Brother Elias of our Lady of Mount Carmel, a.k.a. Brother Java, carefully watches the crackling, smoking coffee beans
as the temperature climbs to its optimum value. The handle is pulled and the popping dark beans pour out into the cooling bin oozing smoke. Br. Elias smiles as another roast is completed with perfection at the Carmelite Monastery in Clark, Wyoming.
Nestled in the shadows of the Beartooth Mountains, the monks’ toils adhere strictly to the ancient Monastic Rule of St Albert.
“The Rule of St. Albert stipulates that we monks sustain ourselves through the work of our own hands,” explained Brother Michael Mary, the carmelite blend-master and one of the longest-tenured monks at the monastery. “This is a way in which to do just that.”
The small band of Roman Catholic monks cloistered within tall wooden walls near Our Lady of the Valley Church in Clark, well known in the area and around the state for their traditional Gregorian Chant, embarked on their newest venture in-adherence to the Rule of St. Albert last June. Under the supervision of Father Daniel Mary, prior of the monastery, and using the masterful blends of Brother Michael Mary, the monks roast and package premium gourmet coffee now available to the public under the title of Mystic Monk Coffee.
Brother Michael says each bag of whole beans or ground is prepared with care and prayer, offering the masses a glimpse into the mystical lives of Wyoming’s Carmelite monks. “Through our coffee and our Chant CD we have given people an opportunity to enter into our lives,” he said “to taste and experience the fruit of our work and the fruit of our prayer-the results of our holistic life.”
All of their blends are delightful to the taste buds. Br. Elias attributes this fact to his blend-master’s sharp palette.“Brother is able to select the very finest beans and blend them together in the absolute best way,” he said “He’s really particular about this.”
Brother Michael has developed over twenty roasts, ranging from light to dark roast, including four special blends of four types of beans. The Mystic Monk Blend, after which the line of coffee is named, is a medium-dark roast Brother Michael describes as “very deep, very complex with a intense nutty taste. It is definately the most popular blend and my personal favorite.” The Breakfast Blend “is more snappy-a light roast that really maintains the characteristics of each individual bean,” he said.
The third came about as the result of inquisitive cowboys and a happy accident.
“we had some local cowboys ask about a cowboy roast,” Brother Michael said. “I didn’t think much about it until the day of the accident.” The “accident” involved a batch of fresh dark-roast beans being unintentionally poured into a hopper of forgotten light-roast beans. The results? “The best smelling blend I have ever encountered,” Brother Michael Said. “Light-roast and dark-roast together --it made a deep bodied coffee that was really snappy. It became the Cowboy blend.”
Also roasted at the monastery is Fair Trade Organic Coffee
Beans and a special Harvest Blend for the organic coffee lover. A host of light, medium and dark-roast coffees from around the globe, many types of flavored coffee, and swiss water decaffeinated coffees are also available.
Father Daniel credits Brother Michael with the idea to roast and package premium gourmet coffee. Brother Michael, in turn credits his sister, once owner of a Costa Rican coffee plantation. “We started looking into a roaster about a year and a half ago,” Br. Michael said. Br. Elias describes the roaster he mans as “The Cadillac of coffee roasters. We wanted to pack quality into each bag and this machine lets us do that,” he said.
Not only is quality packed into each bag, the monks said, so too are the hopes and dreams of a small band of brothers in northwestern Wyoming. “Proceeds from this are in support of our cause and in support of the new monastery we plan to construct,” Brother Michael said. “God has sent us many new brothers and potential brothers, and with Mystic Monk Coffee
, God has sent us a means to support this work.”
He concludes “ Through the addition of an affiliate program
we are allowing others to share in the fruits of our monastic life and prayer. Our hope is that this will become a great opportunity to earn an income from home and online for anyone who likes our coffee and wants to support our cause.”