Although it’s Panto season, how is it that this humble bean can be so transformational?

Coffee is not just about coffee anymore, it’s also about the experience one has when drinking it. The Revd Darren Howie says, “Coffee culture has evolved into moments of meaning around human and sensory connections. The smells. The sounds. The feelings. It’s about the aesthetics of your favourite café, the eclectic playlists, the book you read over that silky flat white, the meaningful conversation you have with a trusted friend over a latte. Coffee is really about connecting to that bigger story, the story of life. However, to the coffee purist, coffee is just that – coffee. And it has to be good, really good coffee. Indeed, to put milk in your brew is sacrilegious, or the tell- tale sign that your coffee is poor. The story the purists are more connected to is the story of the actual beans – the journey they’ve been on, where they came from, how they’re treated and how they find their way to into their “sacred cup””.

Enter Sacred Bean Coffee; a new potential ‘Tent Making’ coffee roasting initiative being developed at Susanna Wesley House in Derby City Centre. Sacred Bean Coffee is about playing its part in connecting these stories. Sacred Bean’s inception came back in 2018 by coffee enthusiast, Revd. Darren Howie. He wanted to take two of his passions, coffee (and the experience of coffee) and rehabilitation, and marry them together. He wanted to create a social enterprise that would provide opportunities for people breaking out of the Criminal Justice System or in recovery as well as foster community. Darren developed his love of coffee whilst working as a barista some years back, his first job after being stuck in the Criminal Justice System for over 25 years, and not long after completing long-term drug rehabilitation. The roasting began in Darren’s home kitchen, and was then mastered inthe chancel of St. Peter’s Church, Derby, now as a legal business, a Community Interest Company at SWH.

We teach and train people the art of roasting, brewing and selling ethically sourced artisan coffee. It’s also about producing quality, specialty, coffee beans. It’s about the ethics, justice, enterprise, and the work of rehabilitation and recovery. On a grander scale, it’s also about helping God mend his broken creation; SPIRITUAL, SOCIAL, ECOLOGICAL, and ECONOMIC brokenness. It’s about bring spiritual healing and renewal to hurting and disenfranchised people; building social and cultural bridges by helping people reintegrate to society; ethical sourcing of beans, fair-trade and a commitment to local farmers using appropriate and sustainable farming methods; social mobility, education and providing learning, increasing employability.

We love coffee, but we passionately believe that people can and do change, if given the right opportunities and context. Just as the raw coffee beans (or seeds, since that’s what they are) need the right environment and treatment to unlock their potential, so it is with the people we support. We strongly believe that people deserve a ‘second crack’ (a key stage in the flavour development of a roasting coffee seed) at life and despite their backgrounds, if placed in the right context, people have immense potential to flourish and contribute positively and productively to society and transform the communities in which they live. We believe that all of us belong to – and are connected to – that same story. And that stories can and do alter.

Yes we sell pucker coffee; yes, but we’re not just about selling coffee. We’re about writing a story – and God’s in it showing us something of his story unfold. We roast coffee every Friday at SWH, we run this business together, we pray together, we cry together, we laugh together, and we share in a simple eucharistic style act of imagination and remembrance to help us connect to that grander narrative that is the kingdom of God. We love guests… Come and share with us.. This is the part I dislike the most: but I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t ask you to buy our coffee. By doing so you become a part of our story. You invest in lives and the kingdom being built in and around Derby. Email: to discuss order and payment options Be blessed.

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