- H.M. CAULEY, For the Journal-Constitution
Most people may not imagine that their morning cup of coffee can do a good deed for a Third World country. Yet that's the entire concept behind the Land of 1000 Hills Coffee Co. in Roswell.
The coffeehouse and dessert bar feature brews made only with beans from Rwanda, home to some of the world's premium beans. Owner and Anglican minister Jonathan Golden discovered just how exceptional they are a few years ago when he visited an Anglican colleague working there. He asked how he and his followers at St. Peter's Place in Roswell could help the Rwandan population. The suggestion: Buy bags of Rwandan beans.
"I started by encouraging the local churches like North Point and Roswell United Methodist to buy this coffee to brew on Sunday mornings," Golden said. "Now we have it in more than 200 churches around the country."
But Golden didn't stop at the church doors. A few months ago, he opened Land of 1000 Hills (the Rwandans' nickname for their country) and started selling it to the public. The beans are produced by Rwandan growers who earn $1.86 per pound (up from the 40 cents per pound they earned previously) and roasted in-house. The beans are also sold in 12-ounce bags for $10, with $1 going back into a microfinancing program for Rwandan widows to start small home-based businesses.
"The whole idea is to drink coffee, do good," Golden said. "And once you've had it, you won't go back to Starbucks'. The country has a lot of volcanic ash in the soil that creates lush growing conditions for some of the best beans in the world."
The coffeehouse fills up a little house that's been restored with the original hardwoods and fireplace intact. Several cozy rooms are dotted with couches where guests can curl up with a book, a board game or their laptop and the free wireless connection.
Out back, there's a patio with fire pits. A few seats at the bar give customers an up-close look at the baristas at work.
The pots start brewing early each day and through the morning, with
12-ounce cups of coffee going for $1.
The limited menu features one-size cappuccinos, lattes, cafe mochas, iced coffee and the signature "Reverend" — an espresso infused with raw sugar. "We've chosen to limit the coffee menu and do it right," Golden said.
Other options include Italian sodas, hot chocolate, chai tea and Rwandan black tea.
Got the munchies? Pair your coffee with a pastry, Danish, muffin, cinnamon roll or a slice of cake. Plans are in the works to add simple breakfast and lunch sandwiches. Prices range from $1.50 to $5.50.
Try it free
Golden and his staff are planning an official opening today. They'll be on the street from 7 to 9 this morning offering free cups of coffee to drivers going by their location at 352 S. Atlanta St. More free coffee and pastries will be offered from 10 to 11 a.m., when Golden will share some of his stories of a recent Rwandan visit. From 8 to 10 p.m. Friday, there will be live acoustic music on the patio. On Saturday, drop by from 10 to 11 a.m. for a free "coffee cupping" — a java tasting session that includes information on aroma, brewing and roasting.
• Signature dish: The Reverend, an espresso infused with raw sugar
• Beverage prices: $1.75-$4.50
• Hours: 6 a.m.-8 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays; 6 a.m.-11 p.m. Fridays; 8 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturdays
• Reservations: No
• Credit cards: Yes
• Web site: www.drinkcoffeedogood.com