A mission in coffee

My journey over the last few years has been an interesting one. On the one hand, I’ve achieved a lot; I’ve been stretched and challenged, and I’ve grown as a person. On the other hand, I have made sacrifices, lost friends, and been judged by fellow Christians. All this has happened through my work with coffee. Having been named “World Latte-Art Champion” and “Australian Barista Champion,” I now consult to cafes and coffee roasting companies around the world as a barista and sensory expert.A book and DVD I’ve been involved in writing are both soon to hit the market. I have appeared on national television a number of times, and featured in every major Australian newspaper and just about every café/coffee industry magazine.

It’s a very different life to the life I lived five years ago. Then, I was heavily involved in a local church. Today, it’s hard to find time to attend church; not for lack of want or intent, but because I am often out of town or working with a café. Most days I struggle with the contrast between what I do and my Christian values. But I’m also reminded that going back to how life used to look is the easy way out. Instead, I’m making the most of the opportunities God has given me to use my craft in creative and meaningful ways. I’ve begun to work alongside people like Jenny Dawson and TraumAid International, in support of her work with displaced people groups.

I am also working with a team of people to open a café (or cafés) that employs and trains people who might not otherwise be given the opportunity to work. I share with churches and Christian groups about the important issues surrounding ‘Fair Trade Coffee’ and our obligation to make educated and socially responsible decisions.

My work has also allowed me to help local churches reach their communities in new and relevant ways. Brendan Handel, pastor of Berry Community Baptist Church (NSW), recently invited me to spend a weekend with his church for some creative ministry. On the Friday night we held a consultancy evening for all the local café owners and managers. It was a great success, attended by 20-30 non- Christians who work in, or own, local café’s, and a way for the local church to bless its community with no strings attached. It was an event in the community through which the church said “we’re interested in your lives and your businesses.” We deliberately held the night in one of the local cafés rather than a church building.

Coffee is the second highest traded commodity in the world; millions of people suffer in the “producing world” at the hands of multinational coffee companies. My profile with coffee has given me a great platform from which I can educate people about the issues of marginalisation and exploitation, and the small things we can do in the West to address them.

A lot of what I do is in the “world,” where it’s dog-eat-dog. I love that I am able to use my craft in ways that are more closely aligned with what I value as a Christian. I’ve dreamt that this would be possible and it’s a great blessing that I now have many opportunities to speak out about issues that matter.

Case study (prac8): a mission in coffee, By Scottie Callaghan.