COVID-SAFE Church: How can we now serve refreshments whilst socially distancing at church?

Updated: Sep 1, 2020

There's so much to think about with COVID-19, but we're here to help you enjoy cheaper coffee and get things restarting in your church. There is currently a sale on for Hero coffee, so grab yours at DC's online homepage here.

Many of us are getting ready to open our church doors again and it's really exciting to start thinking about how we can serve refreshments again (safely) in our churches. We were having the same thoughts. So we've tackled some of the big questions to help you prepare to serve great coffee... socially distanced and safely!

There's probably some of us (and with good reason) that are a little apprehensive about meeting together again in our church congregations and drinking coffee. But fear not! I think it is perfectly possible that when we meet again we can enjoy some great coffee as we catch up up after several months of being apart.

We've put together a handy guide with some prompts to help you get your church going again, and of course a big part of that is how we offer hospitality to one another. You can read the full guide here.

So now we're going to focus on the refreshing stuff to help you think about ways you can serve coffee in your church again whilst socially distancing. We've been reflecting on some of the things we have thought about when serving coffee at church and the questions we had.

  1. How can I serve coffee in my church?

  2. Should I serve filter coffee in my church again?

  3. How can we use church coffee pots whilst socially distancing?

  4. What's the cheapest way to serve coffee in church?

Why serve fresh coffee at church now

It's increasingly important that our "welcome back" is really genuine and really evident. Sure, we will want to catch up with our actually friends, but as someone who is probably responsible for the refreshments in your church (one way or another) you'll know that genuine hospitality needs to come from a place of love.

With so much stress, worry and anxiety within our communities, our churches will be great places to help new people feel welcome and old friends returning.

These are important times, our churches important places to re-connect.

So our number one tip is: remember to keep love your prize, goal and mission. In how we serve and be together again, let's make sure we're loving everyone we see. Serving fairtrade filter coffee in church is of course a great way to do that!

One-anothering and making people feel welcome is a biblical expression of service and care of others, it's a great way to show Jesus to everyone we come in contact with. It's also crucial more now than ever that our ability to connect and demonstrate love and servantship to other is modelled in our churches.

Basically: serving coffee is really important to help model a lot of what Jesus said we should do! It's also pretty tasty and enjoyable. It's also a really low risk way of showing someone you care and creating a moment of connection - this invites people to feel valued and loved.

Grab a huge 3kg box of 60g sachets (x50) for only £33.99 (usually £39.99), so snap up a bargain here whilst stocks last!

How you can serve ethical coffee for less.

Distribution Coffee supply a range of Fairtrade coffee and Rainforest alliance tea blends for churches. What's different about this church coffee supplier is that they only roast premium blends (no economy blends like others thankfully!). So we like the fact that you can enjoy premium ethical coffee in church for the price of the cheaper stuff!

This is really important in the new season of social distancing in our churches.

One easy way to serve incredible coffee is not only to use a quality supplier, but also one that understands how churches work in light of social distancing because they understand churches. Distribution Coffee have designed their coffee blends for churches so that they are simple and low cost solutions to the fresh coffee dilema!

  1. Choose a supplier who really understands churches. Distribution Coffee are Christians from local church backgrounds.

  2. Establish what affordable equipment you need and your supplier. Distribution Coffee have several ways to support churches from pointing them in the right direction to direct supply of brand new and secondhand machines.

  3. Choose a coffee blends that's likely to work for your church. Give it a go, making sure it's easy to prepare, tastes delicious and is low cost. Distribution Coffee have just the range for every type of church.

Serving coffee needs to change

We can all appreciate that things have changed everywhere, so now we're thinking about our church coffee situation lets address a few key things most of us will need to consider.


How will you manage your congregation now we need to each have a little more personal space? If you're is a large church, maybe consider ropes and barriers to help people understand where you'd like them to stand. We can't overstate this: make it obvious!

Perhaps if you have the ability (and the weather allows!), why not offer your fresh church coffee from an outside station, kiosk or even just a table? As government advice states, keeping it outside helps reduce virus transmission, so if you can ~ why not!?

