Mystic Monk Coffee: a cup of truly heavenly joe
The monk on the left might be praying, but then he might also be pondering the perfect cup of Ethiopian coffee. Last year, the Monks of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, a very small community of 13 Carmelites in northwestern Wyoming, began roasting and selling their own coffee.
Mystic Monk Coffee, says floor manager Brother Elias, was started as a way of generating income not only to help keep the community active ("manual labor is so important... we can't just pray all day") and self-sufficient, but also to build a monastery. "We couldn't see selling hundreds of jars of jams; and we drink a lot of coffee." The monks get their coffee from brokers, then roast it on a Diedrich roaster ("we got the Cadillac of roasters") using profiles set up by master roaster Brother Michael Mary, who worked in a Minneapolis coffee house before coming to Wyoming to study for the priesthood. The monks' website offers 21 kinds of coffee, including Hermit's Bold, a lovely blend of Sumatran and Guatemalan beans. Well-rounded, with notes of molasses and black pepper, a cup of the brew might be just the thing for those moments of silent contemplation.
Mystic Monk Coffee, P.O. Box 2747, Cody, Wyo. (877-751-6377); www.mysticmonkcoffee.com.
-- Amy Scattergood
Photo of monk in Wyoming courtesy the Monks of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel