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Being a tea-drinker, I never really understood the attraction to coffee until I tasted a certain brand that came in a white & green paper cup. That particular blend worked on my palate and I have looked out for it ever since.

Coffee comes in many forms and flavours but they all start out the same. As beans. The roasting, grinding and filtering are what changes the strength. The life of a coffee bean sounds a bit traumatic. Coffee “cherries” are harvested and in order to get to the bean, they need to have the fleshy outer removed by either a wet or dry process. The wet process soaks the outer layers off through a series of processes (one is called aquapulping. Ouch!) The dry process requires the coffee cherries to be dried for up to 4 weeks before being hulled. Once the coffee beans have been collected they are polished, cleaned, sorted and graded. That is only the start! From there they are roasted, cooled and packaged. The length of the roasting is what really alters the taste.

A ‘Cinnamon Roast’ is 196 degrees Celsius roasting for a lightly toasty colour whereas a ‘Spanish Roast’ is 250 degrees Celsius and the roasted beans look like little black gems.

Our own lives take on a very similar process. Through a series of events, our outer shells are removed and we go through our own roasting process. Some people are put through more gruelling experiences, making them more like a Spanish Roast, whereas others may be subjected to a slightly cooler roasting resulting in a Cinnamon Roast. One is not better than the other but your ‘roast’ will appeal to certain people.

Looking back, I can make out the processes I have been through. I see my birth as the moment that God harvested me and my baptism as the start of the wet process, which soaked off all the unnecessary flesh. I went through a roasting when our son was diagnosed with a brain tumour – it was four months of 245 degrees Celsius heat while we had to watch our son die. At the time it was extremely painful but I knew that the experience was growing me, preparing me for a future I could not see. At 245 degrees Celsius, I would be compared to an ‘Italian Roast’ – and I can taste how I’ve changed – a little darker, a little deeper, a whole lot stronger…but not bitter. I may not be to everyone’s taste but God is the ultimate barista. He prepared me this way for a purpose and He is preparing you in the same way with a specific purpose in mind.

Our journey as coffee beans is far from over – coffee beans can be twice or thrice roasted.

Romans 5:3-6 says, “Moreover let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance. And endurance develops maturity of character. Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

You are your own unique blend, planned by God for His use. Let people drink from your cup so that they can taste God’s sweetness and strength.

As coffee beans we have the best example to follow. So next time you have a cup of your favourite Java remember THE coffee bean that was purposefully selected, washed, roasted and ground for you so that you could enjoy this life and, more importantly, the life to come, in God’s Kingdom.

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