Service style

Now that you have worked out how to try and keep people apart (a little!) now you need to work out how you'll actually serve the coffee. Before you might have had thermos pots or pumps which were self service, perhaps now you need to have a re-think. You'll want to avoid different people touching the pump so maybe now it's time to go to an assisted service with your volunteer team doing all the serving. It might take a little more work, but it'll be worth it.

This will help reduce transmission, allow a friendly interaction and keep the queue moving at a good speed.

Your team

The easy bit is your team of volunteers - keep the team small, have kitchen windows open, extractor fans on (if available), space between where they stand, encourage extra hand washing and wear masks (only if relevant and non medical grade).

A key that is always the most obvious (but usually the thing we all often get wrong!) is communication - do communicate a lot with your team, but keep it relevant and concise. One way we use is to...

  1. Write down the key bits of info that everyone on your refreshment team needs to know, regardless of when they are next on the team rota.

  2. Next ask yourself if what your asking is pretty obvious or something unique to your church context.

  3. Communicate the message in 2 ways: First written in advance so that any purchasing or borrowing can be done (Emails/WhatsApp/Texts are all good ways) with as much notice as possible. The second and final way should be less formal (use WhatsApp/Text or verbal) and about 2/3 days before the day. That way you'll remind those that have forgotten and check in with your team.

Hygiene is now really, really important

Not just for the obvious reasons of trying to reduce any sort of virus transmission, but also because people are expecting and desiring to see that we're all doing all we can to stay safe.

Distribution Coffee now stock disposable cups at really good prices so that you can do this easily. Not only does it save time and raise hygiene levels, it also helps reduce energy and water bills, reducing your carbon footprint.

Signage is key

Make things obvious -signs for where to stand, how to queue, 2m distance rules, where the sugar is etc. We all now expect to see more signage and the culture has shifted that now we actually read signs. Before we would just ignore them, now we are all a lot more aware that we need to head their instructions.

Maybe you could also think about having hand gel sanitizer at the entrance to your drinks area so that your congregation can enjoy their filter coffee in church with minimum fuss. There's lots of places online to buy that now, so that's an easy win.

How to serve good coffee at church

Once you have made sure you've chosen an excellent coffee supplier that understands your church such as Distribution Coffee, you can serve coffee with these easy to follow steps:

  1. Buy fresh filter coffee and stock up early on as roasters are about to get very busy as demand surges. Long life and ready portioned filter coffee bags are best for low costs and ease of use.

  2. Only serve high grade premium coffee blends - thankfully Distribution Coffee only serve premium blends, but at economy prices so you can enjoy better coffee for less. They do this because as Christians they want to support local church and offer that bit extra value and help.

  3. Make sure you have the right equipment to brew coffee easily, cheaply and reliably. The fast brew filter coffee machines as pictured here do all those things. They are low cost (from just £99 second hand to £199 new) and can brew lots of coffee on the go. They are also really good for social distancing because your refreshment team can serve your guests and make the next batch on the go.

These machines make serving coffee with social distancing a dream. Here's how they work:

1. You pour fresh water into the jug and pour that into the top of the machine. This is great because it prevents overflow accidents because you have complete control over the liquid that goes in, so you know it'll fit back in!

2. You next empty a 60g bag of the ready portioned fresh filter coffee into the paper filter basket (free papers included with Distribution Coffee), slide the basket back under the water jets and switch it on by pressing the single (fool-proof!) switch.

3. Then just wait 5 minutes and you'll have super fresh coffee for your church to enjoy. It's great! Then once it's brewed your first batch you simply move this to the top warming plate and repeat so that you brew your second pot whilst you use the first.

You can buy Distribution Coffee's leading Hero Filter blend on their website here, and last we looked there was FREE delivery on just one box!

This article was written by James who is passionate about local church and great coffee. You can contact him here.

Distribution Coffee has a great range of filter coffee blends for churches, with their house Blend Hero filter coffee a sure winner for its taste and low cost.

They offer incredibly friendly service and support, plus they only supply higher grade roasts - making them unique! Some other roasters supply economy blends and charge economy prices, but Distribution Coffee are different because they never roast economy blends - but they do charge economy prices!

View their most popular coffee for churches here.

You can also download their info pack here:

Distribution Coffee - Refreshing Church
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