Taking Coffee to the Next Level


Peculiar UMC has an ample foyer outside its modern sanctuary, presenting an opportunity. The church could improve its coffee service from standard to premium. They had the right guy to head up the endeavor with Jeremiah Slater, who had been harboring an ambition to open his coffee shop. Rather than going into it as an enterprise, he could put his knowledge to work as a ministry. 

A presentation was made to the church vision team, and they liked the idea. Help with funding was obtained through a New Places for New People grant from Congregational Excellence. Excitement was building as they started considering this as a way to do hospitality with excellence. 

“I had heard a saying that one of the worst cups of coffee most people ever have is the one they get at church,” said Sarah Oliver, director of spiritual connections. She didn’t want her church to have that reputation. 

After much research, Jeremiah selected the Jura S8 machine because it makes all espresso drinks in an easy-to-operate method. 

“We picked a machine in which you don’t have to be a professional barista to make a good coffee,” Jeremiah said. 

With the Jura, you essentially load it up, then make selections from a digital screen.

Although professional grade, the machine was less expensive than some that hook directly up to water lines. It has a tank for distilled water, and an automatic descaling process used periodically. 

“This one was a good budget call for us,” Jeremiah said. 

The grant covered the equipment that was purchased. In addition, members donated a couple of pieces of furniture, and a scout troop donated a hot chocolate machine. A member’s son, an electrician, took care of the necessary upgrades to the electrical system. 

“Every time there is a need here, someone steps up,” Rev. Windy Minshall said.

“Fancy” coffee isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Regular drip coffee is still available to anyone at the church for free, and the premium espresso coffees are available for a charge. First-time visitors get a coffee cup, tea bag, and a coupon for a free premium coffee. 

Part of the ministry aspect of the coffee kiosk is job experience for the youth volunteers. 

“It allows them to take orders, make the coffee and manage a point-of-sale experience,” Jeremiah said. 

The coffee stand debuted on Sunday, February 5. They will live into it and see when it might be good to open it at other times during the week. They plan on being open for significant special events like Night in Bethlehem, Trunk or Treat, and the Easter egg hunt.