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Business Management Class Engages in Real-World Learning

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Warrior Café is about more than coffee.

The student-run Warrior Café has reached its next level at Worthington Christian. As the hands-on component of the Small Business Management class taught by Mr. Nick Johnson, the business of the Warrior Café has recently expanded to include the art and science of coffee roasting.

WC Business Management students not only keep their classmates caffeinated during the morning and lunch hours by providing quality coffee beverages, but they are engaged in real-world learning as they perform the roles necessary to carry out the operations of the Warrior Café. Students manage inventory, set sales goals, create marketing strategies, and run the shop.

Last fall, a former WC parent and customer of the Warrior Café recognized a need and opportunity to see the scope of operations expand to incorporate the entire process “from bean to cup,” with a generous donation that allowed Johnson to purchase a sample coffee roaster for the program.

Johnson shares that students are learning about “the whole process of coffee—sourcing green coffee beans from various regions around the world…I am learning right along with the students when it comes to roasting.” He describes the detailed, intricate (and fascinating) steps involved in the roasting process, which includes several variables, each of which brings a different result in the flavors of the batch. Variables such as plus or minus 10 degrees of roasting temperature, fluctuations in temperature during the roasting process, temperature and humidity in the environment, duration of the roast, sourcing, and what other crops are sown adjacent to the coffee beans all contribute to the “flavor profile” of the coffee beans in the roasting process.

Students in the Small Business Management class benefit from a partnership with Mr. Paul Kurtz of Hemisphere Coffee Roasters, in which students can observe the process firsthand as they visit his roaster and hear accounts of Kurtz’s visits to coffee farmers to purchase the coffee beans he uses for his business.

Seniors Hudson Zollars and Camden St. John provide insights into the valuable experience they are each gaining through their participation in the Small Business Management class and hands-on learning in the Warrior Café. Hudson shares, “I have learned important skills such as working with others, multitasking, and personal responsibility. . .I love how much of a team we all are. We share responsibilities and look out for each other.” Camden intends “to [use] the entrepreneurial skills Mr. Johnson has instilled in me” in a future study, eventually opening a private physical therapy practice. Both students attest to the complexity and detail involved in acquiring and roasting coffee beans to produce an excellent cup of coffee.

Beyond the opportunity to run a business and provide quality beverages in-house at WC, the class will partner with Chemistry Teacher Mrs. Christy Burns in the lab to learn about the sciences involved in the growing, roasting, and brewing entailed in bringing a cup of coffee to fruition. In addition, the proceeds earned from the Warrior Café are used towards the Senior Trip to the Dominican Republic and for additional purchases of beans for the Café.

Sometimes, however, God has an even greater purpose for a project. What can God do through coffee? Watch the compelling story of Nicaraguan coffee farmer Diego and how God orchestrated an excellent partnership through former Nicaraguan missionaries and their friend Kurtz to meet a desperate need. This documentary is a beautiful, inspiring story chronicling the faith and God’s provision for Diego, a Nicaraguan coffee farmer, who, through him, has used his coffee farm to support fruitful gospel ministry in Nicaragua.

So the next time you stop into the Warrior Café at Worthington Christian to order your favorite coffee beverage, consider that, in this case, it’s more than coffee, much more.

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