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Sacred Bean couple turn hobby into Derby coffee business

Husband and wife team Darren and Jo Howie have turned roasting coffee into an ingenious way to share their faith with their local community.

What started off as a hobby has now become Sacred Bean, a flourishing coffee roasting company located in the centre of Derby.

Coffee aficionados, Darren and Jo originally began roasting and brewing different types of coffee with friends at home in their kitchen, before increasing demand led them to move operations to Susanna Wesley House, a new mission initiative based in Derby city centre.

As demand has grown, Darren and Jo are looking to take on their first member of staff, alongside inviting vulnerable people such as ex-offenders and recovering addicts to join in with the roasting, in order to build relationships and to help them learn and develop new skills.

Jo says the ethos behind Sacred Bean is more about people than coffee.

She explained, “The uniqueness of Sacred Bean is not in the coffee but in the stories of those who roast it.” Jo went on to cite the example of Mick, an ex-soldier and recovering drug addict. She said, “After leaving the army Mick was diagnosed with PTSD and he slipped into a world of hard drugs and violence, ending up in prison. Mick is now a core part of the Sacred Bean team, is living in his own home and has custody of his son.” 

Prior to launching Sacred Bean, Darren was ordained and worked as a pioneer curate at St Peter’s in Derby, while Jo worked for a homeless charity and was part of the Pioneer Mission Leadership Training programme at CMS.

In 2016 Jo enrolled for CMS’s Make Good training module, designed to assist pioneer leaders as they plan and pitch entrepreneurial ideas, and then develop them through to fruition. Jo remembers that, “the teaching really helped us move forward” and found the course invaluable. They now work as pioneer missioners for the Methodist Church in Derby.

The development of Sacred Bean has given Darren and Jo opportunities to share their faith with neighbours and others in the local community. Sacred Bean continues to grow and the company is now looking to broaden its range of home roasted coffees still further and increase the suppliers they sell to, to include conferences and festivals and a postal order option. 

More info about the business and photos can be found on Facebook: @sacredbeancoffee

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