I’m hunched over the coffee pot brewing my morning allowance of Mystic Monk coffee, and I squint through the darkness at the picture of the monk on the side of the coffee bag.  He sits in his stone cell, hood on, contemplating God’s law over a cup of his brew.  Immediately I’m there with him and his Carmelite brothers—in my head no one’s bothered by the strange laywoman in her JPII pajamas—praising God in the silence and majesty of the Rocky Mountains.  The coffee pot gurgles, and I pour the perfect cup of coffee.

Mystic Monk coffee truly is an experience.  It’s smooth, delicious, and beautifully flavorful without a hint of bitterness.  And no matter what flavor or blend I open up, it’s always the same.  Without fail, Mystic Monk coffee tastes like it doesn’t matter that I sprained my neck and can’t look to the right.  I can still swallow.  It tastes like it doesn’t matter that the little guys woke up crabby, the day’s looking long, and it’ll be eleven hours before my husband gets home, because it’s Mystic Monk time right now.  It tastes like it doesn’t matter that my moms’ group isn’t meeting this week and we’re going nowhere because I’ve already been to Wyoming and back.  No matter what flavor it is, it tastes like heaven and reminds me that there is indeed something greater than this world to look forward to.  And Mystic Monk coffee will be there.

The coffee is the fruit of the labor of the young Carmelite Monks of Wyoming.  Their website describes the brothers, who wear tonsures and the brown Carmelite scapular and white mantle of our Lady of Mount Carmel, as men who “seek to perpetuate the charism of the Blessed Virgin Mary, living the Marian life as prescribed by the primitive Carmelite Rule and the ancient monastic observance.”  Hoping to create a Mount Carmel in the midst of the Rockies, “this new monastery of contemplative monks lives a life of faithful orthodoxy to the Magisterium, where joy and peace abound in a manly, agrarian way of life.”  I’ve caught my husband with the Carmelite brochure more than once looking longingly at the pictures of the brothers gathered for Mass, hard at work roasting coffee, and playing football in their habits, the beautiful and wild-looking Rocky Mountains looming in the background. The pictures from the monastery reveal a rule of life ordered toward absolute holiness, absolute manliness, and it’s absolutely the first place I would go looking for my husband should the noise at home ever get to be too much.

I’ve often wondered just what makes their coffee so good.  Recently, I emailed the brothers with a few questions about their craft and they were quick to respond.  “We use the best quality Arabica coffee, and have perfected the roast for each type of bean we use. We also use special foil bags that have a freshness valve that lets air escape, but doesn't let air in.”

Do they pray for their customers?  “Yes!” they wrote. “We do pray for our customers during our work, while we roast, bag and package the coffee.”

How do they decide on and create new flavors?  The brothers replied, “We're always thinking of new flavors and blends.  We sample many different coffees, with only a select few making the grade.  Before a new blend or flavor is released, we experiment with different variations of each bean and flavor, before deciding on the very best.  Only when we're 100% satisfied with the taste do we make it available.”

And, finally, do the brothers have specific rules concerning when they can enjoy their coffee and whether they’re allowed cream and sugar?  The answer:  “We don't really have any specific rules, but we prefer drinking our coffee black!”

There you have it.  Mystic Monk coffee.  Gourmet coffee that can actually make you holier.  Moms, I can’t think of a more perfect gift to give or receive this Christmas.  Just be sure to hide the brochures.

Copyright 2011 Meg Matenaer