Rise and grind readers! It's 2020 and everyday is like Groundhog Day. In other words, it feels like déjà -brew and our motto at this point should be, "Life happens, coffee helps."
Here's a fun fact for you: Americans consume about 400 million cups of coffee per day! That's a latte of coffee! For most of us, coffee is a part of our daily routine. Coffee has come a long way from the, “regular or decaf” days. The choices of beans, roasts, and flavors are endless and every coffee drinker has their favorites. So if the best part of waking up is truly java in your cup, wouldn't you want to be the one to put that smile on people’s faces?
For Wendy Cahill, owner of Molten Java, the answer to this question is a resounding, "Yes!" So I sat down with her and asked her to spill the beans on what it has been like to be that person here in Bethel for the past 17 years.
What makes a person decide they want to open a coffee shop? Wendy told me that she always did a lot for herself as an only child, like cooking and pretending she had her own restaurant. I guess you could say it was destined to be! When she lived in San Francisco, she worked in a gourmet candy and coffee shop where she learned how to roast coffee on a fluid bed roaster, the same kind that’s used at Molten Java. That's right folks- Molten Java roasts their own beans which you can purchase by the bag to brew at home or gift to friends! Molten Java works with their distributor to choose which beans are best for their blends during each season. They are typically organic and fair trade.
When asked what the 'perks' were about owning a coffee shop, Wendy shared her passion for her work and community. She told me that the main reason she wanted to open a coffee house is because she loves this town and the people in it. "There is this amazing core in this town that makes it one of the best. It's a very special place as far as community and kindness goes."
Wendy is definitely familiar with the Bethel community; she currently serves as a Deputy Registrar and will soon be upgrading her role, as Bethel’s newly elected Registrar of Voters. She stays very involved in local events like the Bethel Pride Parade and advocates for—not just her business—but all local businesses. During the height of the pandemic, Molten Java prepared and delivered food and coffee to essential frontline workers.
A place like this is not a corporate pop up; it has deep lines and connections to our town. Wendy is known by many as the Unicorn lady and it begs to ask..."How? Why?" The answer is simple: Wendy has no idea! She said, "I think it started out as a sort of a sarcastic response to my grouchy, punk side and a unicorn would be the opposite, all flowery and rainbows and it just stuck. Now I have hundreds of them [unicorns] and I love it!! It's my secret soft side, shhhh don't tell!" Oops!
If you ask me what makes Molten Java unique compared to other coffee places, I could easily tell you that it's not just that it's a hometown staple. It's a destination on its own, with delicious treats, amazing selections of brews, and unique gifts from around the world. The shop has an eclectic, warm, and magical feel and the smell of coffee hugs you like an old friend welcoming you as soon as you walk in. Wendy told me that you're walking into one person's personality and concept (hers!) This isn't a carbon copy brand that we see at every stop light. With a degree in art, she decided to make Molten Java into an installation. "I want people to feel like they are [being] welcomed into a second home. Come in and talk to customers and employees alike and feel like they are old friends!"
Times are very tough but the future of Molten Java is bright. The plan has been to expand to a full breakfast menu with creative breakfast items so you start your day with good coffee and good food. The pandemic might have slowed this evolution down, but it most certainly has not stopped it. I am excited to try it out when the time comes!
The town of Bethel is lucky to have a lot of things; Molten Java is one of them. In a society where drive-through, mass-produced coffee can be purchased, it's easy to grab- and- go and not give a second thought to the fact that the money will go into the pocket of a huge corporation. My challenge to everyone in town is to give it that second thought. When you buy local, you keep the places we love alive and maintain our town’s charm and uniqueness. And nothing is more unique than Molten Java.