can count on at least one white person with patchouli-drenched dreadlocks will be hovering about. It’s chill with that artsy feel you know you crave.
For me, just avoiding dropping cash at a McBucks is good enough. I’m all about the mom-and-pop, support local business thing. But step up to the counter, order your favorite java concoction (or pick up a bag of beans) and guess what – here’s the twist — you tell them what you’ll pay.
Credo’s offerings have no set price. They are “Donations Only.” You determine the damage. Chances are (and this is research supported), you’ll pay more than a fair price for it. And you will be happy that you did. This might seem a bit puzzling at first, but you see, there’s much more going on than you might expect.
Things are different here, in a very good way. The coffee shop is only one of three divisions of Downtown Credo, a 501c(3) non-profit. The goal, so much more elegantly and fully detailed on their website, is to build a network of people in Orlando that by acting locally can make a difference globally.
The coffee at Credo is direct trade – they have a direct relationship with the farmers and roasters (Guatamala, son). Your purchase is not filtered through a corporate machine, but is directly connected to its primary source. The growers earn more money for their work and product, there’s no evil money machine shaking them down, and for maybe the only time in your day, you can honestly feel like you aren’t contributing to a problem, but a solution.
There are two other divisions of Downtown Credo: Rally and Conduit. Rally is about serving their partner charities (currently Downtown and Parramore Branches of Central Florida Boys and Girls Clubs, New Image Youth Center, Keeping Orlando Beautiful, and Green Up Orlando) through various community-building and improvement events such as clean up projects, playground refurbishing, tutoring programs and the like. Anyone can throw down, so you are already invited.
Conduit is also about local impact. It taps into the rich and diverse artistic community here in Orlando by providing a weekly Songwriter’s Stage on Monday nights, various workshops, classes, and more. For Rally and Conduit events, I suggest you check their website for particulars.
If I had one criticism, and shame on me for having one (these are good people) is that Downtown Credo closes somewhat early. I’m an after-dinner coffee guy (as well as mornings, evenings, and anytime I am awake) and locking up at 6pm means I have to shuffle down to that other place that really doesn’t do anything for anybody, although they would like you to think they do. They have a green logo and it’s named for a character on Battlestar Galactica, which you would think is cool but it’s not.
They also rent the place out for private parties and such. I see many goings-on after closing as I drive by. I find this mega-irksome as I have never been invited to one of these shindigs. Their loss, when it comes to small talk and witty banner, I reign supreme.
706 W Smith St, Orlando, FL 32804
Hours: 7am – 6pm