Anyone who spies me in the morning has a pretty good idea that coffee is one of my best friends. A good cuppa is my near-constant companion from breakfast until an hour before lunch.

Except when I’m a visitor at church … or at least at most churches.

You see, although I’m not a coffee snob, I do draw a line about the coffee I’ll willingly drink. And I try to avoid drinking …

Church Coffee.

You know Church Coffee. It’s that lightly colored water that’s underbrewed and made with what I lovingly call “San Francisco Coffee,” that is Hills Brothers, MJB, or Folgers. Now, I’m sure all of these coffees when brewed to today’s standards are just fine, but in my experience … and I’ve got experience in a LOT of churches over the years[1] … churches that use these coffees aren’t really making anything that resembles today’s cultural coffee, they’re making coffee flavored tea.

Don’t get me wrong, I realize there’s a great following for Church Coffee, but in general, it’s probably not the people your church is trying to attract and keep if and when they visit. If your church is like most churches, your primary target is under the age of fifty-five, and by and large, those who fall into that age group prefer to drink coffee that’s a lot stronger, a lot darker, and perhaps is even from a sustainable and ethical grower/importer/roaster.

Now, it’s highly unlikely that a visitor is going to choose to return or to not return based on the coffee you serve before, during, and following worship. However, the coffee you serve really does make a difference because if you’re concerned enough about serving a brew that appeals to guests, you’re probably concerned enough to take seriously other hospitality issues such as parking, signage, hosting, and ushering (to name just a few).

One Note: This doesn’t mean you can’t serve a San Francisco Coffee – you probably have a number of folks in your church who prefer it. Don’t make them drink the high-test, “bold” coffee. Instead, offer options. Bold and Dark for your guests, your young adults, and those who prefer a quick kick of caffeine. And a carafe of understated brew for you SF Coffee lovers.

[1] A lot of churches = several hundred congregations over the past 18 years as a church consultant.