Herb & Jim

Herb & Jim
Capricorn's 50th Anniversary Blend

to savor and celebrate . . . !

Herbert Donaldson, a young lawyer in private practice and his partner, James Hardcastle, opened one of the very first specialty coffee roasters in San Francisco in 1963. It was called Hardcastle’s Coffees and located on Union Street. They eventually changed its name to Capricorn Coffees for Jim’s astrological birth sign. The success of their coffee roasting business inspired Alfred Peet to open Peet’s Coffee in Berkeley in 1966 and Starbucks Coffee in Seattle in 1971 started by three employees of Alfred Peet. When Jim Hardcastle passed away in 1978, Herb devoted himself to running Capricorn until he became a judge in 1983.

Besides being at the start of the specialty coffee craze in the US, Herb played a key role in shaping San Francisco's inclusion of the LGBT community. On New Year's Eve 1965, as a volunteer at a legal, public fundraiser for several homophile organizations at California Hall, Herb told the police "God damn it, that's enough. You can't come in again without a search warrant” as they returned the fourth time attempting to break up the event. Herb was arrested and taken away in a police wagon. To justify their actions, the police sent out a press release claiming that San Francisco was overrun with 75,000 homosexuals. This unwittingly prompted the beginning of steady migrations of LGBT people to the area. Ultimately, the presiding judge overseeing the case instructed the jury to acquit Herb and 3 others arrested at the event. This incident has been widely acknowledged as a turning point in gay rights on the West Coast.

In 1983, Herb was appointed California’s first openly gay male judge by then-Governor Jerry Brown. He officially retired in 1999 but continued as an assigned judge to San Francisco Behavioral Health Court which offers alternatives to incarceration for non-violent offenders with behavioral health issues. For his leadership, contributions, and lifetime dedication to advancing justice, equality, and compassion for all, Herb received numerous awards, including a special tribute by the ACLU in 2006. He died in 2008.

Herb & Jim Blend was created to celebrate Capricorn's 50th Anniversary. As a tribute to our two founders who were also life-long animal advocates, we donate $2 of every pound sold to the San Francisco SPCA.

We are planning to release this blend for sale on the day the US Supreme Court renders its decision on California Proposition 8 which is expected to happen before the end of June 2013. We are also working on a petition to the City of San Francisco to adopt the Herb & Jim Blend as the official coffee blend of San Francisco..

Watch Lewd & Lascivious Trailer
1965: Drag Queens, Ministers and the SFPD! This documentary (once called The Last Dance Raid) brings to light a little-known event where the "homophile" community teamed up with a few unlikely ministers to clash with the SFPD and help start the civil rights movement in San Francisco for LGBTQ people.

Listen to a vocal narration of Herb & Jim story hosted on SoundCloud