Monday, January 25, 2016

Kaffetur 25 / Coffee Tour #25: Phoenix Roasters // Coffee That Matters

Some claim that after extended time together, a dog and its owner begin to resemble each other. I have to admit, I've seen photos, and the phenomenon does seem to exist!

But perhaps the same is true in the professional world. I wonder if maybe an entrepreneur or businessperson becomes more like his or her products the longer the two are together.

Case in point: meet Brian Holland, founder, president, and CEO at Phoenix Roasters. It could be merely coincidence. But just a few minutes with Brian, and you'll quickly see the similarities between the man and the coffee his company produces.

Highly caffeinated at all times, or merely abounding with endless energy, Brian rarely sits still. And even when his body slows for a moment, he's at warp-speed in conversation.

But when you spend a few minutes with Brian, you also quickly discover he is a man who is passionate. Passionate about helping those who are struggling or hurting. And passionate about coffee.

And what do you get when you put those passions together? Coffee that matters. It's the theme of Phoenix Roasters, and the heart of what they do.

Phoenix Roasters is a coffee roasting company operating out of Duluth, Georgia, and distributing coffee throughout the United States.

Phoenix's goal is to use the proceeds of their sales to support their community-related operations:

  • Phoenix Roasters operates in connection with Phoenix Community of Atlanta, which includes Sunday morning gatherings and weekday community groups taking place in various suburbs of metro Atlanta. These faith-based groups are designed as a place for encouragement, redemption, and transformation - particularly for people who are struggling or hurting.
  • Phoenix spends time in Central America, building relationships with and training coffee growers in several countries. Through their programs, they are teaching methods for growing and cultivating high-quality coffee beans. And by paying a better-than-fair wage, the growers can also better provide for the needs of their families.
  • Phoenix partners with such groups as the Atlanta Mission and in local prison ministries.
  • The Phoenix team can be found throughout the US serving up #CoffeeThatMatters at national conferences like Catalyst and If: Gathering.

During our recent time in Georgia, our family stopped by Phoenix's roasting facilities a couple of times. Their warehouse space is where all of their roasting, packing, and distribution happens, and also the home to one of their Sunday morning groups.

While there, we indulged in Phoenix's new nitro coffee.

Liquid energy. It's the best way to describe this coffee concoction. A cold-brewed coffee infused with nitrogen and dispensed from a keg, it offers intense flavor and a lightning-fast caffeine jolt.

And now that I'm back in Norway, I think I'm experiencing Phoenix Nitro withdrawal!

What a great concept: Coffee That Matters. As they state on their website, Phoenix is all about "life transformation through the sale of excellent coffee." It's all part of Phoenix's Cycle of Relief program. And it all points back to the legendary bird for whom the company is named, beautiful imagery that speaks to Brian's passion for reaching out to those who are broken up and burned up.

Learn more...
What is #CoffeeThatMatters:
Order coffee from Phoenix:
Phoenix Community Groups:
Contact Brian Holland:

Saturday, January 23, 2016


I tried my best to prepare for it. For everything that was about to happen as we headed to the states. But I knew we could't truly be prepared, that we couldn't totally know what to expect.

And especially when it came to our boys.

They had not been to the states in over three years. Norway has become home, probably more so for them than for us. Daniel has actually lived in our home in Sandefjord longer than he's lived anywhere else in his entire life.

They were super excited about going to America. But we didn't know what it would be like for them. I anticipated a mix of emotions, of highs and lows. And I imagined that even with all the excitement,  at some point they would become homesick.

And as I thought about that a bit more, I realized that homesickness is actually a constant in this life we live.

We have experienced homesickness on a fairly consistent basis since probably 2007.

I remember being incredibly homesick our first time in Ukraine. It was our first time in a non-English speaking country. The availability of internet, even 8 years ago, just wasn't what it was now. There were so many unknowns and so much uncertainty around us (plus, we were about to become parents for the first time - yikes!).

And yet, when we arrived home with our first son a month later, we found ourselves feeling a bit homesick for Ukraine. Sounds weird, but it is true.

It happened again in 2010 when we adopted our second child. Homesick for America, then homesick for Ukraine.

We experienced it when we lived in Canada. And at that point, I started realizing that the homesickness we are experiencing is not necessarily about a place. It is more about family, friends, and familiarity.

We felt it it when we first moved here to Norway and made it through that initial 'honeymoon' phase.

And while I love our city and friends and life in Norway, we still experience it.

It seems there is always a lingering homesickness in me. It is there regardless of where I am.

After three years living outside of my home culture, I've come to realize that I might never feel totally at home again. There will always be something I miss from one of my homes.

It's one of those things you learn to live with, that you accept as a part of this cross-culture lifestyle.

And I also see now that it doesn't necessarily have to be a negative thing.

Instead, I consider it a reminder of the opportunities we've had in life, the people and places who've impacted and changed us, and the memories of the family, the friends, and the familiar.

So thanks to so many of you for making us feel at home in so many different places.

For making us feel homesick.

And for keeping up with us, through the crazy times, the boring times, and everything in between.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Yes, we are still here!

Our two months in America flew by, and this past Saturday we returned home to Norway. I'd hoped to blog more while in the states, but we were extremely busy and it just simply did not happen.

We do, however, have several things we'll share in the coming weeks.

The Coffee Tour will kick off again this Monday, with a visit to a coffee roasting company in Duluth, Georgia.

And we'll share a bit about what we did and what it was like being back after a few years away.

Hope you all had a great Christmas, and here's to a fantastic 2016!