Beyond the Beans: Looking Yonder with Belle Cagas of Yonder Coffee

We had the pleasure of sitting down with a good friend of ours, Belle Cagas, owner of Yonder Coffee, a specialty coffee bar for events. She delved into the why of her business, as well as, spoke candidly with us about the spiritual journey that she’s been through with her business. Read on to learn more about Yonder Coffee and what it means to go beyond coffee, according to Belle.

When the roll is called up yonder,
When the roll is called up yonder,
When the roll is called up yonder,
When the roll is called up yonder

I’ll be there.

Belle Cagas, owner of Yonder Coffee, grew up singing this and other hymns during family devotionals with her grandparents. So when it came time to decide on a name for her specialty coffee catering business, “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder” echoed in her head.

“It talks about yonder meaning heaven. It’s beyond what this world is…over yonder. I didn’t want it to be centered around a person, I wanted it to be centered around the whole idea of it, which was to go beyond coffee and not just the drink, so that’s exactly what that is.”

Beyond coffee is exactly how Belle lives her life, too. Her coffee journey started off in college, although she wasn’t really into coffee at first. She slowly became interested in Peet’s Coffee, a trailblazer of third wave coffee. After her first cup, she continued to drink cups and cups to survive – something college kids everywhere can totally relate to, especially around finals time.

After awhile, it kind of became a joke amongst friends and someone even bought her a Mr. Coffee espresso machine, which prompted her to name her business “Bellespresso.”

Years later, she started wondering if she wanted to turn her fun hobby into a real coffee business in the future. It wasn’t too far-fetched since it was something that she had thought about when she was in high school, too, as she either wanted to have a coffee shop or a juice bar.

Even though, in her eyes, Bellespresso was a joke at the time, she created an Instagram and started posting pictures, still not thinking much of it. Eventually, it was time for her to get serious about an actual business in what she describes as, “a very spiritual journey.”

“So, I’m full-time ministry so for me, it was like ‘I can’t do that. There are just too many things going on.’”

Before that, she was a full-time music teacher, but quit because she felt lead to do ministry full-time. Anyone who’s ever been in ministry knows that it’s a very rewarding job, though it isn’t a moneymaking one. It’s a life-saving one.

So, as she thought more and more about her next steps, she turned to God and started praying to Him about turning her love for coffee into a full-blown business and long story short, God said no.

“I was crushed. Everything was all written out…I had all these things and it was just flat out no, at least for me. And even though everybody’s excited…it didn’t make sense, but at the same time I was like, “Alright, I’m just going to go for it!”

And Belle went for it.

On Mother’s Day three years ago, she decided that she was still going to buy her own stuff and upgraded her entire home coffee bar. Fast forward to August, she still didn’t have any business in mind and had accepted God’s answer to her prayers.

Then, her aunt asked if she would be willing to serve coffee at her birthday party and Belle thought, why not? She recruited her friend Marvin, Yonder Coffee‘s official first employee.

I was like, ‘Hey, you look like you could make some coffee. Come and help me out!’

That event reignited the fire, but this time Belle thought to herself, “This is SO doable!” She figured that with a catering coffee business, she was able to have the flexibility of still doing full-time ministry.

She began praying about it again and this time, God used the same verses He had originally used to say no to her, however, this time He said yes.

As crazy as it seems, Belle was excited.

“It was a redirection of my thinking, not necessarily how I thought it would be. I never thought of a coffee catering business, that’s far from reality for me. I expected this [we’re sitting in Kindness & Mischief during the interview]. I had in mind, the equipment and all this stuff. So, I know that it just couldn’t be anything that I just came up with [myself].”

The beauty of Yonder Coffee is two-fold for Belle. The first meaning is the refrain from “When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder.” She created her logo based off of the imagery she saw in her head as she sang it aloud.

…His chosen ones shall gather to their home beyond the skies, and the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.

A beautiful reminder of our true home, just over yonder.

