The 100 Coffee Movement Story

In December 2016, a simple idea to rediscover the power of human connection became a life-changing experience for Chris Hope.

Feeling lost and disconnected from his values, Chris embarked on a journey that would ultimately give birth to the 100 Coffee Project, and later the founding of our organisation.

Chris began his journey by meeting one stranger a week for coffee, for one hundred weeks. It was a simple idea yet one that dramatically changed his life. After completing the project, Chris moved to create the 100 Coffee Movement.

The origins of the 100 Coffee Movement unveil the profound story of how a yearning for meaningful connections led to a project that not only reshaped his life but also stirred inspiration for other projects, work and impact.

From Discontent to a Quest for Meaning

Chris Hope's Quest for Connection:

December 2016 marked a significant turning point in Chris Hope’s life. For the first time, he found himself lost and disconnected from others. His relationship was faltering, his career appeared promising yet unfulfilling. The emptiness he felt was a stark reminder to the absence of genuine human connection.

Chris was no stranger to the value of connecting with others. During his primary school years, he took pride in knowing the names of every one of his classmates. Human connection, understanding people and giving first to others have always been his guiding principles. However, as adulthood settled in, he noticed a disheartening shift in societal priorities. The world seemed to be shifting towards convenience, often at the cost of real connections.

“One of the most significant changes since my youth is the preference for convenience over connection,” Chris observed. “We embrace self-checkout at the supermarket, order our shopping online, and seek doorstep deliveries.”

A Bold Idea Takes Shape

The Birth of the 100 Coffees Project

The rules were straightforward yet audacious: 100 coffees with 100 strangers, one coffee per week. Could a weekly latte shared with LinkedIn contacts he’d never met help fill the void that he was feeling?

“I approached the first few coffees with doubt,” Chris admitted. “I honestly wasn’t sure how they would unfold. This was never meant to be anything special, just a project where I wanted to learn about other’s stories.”

Discovering Values at Coffee Number Four

The Coffee that Changed Everything

The pivotal moment came during coffee number four. Sitting across from him was Steph, a senior management consulting professional. Initially, their conversation mirrored those of the preceding three coffees, but then she posed a question that would forever alter Chris’s life trajectory:

"What are your personal values, and how do they align with your actions in life?"

“That was a lightbulb moment that reshaped my entire life,” Chris declared. He rushed home, grabbed a pen and paper, and sketched a table. Across the top, he cataloged the activities comprising his life, while down the side, he listed the values he aspired to embody.

The table before him unequivocally exposed the misalignment between his actions and values. This revelation imbued the 100 Coffee Project with renewed purpose. Chris embarked on a quest to discover how people navigated their lives guided by their core values.

Exploring Lives Through 100 Lattes

The 100 Coffees Journey

What ensued were 100 lattes sipped in 87 cafes spanning seven countries. With each coffee, Chris delved into the stories of people who confronted their fears, uncovered inspiration and underwent personal transformations. More importantly, he encountered individuals who steadfastly adhered to their values.

Not every coffee proved life-altering. Some stretched beyond three hours, while others scarcely lasted 20 minutes. Chris reminisced, “I recall one coffee where the man opposite me barely paused to catch his breath, and didn’t ask me one question for 17 and a half minutes! The coffee clocked in at 18 minutes. But as I exited the café, I reflected and pledged to myself that I would always listen more than I talked. In that sense, it was 18 minutes well spent.”

Then there was the memorable encounter with a corporate executive. After making Chris wait for 45 minutes in the lobby of his city office, the executive abruptly canceled their meeting. It was 3:30 pm on a Friday, and Chris hadn’t had the chance to organise another coffee. In a moment of spontaneity, he turned to the receptionist and extended an offer of coffee. Coffee number 80 was shared with James the receptionist.

Energy, Enthusiasm, and Enduring Bonds

The Impact of the Project

As Chris navigated through the 100 Coffees Project, he felt a palpable transformation within himself. “I experienced heightened energy and enthusiasm for my pursuits and aspirations,” he affirmed. “Meeting new people and engaging in meaningful conversations had that effect on me.” This journey wasn’t solely about collecting stories; it was about forging enduring connections. To this day, Chris remains in touch with 30 to 40 individuals he encountered along the way.

Regarding Steph and the pivotal question that quite literally altered the course of his life? Chris recently reunited with her. “I conveyed to her, “you’ll never comprehend the profundity of that question at that moment.’ It transcended career counsel; it reshaped my entire life. I didn’t just apply it to my professional path; I applied it to the broader spectrum of my existence.”

"I didn't just apply it to my professional path; I applied it to the broader spectrum of my existence."

The Value of Authentic Human Bonds

The Enduring Relevance of Genuine Human Connection

The 100 Coffee Movement, conceived from a longing for genuine human connection, stands as a testament to the potency of authentic interactions. Chris Hope’s story shared through 100 coffee conversations, serves as an inspiring testament that sincere human connections are not a luxury but a fundamental necessity. In a world that increasingly champions convenience, this movement champions authentic dialogue and aligning our lives with our values.

The impact of the 100 coffee movement

Our projects