PROVO, Utah — A new business has been picking up steam with an unlikely product it hopes will convert more than a few faithful of the local predominant religion.
Just blocks south of Brigham Young University, Latter-Day Café, located at 495 East and 600 North, serves up hot and cold coffee-flavored drinks that aren’t quite as they taste.
“It’s not coffee,” readily admits owner Michael Draper. “It’s an all-natural coffee substitute.”
Draper said the drinks are made with Capomo, also known as Maya nut.
While Capomo is caffeine-free, customers have the choice of whether or not to add caffeine to their creations.
“It’s full of nutrients — it’s full of potassium, calcium, magnesium, folate,” Draper said.
Consumption of coffee and tea have been against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Word of Wisdom.
Draper said he converted to the Church as a teenager and gave up coffee entirely at the time.
“(It) was hard because I was drinking 3, 4, maybe 5 caramel frappuccinos a week,” said Draper, now 27.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Draper said he was involved in real estate in Pennsylvania.
“When the eviction freeze happened, half of my tenants just stopped paying rent overnight because there was nothing I could do about it,” he said.
Draper said he returned to a personal passion — developing what he describes as “the best fake coffee in the world.”
On Sept. 1, Latter-Day Café opened its doors in Provo.
On Latter-Day Café’s website, the business says the product “exists to give guilt-free satisfaction to the coffee cravings of both the millions of Restored Church Members whose spiritual and health standards prevent them from freely enjoying coffee, and to the millions more who love the taste of coffee but are uncomfortable with the severe damage that coffee farming does to the most delicate eco systems on the earth.”
Draper said he is looking around the community for partners to help the fledgling business expand to new locations across the Wasatch Front.
In the meantime, he said business has ranged from steady to busy at his first location and he hopes that will continue.
“It’s a healthier coffee alternative, it’s more environmentally friendly than coffee,” Draper said. “The word is spreading. You invent a better coffee and the world will beat a path to your door.”
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