Mission meets mocha at A Just Brew Coffee

Christian coffee shop fighting against modern slavery

Setting up shop in the Christian gathering space of Upper House on the UW-Madison campus, A Just Brew reopened Tuesday. Since 2014, AJB has been giving college students a way to feel like they are making a difference, just by grabbing their pick-me-up between classes or before studying in Upper House’s open concept lounge and worship areas.

Founder Dan Mackett was a Badger himself when he founded AJB. In college, he led the campus chapter of International Justice Mission — AJB’s partner organization — throughout his four years on campus.

“During my senior year, I wanted to create a way for students to engage in the work to end slavery in an everyday way, not just an event or two a year,” says Mackett. “With my passion for coffee, hospitality and justice, AJB seemed like the best fit.”

Run by student volunteers, this East Campus Mall coffee shop serves lattes, espresso and other drinks in addition to their fan-favorite ‘Crepe Days’ each Friday. Typical stuffings result in popular crepes like Caprese or Salted Caramel Oreo flavors, while special recipes like their purple yam masterpiece highlight partnerships with specific countries (in this case, the Philippines).

Faith is at the center of AJB’s mission, but their mission of ending modern-day slavery is a nondenominational goal for human rights.

“We desire to be a place where people have open and honest conversations about justice and faith, welcoming people from any background to wrestle with these good and honest conversations,” says Mackett. “There are many injustices in our world that need to be fixed, [but] since we can’t focus on all of them, we believe our partnership with IJM helps students not only engage in this important work but also serves as an entry point for them caring about other justice issues.”

AJB President Corey Pederson can attest to this, as his love for coffee and serving others has since steered him to organization leadership and a commitment to ending human trafficking.

“It is estimated that there are currently 40 million people in slavery today, [and] it may seem like those people are far away and have no connection to us, but the fact is that human trafficking has been reported in every single county in Wisconsin,” says Pederson. “Many of the products we use every day were produced in part using slave labor.”

In order to tackle modern day slavery and human trafficking, though, folks like AJB volunteers will need to continue educating themselves and others in order to hold perpetrators accountable. By funding rescue missions and attempting to strengthen justice systems across the world, the International Justice Mission is doing the physical work that these restless Badgers can’t via their barista skills.

So if you want a cup of joe with an extra pump of philanthropic mission, enjoy a drink from A Just Brew. Due to COVID-19, A Just Brew is not open for walk-ins, it is strictly reservation open. Currently only pour-overs and tea will be offered, and can be ordered through its online ordering platform.