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Building community through coffee

This week on Seasoned, we’re thinking about ways coffee spurs connection and builds community. You’ll hear stories about two very different coffee experiences.

Producer Katrice Claudio talks with Elijah Hilliman, the co-founder of Semilla Cafe + Studio in Hartford. Semilla is a coffee shop, but it’s also a neighborhood living room serving as a creative space “rooted in intention and reclamation” for Connecticut’s BIPOC and LGBTQIA communities.

Plus, Producer Tagan Engel attends an Eritrean coffee ceremony hosted by her dear friend Farha Abubaker. We get to know Farha and the traditions behind each part of the ceremony.

And, listeners shout-out J. René Coffee Roasters for both the excellent coffee and the mission behind its sister coffee bar, Victus Coffee. Listen to our interview with owner and coffee expert, J. René Martinez.


  • Elijah Hilliman: Co-owner of Semilla Cafe + Studio in Hartford, Conn.
  • Farha Abubaker: Former chef and journalist and currently a teacher in New Haven, Conn.

Read Ayannah Brown's story, MAROON Series by Semilla Café + Studio in Hartford is generating a new scene of CT music artists. The song at the close of our first segment was "Real Small Change" by local jazz and R&B quartet, Mixed Company.

This show was produced by Robyn Doyon-Aitken, Catie Talarski, Meg Dalton, Tagan Engel, Katrice Claudio, Stephanie Stender, Meg Fitzgerald and Sabrina Herrera.

Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and email: seasoned@ctpublic.org.

Seasoned is available as a podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, TuneIn, Listen Notes, or wherever you get your podcasts. Subscribe and never miss an episode.

Robyn is the host and senior producer of Seasoned.
Catie Talarski is Senior Director of Storytelling and Radio Programming at Connecticut Public.
Meg Dalton is the deputy director of storytelling for Connecticut Public. She previously worked for The Takeaway from WNYC, in collaboration with GBH and PRX, and Mobituaries with Mo Rocca. She's also reported and edited for the Columbia Journalism Review, PBS NewsHour, Slate, MediaShift, Hearst Connecticut newspapers, and more. Her audio work has appeared on ‎WNYC, WSHU, Marketplace, WBAI, and NPR. She earned her master's degree from Columbia Journalism School in 2017, where she specialized in audio storytelling and narrative writing, and has taught audio storytelling at Columbia Journalism School, UnionDocs, and public libraries.
Tagan Engel is a producer/contributor and guest co-host of Seasoned. She is the founder of The Table Underground radio show, podcast, and website, and is a social justice organizer and trained chef.
Katrice Claudio is a producer of Seasoned.
Stephanie Stender is a producer of Seasoned.
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