This NJ Cafe Champions Two Causes With Every Brew

by Laura DeSiena
Clean Water Cafe New Jersey

As you take the first sip of your rich, warm espresso on your morning coffee run, do you think about how it can change the world? This unique cafe certainly does. Every fresh, delicious cup of joe poured at the Clean Water Cafe in Parsippany, NJ, allows guests to support two incredible causes impacting the local and global community for good.  

Located inside the non-denominational Christian church Liquid Church’s headquarters, this one-of-a-kind non-profit cafe is proud to employ 16 staff members, including adult men and women with special needs. The NJ cafe provides staff with meaningful employment and valuable skills that will forever impact their lives.

Opened in October 2022, the cafe supplies a wide selection of handcrafted coffees, teas, specialty drinks, breakfast, and Chick-Fil-a partnered lunch items. The cafe aligns with Liquid’s mission to impact the global community through its Clean Water Cause. Additionally, a portion of its coffee sales goes to providing access to clean drinking water for communities in Africa and Central America.

Come For The Caffeine, Stay For The Kindness

When you step through the doors of the Clean Water Cafe, you can expect to be greeted with an infectious smile and an inspiring attitude behind your freshly made brew. “Drink Coffee, Change the World” radiates on a neon sign on the shop’s wall, reminding guests of the impact behind their choice of morning fuel. Employees write uplifting messages on coffee sleeves, reading, “You are worthy” and “You have a purpose” to remind guests of their importance and value. It is hard not to leave without catching their contagious joy and love for the people they serve.     

Clean Water Cafe Parsippany NJ

Photo by Arielle Figueredo

Not only is the experience as a barista, greeter, or cashier enjoyable for employees— it is life-changing. It is difficult for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities such as Autism, Down Syndrome, and ADHD to find employment. They face discrimination and disadvantages in the marketplace that others without them do not encounter. This in return makes it much more challenging for them to find a good-paying job. As a result, they are often without a way to be financially independent. 

The U.S. Department of Labor reports that adults with a disability ages 16-64 have a Labor Force Participation Rate of 38.3 percent. This compares to 77.4 percent of adults of the same age range without disabilities. The employment-population ratio is 35.6% for those with a disability and 75.1% for those without. Additionally, the unemployment rate between both groups is more than double for those with a disability.

Breaking Barriers

The Clean Water Cafe directly challenges these barriers by creating an inclusive, uplifting workplace for special needs adults to find their passion and purpose. Employees are left feeling loved, appreciated, and welcomed by their peers and coworkers, creating a sense of accomplishment and value in their lives. Through employment, they have the opportunity to learn new skills, foster meaningful relationships with others, and thrive in an inclusive, supportive environment.

One of the cashiers at Clean Water, Sydney Larino, describes her experience as a positive and influential one. “I love meeting different people, and I enjoy being challenged,” she explains. “When you are challenged, that makes you work harder. I love everyone I work with; they are so nice and friendly.”     


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Local Coffee, Global Impact

A part of Liquid Church’s vision is to bring clean water to the world. They believe “every person on the planet deserves access to clean drinking water.” To date, they have drilled over 360 clean water wells across nine nations. This has brought clean water to over 130,000 people. At the Clean Water Cafe, the proceeds from each purchase go directly towards buying and installing these essential water wells in vulnerable communities in Africa and Central America. These wells reduce water-borne illnesses, supply clean drinking water, and improve the overall health of the people in these communities. While enjoying your delicious hand-crafted latte, you can be sure it is making a global difference.

If you would like to visit, you can find the cafe open Sunday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Additionally, they are open during Sunday Services at the Liquid Church Broadcast Campus in Parsippany, NJ.

About the Author/s

All posts

Laura DeSiena is a certified Jersey Girl with a passion for music, playing the guitar, and binge-watching 90’s sitcoms. As an aspiring writer and author, she hopes to publish a book someday. When she’s not writing, you can usually find her browsing the shelves of Barnes & Noble in search of her next read.

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1 comment

Rachel June 2, 2023 - 9:53 pm

I love this cafe!!! Such a well done article, definitely gonna visit


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