Get Well Soon

By William Harwood / Photography By Morgan Miller | August 04, 2015
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Both locations of The Well have the Wishing Well, a wall adorned with notes from those in need or just thankful.

Seldom does a company's slogan comport better with its actual activities than that of The Well Coffee House: Now. Serving. Those two words – each punctuated by its own period – sum up the store succinctly. The reason? The Well is more than just caffeinated commerce; it is caffeinated community, a welcoming place where it's all about the feedback loop. Or, in The Well's case, the drinkback loop. The non-profit coffee house – two actually, one in Nashville, one in Brentwood – raises funds for clean water projects around the world by pouring world-class coffee into your cup. After The Well's costs are covered, one hundred percent of profits go to support an actual well somewhere else. As The Well's own website reads, the stores "exist to make money for the purpose of giving it away. It is consumption with a purpose."

Photo 1: Take some coffee home from The Well home and pour it over vanilla ice cream for an easy, yet impressive dessert called an Affogato.
Photo 2: Made from Tang, Sprite, espresso and lemonade, try the Betty Rocket at The Well. It may sound odd, but it’s totally refreshing for hot afternoons.

I sit down in the Granny White store, across from the Lipscomb campus, with The Well co-founder Chris Soper to talk about that purpose. It is a comfortable place to do so. The decor, call it rustic chic, is warm and relaxing, with maps of countries and their projects adorning the walls. "We want an environment that is warm and caring," Chris begins. "We want you to fall in love with our coffee, and learn about our passion."

Currently, that passion expresses itself in Project .95, a $38,000 endeavor to make potable water accessible to some 40,000 people living in Tasis, a sprawling slum of Nairobi, Kenya. If you do the math, that accessible clean water works out to about ninety-five cents per person, hence the name of the project. As Chris says on The Well website, "my desire is to show that this life is not about ourselves but something bigger."

The something bigger to which Chris refers is clearly his faith. The Well, while welcoming to all, is unabashedly Christian-based, even holding small, non-denominational services in the Granny White store on Sunday mornings. But that is not to say a more secular spirit would feel out of place here, provided, of course, that person has no problems with direct or fair trade coffee. Currently sixty-percent of The Well's beans comes from such sources, a percentage that Chris says he only wants to increase. And secular or spiritual person alike would enjoy some truly outstanding java. If The Well does one thing really, really well, it's make coffee. From Mayan Mocha to a handcrafted French Press, The Well knows its joe. And word is spreading. Chris is pleased and proud to report that both stores are in the black which means that both stores are also giving out some green for the dream of a better world. The Well Coffee House, consumption with a purpose – I'll drink to that.

The Well Coffee House

4002 Granny White Pk., Nashville TN 37204 | 615-730-5106

690 Old Hickory Blvd, Brentwood, TN 37027 | 615-457-2684


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