By selling their “Tikkun” coffee blend, a Salem couple is raising money for CJP’s Israel Emergency Fund.
Twelve years ago, Robert and Anne Calton instantly connected over coffee.
Their first date was at a coffee shop near the campus of Southern Illinois University, where they were both graduate students. During their first holiday season as a couple, they unknowingly gifted each other a French press and a coffee grinder. After they married in 2016, Robert and Anne moved around the country for work – and exploring and supporting local coffee companies became a favorite pastime.
In 2020, the Caltons landed in Salem. Last year, they started roasting coffee beans in their home office, meticulously testing and tracking roasting times, temperatures, and varieties of beans. They began sharing their coffee with friends and family, and taking orders for custom blends. A small side business – called Space Dog Coffee – was born.
Repairing the world
So, it made sense that after the Oct. 7 attacks on Israel, the couple felt called to connect to the Jewish community through coffee. With a fundraiser in mind, they reached out to Rabbi Alison Adler at Temple B’nai Abraham in Beverly (where the Caltons are members), who told them about CJP’s Israel Emergency Fund.
Robert and Anne then created a special “Tikkun” (repair) coffee blend, made with beans from the Tarrazu region of Costa Rica and Brazil’s Daterra Farm. They decided to donate 100% of profits from Tikkun to CJP’s Fund to “help repair the damage of the war in Israel, provide healing to people and families, and combat antisemitism and hate worldwide.”
In just over a week, the Caltons (who both have full-time jobs and roast coffee in the evenings and on the weekends) have sold 41 bags of Tikkun, netting $186 for CJP. As orders keep coming in, they plan to keep roasting – and giving back.
Like many other people, Robert says, he and Anne were looking for a way to make a difference during a time of crisis.
“A lot of people feel helpless and powerless when there’s so much suffering in the world,” he says. “It’s all about working with what you have – and with what you know – to effect change. For us, that’s coffee. We wanted to share our skills and expertise to do something beneficial for Israel.”
Finding Jewish community
Robert grew up in rural Kentucky; Anne was born in Germany. Neither were raised Jewish. A close friend brought Judaism to Robert in 2020. Shortly after, he enrolled in an “Introduction to Judaism” class through the Lappin Foundation, and with Anne, began attending events at Temple B’nai Abraham.
In June 2023, Robert converted to Judaism. The couple has not been to Israel (yet!), but after Oct. 7, they knew they wanted to support the Jewish homeland.
“We instantly felt welcomed into the Jewish community, and into a people,” he says. “It all just made sense. I always had ‘people,’ but I’ve never had ‘a people’ – until now.”
With Space Dog Coffee (a nod to the couple’s Siberian Husky, Laika, who is named for the Soviet space dog who was the first to orbit Earth in 1957), Robert and Anne have found a way to give back to causes they hold close.
In addition to supporting Israel through their Tikkun roast, they donate 10% of all their profits to animal welfare groups across New England. As they can scale production, the Caltons hope to collaborate with more organizations that care for animals and promote social responsibility.
“Coffee is best enjoyed in community,” says Anne. “It brings us together and helps us talk. It’s at the root of conversation and of our experience as people.”
To order Tikkun coffee, visit the Space Dog Coffee website; 100% of proceeds will support CJP’s Israel Emergency Fund. The Caltons ship coffee anywhere in the United States.