Blind baristas grind out great coffee

Wang Tian, one of the founders of Bear Paw Cafe, a cafe that went viral online in 2020 for its coffee being served by a bear claw protruding from a hole in the wall, with the majority of its staff being deaf, did not anticipate such acclaim for the opening of his next store.

The newest offering from Wang combines the employment of people with disabilities and the serving of freshly brewed beverages.

Seed Shop, a new Bear Paw location in Pudong’s Times Square, is shaped like an acorn and employs the blind brothers Yin Tianbao and Yin Tianyou as baristas.

Even before the opening of the small cafe, word spread online and interest grew rapidly.

“We received numerous messages in advance from organizations concerned with the disabled and social welfare. They stated that they would support the blind brothers by attending the grand opening. Approximately 2,000 people were anticipated to attend the opening ceremony “Wang said.

As the city continues to struggle with COVID-19, he opted for a softer, more discreet opening for the brothers out of concern that a large crowd would increase the risk.

Wang has long desired to empower people with disabilities, and after the success of Bear Claw Cafe, the enterprising individual set out to employ people with vision impairment in his next venture.

Wang and his blind employees had to overcome several obstacles, including teaching the boys how to make excellent cups of coffee and locating equipment that can be used safely by the visually impaired.

Yin Tianbao, who was born blind and is in his early 20s, is the cafe’s manager. To prepare for the opening of the cafe, he practiced making over 100 cups of coffee per day.

“There is no alternative to repeated practice,” Yin Tianbao told China Daily.

He stated, “Training muscle memory is easier said than done.”

He recalled numerous occasions when he wanted to give up, but he persevered after receiving 10 percent of the business.

He can now make a delicious cup of coffee in under two minutes and has even mastered latte. He influenced his identical twin brother Yin Tianyou to become a barista as well.

“Coffee preparation has taught me to be daring and open to new experiences. Failure produces success. If I can succeed at this, I may be able to succeed at many other endeavors “Yin Tianbao said.

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