More than a year after opening Litugry Beverage Company, Tim and TiLissa Jones can finally welcome dine-in guests to their café. It was a long time coming. It’s been over two years since we published this interview, when Liturgy was a pop up kiosk in a YMCA waiting for their space at the Durham Food Hall to be ready. Construction delays bled into a statewide lockdown, forcing Liturgy to navigate a pandemic in addition to new business struggles.
But they soldiered through and when I visited their café earlier this month, things were humming.
The coffee selection at Liturgy is a thoughtfully curated selection from different roasters around the country. When I visited, Liturgy was serving single origin cofffees from Little Wolf Coffee in Ipswich, MA and Methodical Coffee in Greenville, SC. Single origin coffees are available as filter coffee– brewed by the cup with a Curtis Gold Cup — or espresso, pulled as an EK shot. I enjoyed a shot of La Esperanza, Colombia roasted by Little Wolf. This honey-process coffee (rare in Colombia), was bright and tart, reminiscent of raspberries.
If you’re ordering drip or a cappuccino, you can expect Liturgy’s house blend: an all-Ethiopia combination of washed and natural process coffees roasted by nearby Black & White Coffee Roasters. I’ve been brewing this “Work of the People” blend at home and have been thoroughly impressed. It’s sweet and fruit-forward but still has the bigger body one wants from a house blend.
I can’t pretend to write an unbiased review of Liturgy. Tim is an old friend from our barista competition days and I’m thankful our friendship extends beyond coffee. Nevertheless, I’m pretty sure the work Tim has put into Liturgy speaks for itself. The details go beyond a well-executed coffee program. I was impressed Liturgy took the bold step of not accepting tips. American cafés have long depended upon customer generosity to subsidize wages, but a growing number of cafés are recognizing the inequalities that are built into the system.
For many of us, going to coffee shops again still feels a little strange and even uncomfortable. My visit to Liturgy Beverage Company reminded me how much I’ve missed sitting in a coffee shop, chatting with a barista, and drinking a coffee I didn’t make myself. It’s one ritual I’m happy to have back in my life.