Stories of Us: Leo | City Bible Forum
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Stories of Us: Leo

Thu 24 Nov 2022
Being faithful at work as a business owner
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At City Bible Forum, we seek to reach the world through workers with the good news about Jesus. So we like to connect to Christian workers and business people and get to know their stories. These stories inspire us—and we hope they inspire other Christians in the workplace too. Today one of our staff, Ricky, is interviewing Leo, a coffee connoisseur and a Christian.

Ricky: Hi Leo! Thanks for being willing to share your story. Tell us a bit about yourself outside of your job.

Leo: I am a Christian, a lucky husband to Marika, and a very happy father to a son named Micah. I love reading, writing, penmanship, and fountain pens. And I love Christ, or I think I do, maybe not enough, but I keep on trying anyways.

Ricky: Well, I think I can see your love for Christ displayed in how you live and work! So, let’s talk about that. I hear you have a passion for coffee. How and when did you first get interested in coffee?

Leo: I got interested in coffee when I was working my first job as an office admin. Specialty coffee was on the boom, and people were curious about coffees that don’t taste straight up bitter or bland. There was a way to imbibe caffeine with richer, complex, fruity and juicy flavours, without the use of caramels and sugar-heavy syrups that would eventually cause diabetes.

People around me were sharing knowledge about coffee varieties and brewing methods. It was so much fun. There were many ways to brew coffee; a moka pot, a v60 pour over, a full immersion aeropress, espresso, and so much more. It’s an absolute rabbit hole. I thought, maybe pursuing a career in coffee would be worth it. And 12 years later, here I am.

Ricky: Here you are! You have a cafe somewhere in Melbourne. Tell us a bit about that. Where is it? What makes it different from other cafes?

Leo: The name of the cafe is Micah Coffee Brewers. It's in Ferntree Gully (VIC) just beside Chemist Warehouse and Aldi. I chose ‘brewers’, because we don’t roast our own coffee. And because of that, we are not tied down to a limited number of blends or single-origin coffees, but we are able to collect a huge selection of coffee to brew for our customers. I love the freedom of having many different roasting styles and multiple blends to suit our customer needs.

It is also different because we created this cafe as our personal ministry of giving—by donating to TEARFUND and Samaritan's Purse when the cash flow can accommodate that. We are openly Christian. And when possible, we like to pray with our customers and share the gospel to them. We want to show that even as relatively low-income earners—as baristas and cafe owners—we can still help those in need, and in doing so, point people to the abundance of joy, hope, peace, and love we have in Christ.

Ricky: That’s great, Leo! Any challenging chapters in your journey as a barista so far?

Leo: The challenges are many, of course, because in a sense we are trying to be pioneers of specialty coffee in the eastern suburbs, and in doing so we have to cut out syrups and flavourings from our offerings. Hiring talented baristas is also hard in this part of Melbourne, and our level of offerings and various brewing methods makes it more challenging to train new staff members.

There is also the sin of the flesh—pride—that needs to be killed on a daily basis. In hospitality, we deal with people everyday. So learning to be humble, to be patient, and gentle with people, or to be merciful and filled with grace can be tough if we do not have enough personal time with the Lord.

Ricky: Definitely. So, how do your passion for coffee and your profession as a barista play in your Christian life?

Leo: It definitely makes morning Bible reading much easier with a good coffee in hand. I give thanks to God for every amazing aroma I can smell and every tasty brew I can drink. It shows to me how good, creative, and glorious our God is. If you need me to convince you about God's glory through coffee, come and join me for a cupping session.

Also, I am actually an introvert, but working in the hospitality industry has enabled me to talk to people. And in the long process of 12 years of working, serving, managing, and failing in many things, I could eventually learn to share the gospel with boldness and conviction.

Ricky: That’s really great to hear, Leo. Last question. If someone doesn’t like coffee, how do you think they can still use hospitality to be a witness for the gospel?

Leo: Absolutely. They can still give others an overwhelming amount of hospitality. They can still provide food, water, tea, cold beverages, snacks, sweets, as well as a heart to serve, time to spare, a genuine smile, an ear to hear, while praying to God. These things will show others the fullness of Christ.

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