Christine Yom, owner of Message Coffee.
When new customers first walk up to Message Coffee, they often wonder what exactly the message behind the coffee is. Christine Yom shared that behind the name and the book logo is the Christian message through which she hopes to foster a community space around her coffee shop in Stock + Grain Assembly. The philosophy behind the connection between coffee and Christianity is that over a cup of coffee, it’s easier to open up, share your heart, and grow with the people you were at first just having a casual sip on matching hazelnut iced oat milk lattes with.
Christine came to the area from New York, where she spent her early childhood. Then, a move brought her next door to Greensboro. But it was High Point where Christine found a space for her coffee business dream.
She says, “I’m learning that [High Point] is a very quirky neighborhood, and the people are really great who I’ve met so far.”
While her coffee shop dreams were once a retirement plan, or something to do later in her career, Stock + Grain Assembly offered her an opportunity that made the cafe a reality much sooner than later.
When Christine went to other coffee shops, quietly nurturing her dream for her own space, she thought about the coziness and community she wanted to inspire, as well as the top-notch ingredients that made all the flavor difference.
Christine says, “most of the places I’ve been to, I could tell that they use quality ingredients. So I knew that I didn’t want to shortcut my ingredients.”
For example, Christine found a local coffee roaster, Henry’s Fresh Roast, that she uses for all of her beans. Ingredient quality is important on its own, but Christine shares that aside from the great espresso from Henry’s, she also admires him as an inspirational Christian, who is constantly sending her Bible verses that he feels need to be shared.
“He loves what he does and believes in what he does, and I think that is what makes your business,” she says.
As for settling into her corner of the food hall, she describes the close bonds she has formed with her regulars, who have become friends, not just customers. Just like she aspired with the name and symbolism of Message Coffee, a delicious drink has become more than just a pick-me-up. It’s an icebreaker, or an open door to connect with the people around us in a way that’s not always so easy.
Christine talks about her regulars, saying, “We share our life stories, share our struggles and, even if we don’t believe in the same things, we’re still making friends and making communion with people. I think that’s the joy of coffee. I think it just makes conversation a little lighter.”
Though she has made it clear that her personal message is of Christian love, she makes sure that people know her space is open to all beliefs. It’s not about agreeing with everything everyone believes in, but instead, about creating the opportunity for fruitful conversations. After a cup of Message Coffee, Christine wants two unalike people to be able to find their common ground via delicious coffee grounds.
Message Coffee aspires to share Christian love to people of all beliefs and backgrounds.
“We didn’t want it to be too in your face, or make people think that we were Christian and only accept other Christians. We’ve had people from different religions ask about our name, and then we’re able to share our story and our testimony, and they’re able to share theirs. We’re very open to hearing other people’s stories,” she says.
Christine thinks that the love that you can extend to everyone is greater than differences in ideology. People asking the hard questions is naturally difficult, but she finds it to also be fun to explore and share her own beliefs when people ask, and to learn about theirs in return.
“You get to meet all types of people,” she says.
The name Message Coffee alludes to the variety of coffees on the menu, but Christine brings a special twist to a typical coffee shop menu through her teas. Message Coffee sells organic, loose leaf teas that are mainly caffeine free, making them a more versatile option for people who want a fun drink without the caffeine aspect.
I’m really proud of my matcha,” she says. “It’s a ceremonial grade matcha. It’s more expensive than I think a lot of people use. All the teas are really pretty. They’re nice to look at and they smell really great.”
While some people are unsure about her unique tea menu used to the same couple of typical teas found in the south, she responds to their initial surprise the same way she opens up the dialogue for differences. She offers to help people broaden their horizons and change their minds.
“You can smell it,” she says, “it’s better quality than just a regular black [tea]. Or I have an, oriental cherry oolong, so if you like oolong, it’s just a little bit different from what you would normally get.”
Specialty drinks of coffee and tea have been Christine’s love language for a long time. She recalls her own place in small groups and girls nights where meeting at coffee shops or staying in to make tea opened up space for special bonds.
“I think having a communal beverage just kind of opens a door when you’re meeting someone for the first time …Seeing how people interact with each other over coffee is fun,” she says.
The Christian message, she finds, goes hand in hand with coffee shops, as youth groups and Bible studies look for comfortable places to share a drink, a snack, and an insight into their shared faith. The goal for Message Coffee is to continue working with these groups, both reaching out and inviting in to share their space and beliefs.
“We’ve had a lot of pastors come in and bring their small groups. Last year we did 10% off for small groups, and catered for a church that meets at the YWCA. I want to eventually fund some of the missionaries that are our friends,” she says.
Clearly, Christine Yom has big plans for the bright future of Message Coffee right alongside exciting seasonal menus. Having just passed its first year, her shop is equally as new to High Point as she is, but her firm faith and outstanding message drive her dreams. With a High Point welcome, Message Coffee will continue to share more than just piping hot cups of joy.
“I think having a communal beverage just kind of opens a door when you’re meeting someone for the first time… Seeing how people interact with each other over coffee is fun.”
Christine Yom, Owner of Message Coffee
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