Mission is brewing in Georgia

"Business is Brewing" in Coffee County, Georgia. Two men--a pastor and a dentist--had roasted over 1,000 pounds of coffee beans in the last four years. ~Facebook/El Camino Coffee

Two United Methodists operate an artisanal coffee company that supports mission.

KARA WITHEROW
North Georgia Annual Conference

In the heart of Coffee County, Ga. a dentist and a part-time local pastor are helping make disciples and transform a small part of the world, one cup of coffee at a time.

What began with a short-term mission trip to El Salvador nearly six years ago has grown into El Camino Coffee, an artisanal coffee company that specializes in single-origin brews.

Rev. Chris Calhoun, pastor of St. Mark United Methodist Church in Douglas, and Dr. Griff Lindsey, a dentist and member of Douglas First United Methodist Church, started the coffee roasting company to raise money for mission trips and to support the missions and ministry efforts of the community they work with in Ahuachapan, El Salvador.

They were looking for a sustainable, year-round fundraiser and way to support the El Salvadoran community. Coffee made sense: Ahuachapan is in the center of an agricultural region that produces primarily coffee, and Rev. Calhoun and Dr. Lindsey, like many others, enjoy a good cup of coffee.

In the four years since they started El Camino Coffee, Rev. Calhoun and Dr. Lindsey have raised thousands of dollars for missions and have had countless opportunities to share their faith and witness to customers, suppliers, and anyone interested in their venture. They are eager to share that El Camino means “The Way” in Spanish and that Jesus is the way to salvation.

Not only does El Camino Coffee make a difference, it tastes different. Roasted just a few days before being purchased, brewed, and enjoyed, it tastes better, connoisseurs say, than the basic store-bought brew. Rev. Calhoun and Dr. Lindsey buy 150-pound bags of green coffee beans from growers in El Salvador and roast their coffee in small batches. It’s fresher and more flavorful than the coffee found on supermarket shelves because it’s usually less than a week old instead of months or years old.

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