“It talks about the mountains, which is why the logo has mountains. It talks about Zion, which represents heaven, so it’s the whole thing.”

Interestingly, and unbeknownst to Belle at the time, Yonder Coffee has a double meaning. You see, when you think of the word yonder and look at the mountains behind the logo, you think of the outdoors, nature, hiking, etc. This is what Belle finds so funny because at the conception of Yonder Coffee, she wasn’t so much into hiking and only since last year has it become one of her favorite pastimes. She even hiked a trail on Mt. Shasta this past March and enjoys indoor rock climbing (yes, she literally rocks) in her spare time!

As far as her goals for Yonder Coffee go, she is on a three-year plan, which she explains as the first year being where she got her feet wet, the second year (this year) is all about preparation for the third year, and the third year is setting up a location.

As she describes to us how she envisions her shop, her face lights up (and it’s not the almond milk cortado that she was sipping on, either)! She explains that she wants it to be more centered on events and people who can use the space for whatever they want.

“For me, as a youth worker, I want it to be a space where people can hang out, do bible studies, church even – like if you’re church planting, here’s a space for you. That’s how I envisioned it.”

Although a physical location is still in the works, Yonder Coffee is already making a name for itself within the coffee community with Belle using beans from respected local roaster Bar Nine, Proyecto Diaz out of Oakland and Bespoken Coffee Roasters, out of Corvallis, Oregon.

She enjoyed having a few different roasters for her events, but after awhile decided that it would be ideal to have a signature Yonder blend. Enter: the power of Instagram.

Belle went about asking different people to help with roasting her own blend, but it didn’t seem to be working out for various reasons. Since she loved Bespoken Coffee Roasters’ beans so much, she decided to message them on Instagram and ask, even though she felt like it was a long shot because of the distance between them.

Instead, she got a reply back the next day from Ann and Collin Schneider, the owners of Bespoken Coffee Roasters. After she got the ball rolling, everything flowed really easily and from that she continued the relationship with BCR, as well as, created her own signature Yonder blend that she now uses at all of her events.

I’m going to keep doing that because it’s cool to have it exclusive for catering and events.”

To hear her talk about her dreams and all the little details of Yonder Coffee is quite amazing. Her love for helping people and finding the beauty in nature go hand-in-hand with her vision for Yonder‘s space.

 What motivates her the most and allows her to keep going is seeing others that are growing in that area, as well. She says that getting “excited about things that haven’t been done and [my own shop] helps keep me motivated.”

But, that’s just the surface motivation. The deeper motivation, and one of the many reasons why we love Belle, is the why – why is she even doing it. Knowing the heart behind why she started Yonder Coffee is what motivates her even further.

Thinking about the purpose of that, the whole vision of being a place for people to meet, especially on the spiritual side. I’m more in fear, of reverence fear, to not fulfill what God wants to do through that, than it is to just have something. I just need to obey. It’s what pushes me the most…that you’re the only one who can do this.”

She goes even deeper and explains that we’re all assigned that specific purpose and if we don’t do it, it’s not as though God won’t be able to do it through someone else, but we’ll miss out on something really special. Simply put, “you miss out on what He could have done through you.”

You see what we mean? Belle encompasses what it means to be a Christian. She lives with purpose and she goes boldly in her walk with God, without ever seeming to compromise her relationship with Him for the sake of her business. Instead, she realizes that Yonder Coffee an extension of her faith, a step towards what God wants her to do and the people He wants her to reach.

Coffee is an avenue for God to use people and get people together and when I think about it, it’s yonder. It’s BEYOND coffee. It’s not just coffee, it’s YONDER coffee, the one after that.”

 

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If you would like to book Yonder Coffee for your next event, please feel free to reach out to Belle here or here for any questions and to check availability! We can honestly say that you’ll be in good hands with Belle and her fun crew!

 

5 thoughts on “Beyond the Beans: Looking Yonder with Belle Cagas of Yonder Coffee

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