This past school year, four Nyack College roommates opened a coffee shop on campus. Cultivate Coffee founders Wiktor Lasota and Benjamin Tse, business majors, and Peter Nehlsen and Joseph Girard, intercultural studies majors, have created a global community and personal experience for students.
Following Nyack College’s mission as an intentionally diverse school with global perspectives, Cultivate Coffee is a people and culture focused coffee shop. Students try free and direct trade coffees and teas from various countries, form friendships with students from different cultures, and connect with their own culture.
When choosing a name for their coffee shop, Tse says, “We were conscious about the word cultivate. It’s like cultivating a plan, relationships, and as a community – growing and nurturing it.”
Cultivate Coffee has hosted Global Grounds, sponsored by the International Student Union, with nights of free coffee, snacks, and board games. In a comfortable atmosphere, students engage in fellowship, developing and deepening their friendships.
Girard says: “We want to cultivate an apparent community… There is an ‘l’, ‘i’, ‘v’, ‘e’ all in Cultivate, and we just want to live our lives to the fullest and to encourage others.”
As a Christ-centered business, Cultivate Coffee is a place on campus where students grow in their personal and spiritual journeys.
“…coffee shops are a good place to grow. Jesus did life with his disciples and just talked and listened to people,” says Nehlsen.
Nehlsen’s future plans are to become a missionary and open his own coffee shop.
Nehlsen says: “It gives me a small idea of what my passion is. … What’s the point of being a missionary if I can’t do it at my own home? It’s been really cool to see the impact and the fruit.”
Cultivate Coffee hopes to make an impact in students’ lives, and before work each day, the team prays for God to work through them.
Girard says: “Because of the love God has put inside me, I can wake up early and go with those guys and put the work in. … I’ve already seen it help develop a community at Nyack.”
Lasota hopes that the longer the coffee shop operates and serves the campus as a business from students to students, it will become the campus’ new hang out location.
“Coffee is like a conversation – you go and get coffee,” says Lasota.
From first crafting a plan to finally seeing their vision become a reality, the team at Cultivate Coffee has developed an apparent community on campus, as well as become a tool for personal transformation.