Share the love,
share a coffee,
change the world.

Photo of an Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony (Jabanah) at Upper Cup Coffee in Columbus, OH.

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that a simple cup of coffee has the ability to transform the world.”

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that a simple cup of coffee has the ability to transform the world.”

I think most of us would agree that humans, in general, could improve their ability to listen to others. We’re taught to listen before speaking at a young age, and while many of us do, we still aren’t listening correctly. We listen in order to know how to speak next, rather than listening in order to understand, and the people we are listening to, particularly those who are in need of help or support, can see right through it.

Coffee is a tool that can help change that.

But more than that, coffee is a tool that can be used to make people feel human, feel loved, feel appreciated, and feel like they are accepted. For me, a single cup of coffee was all that was needed to lead me down a path to escaping depression and incredible social anxiety. For others, I have seen a simple coffee meeting build their confidence, help them focus their dreams on an achievable goal, or find relief from a chaotic life that won’t let them live free. Coffee has changed people’s lives.

“No one has ever lost their life buying a coffee for a friend or a stranger.”

I challenge you to use your local coffee shop as a way to meet others, even complete strangers, and spend a few minutes and even fewer dollars showing them kindness. Buy a cup of coffee for someone that you think might need it.

You’ll find very quickly that not only will you learn to listen better and understand how others perceive the world differently than you, but you might just bring some much needed joy to someone’s life.

Let’s face it, most of us won’t change the world by setting insanely ambitious goals that are impossible to achieve. I’m certainly not saying don’t shoot for your dreams, but I think it’s important to remember that not everyone needs you to start a new charitable organization that impacts the world on a global scale.

Some people just need a friend for a few moments.

Below are a few stories of people who were simply friends to me in a time when I needed it most. You can read more in the blog, and even more in my book, Brewing The Way. Don’t forget to share your own experience when you’re done! I love hearing what other people are doing to make their communities a better place to live.

A Caffeinated Abode

The first time I ever experienced an Ethiopian coffee ceremony over an open flame using a jabanah pot for brewing, I knew that the worldview I had was shifting. I could feel the gears turning in my mind with each sip of drink and burst of laughter found in the conversation.

Smoke filled the room. Hot coffee grounds just pulled from the open flames spilled to the ground. Popcorn danced on the edges of tables, teasing the numerous sweet dessert cakes with their delicate acrobatic skills. A tense discussion of politics transformed faces into disdainful grimaces, and then back to wide grins as the second round of coffee cups were filled for everyone.

This was my new coffee life.

Tiny cups of sweetened coffee clattered together on carefully balanced platters. The young Eritrean woman who brewed each jabanah pot poured the hot liquid into my cup without a single English word spoken.

I remember sitting there, with my new friends whom I could barely understand from the other side of the world, and thinking about how I found myself in this place.

A single cup of coffee and a simple introduction at the local Boston Stoker coffee shop was all that it took for Abraham to invite me into his home to experience Ethiopian coffee the way it was intended.

Cups of coffee have a funny way of bringing me into some crazy adventures…

The Stranger on the Couch

Let’s jump back to a few years before I had my first jabanah coffee experience….

I hadn’t been hopping couches for more than a few weeks when I found myself sitting in a coffee shop with a fine latte in my hands. A friend sat across from me, and we discussed our plans for a future with music (always dream big, even when you don’t really have a solid place to stay) while pursuing a meaningful life working in the Church.

Little did I know, there was another young guy just a few years older than me sitting on the couch across the room, unintentionally eavesdropping on our conversation while trying to read a deep philosophical book of some kind (probably something about the Lutheran church in 19th century Confederate South).

As the conversation with my friend came to an end, this stranger on the couch rose from his place, walked to my table, and sat down across from us with a simple introduction.

“I couldn’t help but listen in on your plans for the future. Mind if I chat with you for a moment?”

Not a week later I was sleeping on his couch in his new home, followed swiftly thereafter with a more permanent room that I could call my own home, which allowed for our friendship to develop as far as to lead us into doing business together and eventually my place as the best man at his wedding on my birthday in 2015.


There have been many cups of coffee shared with people before and after both of those stories.

So, what do you say? Want to see what happens when you buy a cup of coffee for a friend, or even a stranger?

Let me know in the comments what happened. 🙂 

P.S. -> Always be safe when doing something like this with strangers. Obviously, don’t put yourself in a potentially dangerous situation if things start getting uncomfortable. Keep the interaction public at your local coffee shop, and don’t give away personal contact information to people you don’t know. You can be kind and still be smart.