Keeping in the tradition of community and fellowship Shelton Hall is beginning to take on a whole new look with a nod to the past. Shelton, which once housed the student refectory, will now house a yet-to-be-named coffee shop. Included in the new redesign of the former bookstore are tables and chairs that have belonged to past professors. One notable item is a large wooden table that is prominent near the center of the room. If this table could speak, the memories it could possibly tell? In the 19th century one seminarian wrote a letter home saying he and his fellow students had requested chairs to sit at table. Currently, he explained they were sitting on benches, the custom in English dining areas especially in schools. The dean at the time was quite fond of benches; however, as the student noticed, the seminarians apparently were not. The dean insisted that benches were best; several of the seminarians insisted the opposite – going so far as to take the benches and throw them out the windows of Shelton Hall. Blackburn writes that the students eventually received their refectory chairs.
“We found what we believe to be the old refectory pictures of James Lloyd Breck, William Adams, and John Henry Hobart, the classic Warner Sallman’s Head of Christ (1941), and a good bit of old frames in disrepair,” says Joel A. Christian, ’16. Joel has served as the Bar-back at the House’s pub since the Fall of 2013, and will be taking the position of Master Barkeep at the end of this Spring Term. “The most unique thing found was a Waukesha County License to Manufacture and Sell Cigarette’s from the year 1974-1975 issued to Nashotah Mission.”
Why a coffee shop? As more people discover Christianity through the Anglican tradition, people are also looking for a new way of life – a return to simple things. Perhaps that which their grandparents and great-grandparents enjoyed. Coffee shops, knowing our neighbors, loving them and taking care of them, helping them if they call in middle of the night because somebody was sick there – a return to a different kind of life. Not so much a longing for the past, though. The Psalmist tells us not to long for the things of the past as that is wrong in the eyes of God. The writer of Proverbs also tells us to instead learn from those who have gone before, remembering that what we believe as Christians often must be explained to others – that the mission field is in the coffee shops, the markets, or in waiting for the kids to hop off the school bus.
That’s okay, that’s part of mission, when we join together for something fun like coffee. And although it is fun, there is something deeper going on – a cultivation of relationship and cultivation of knowing our neighbor and loving our neighbor as ourselves in Jesus Christ our Lord.
“I have always been passionate about great coffee,” Joel says. “I have home roasted fresh coffee beans on and off for the past 10 years. Before studying at Nashotah House, I worked with a coffee company out of Atlanta called Land of a Thousand Hills, working in sales and consulting, hosting coffee at conferences, conventions and music venues. I worked as an Independent Coffee Consultant, helping to open coffee shops and train staff in proper coffee techniques. I also worked for a bit of time in beer and wine sales at a high end shop in North Carolina.”
As far as coffee specialties, Joel loves manually-brewed coffee. There is nothing like experiencing a single origin coffee bean brewed through a Hario V60.
“It will ruin the palate of those who drink canned coffee through a standard countertop coffee machine,” he says. “For all manual brewing you follow three major rules for brewing coffee, the weight of the fresh ground coffee, the temperature of your water, and the amount of time you allow for the water to saturate the grounds. One of the last coffees I roasted was a Bourbon bean from Burundi, which had a lot of similar characteristics to beans from its neighbor Rwanda. I roasted it to a Full City (that’s a medium/dark roast). Brewed through the Hario V60 the coffee had notes of molasses and caramel, slight notes of clove and an incredibly bright clean finish. Needless to say the coffee was a hit with all of those who tasted it.”
The coffee shop has been something talked about for years at Nashotah House, a place for students, staff and faculty to meet, study and socialize in a comfortable environment. Coffeehouses have always been at the center of social activity and cultural changes, they have stimulated writers and fueled revolutions.
“Coffeehouses bring people from all backgrounds to think, discuss and share as they sip on warm invigorating beverages,” Joel says. “I think that fits well with the work we do here at Nashotah House. In the middle of a divided church and a divided culture we work, worship and share together with brothers and sisters of all backgrounds. The coffee shop, like the Pub, is another place we can live out this beautiful Pax Nashotah that we welcome people to come and share in.”
The campus coffee shop is the House’s student union for the use of the community. The equipment for the coffee shop has come miraculously from quite a few places. Some of the equipment Joel has had previously, and some was purchased by donations or by Nashotah House. All of the furniture and serving areas were either donated or found unused around the House, which is amazing when you see how well it all comes together.
The coffee shop opens May 5, 2014, the third week of Eastertide. Notable partakers have included our own President and Dean Edward Salmon, as well as the Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori, both enjoying the brew quite a bit. For the time being, coffee purchased is cash only between $1 and $1.50. Personal travel mugs are encouraged.
Coffee on campus certainly has its perks – The Coffee Shop hours are Monday through Friday from 6am-7:45am (closing promptly for Morning Prayer) and from 1:30pm-4pm (closing for Evening Prayer).
“Much of the coffee I have served so far was consumed in hosting the Nashotah House staff and various visitors to the House. But the first ‘actual’ paid cups of coffee were to Rico and Rich the electrician, who have been doing amazing work around the school. I wanted just to give them coffee for all the hard work they did but they insisted on paying,” laughs Joel.
When you’re next on campus, stop by, enjoy our on-site roasted beans. We will all be glad you did.