The Strongest Coffee In The World

I found a coffee that can reduce stress and anxiety, mentally transport you and even make a grown man teary.  Are these magic beans?  Close.  It’s Green Beans Cup of Joe for a Joe.  This is a cup of coffee you buy for a soldier who is deployed. You send a personal message with it and it’s like eight ounces of ‘liquid home” for the troop receiving it.  Oh, and it’s easy to do and costs $2.

I want to share some of the ones I’ve done and a few troop responses.  I also want to warn you about my Christmis-hap (that’s short for my mishap over Christmas).

But first, how it works…

Green Beans Company has cafes in many of the bases where our deployed troops are. Servicemen and women sign up for Cup of Joe (COJ).  Then strangers (you and me) go to the COJ site where we can buy our troops a cup of coffee.  Each cup is $2 and you can even buy just one.  You send a personal message with it.  Most of the time they write back a thank-you note.  There’s also the option to be pen pals if both sides wish to.

Dear soldier

They’re not all soldiers but “Dear Soldier, Marine, Sailor or Airman” sounds a little impersonal.  I write “Dear Soldier” and if they’re not, they’ll let me know.  Also, the Army is the largest branch so the math is on my side. The note you send goes out to however many troops you bought coffee for.  If you become pen pals, that’s one-on-one.

You can write something short.  Don’t be thrown that I sometimes go long. I also vary the tone and subject.  I think all that counts here is sincerity.   Even saying hello and wishing someone well has great value.  Imagine coming off a 14-hour day in a combat zone.  The closest thing to home is this café.  You stop to have a break and someone you don’t even know cared enough to say a few encouraging words and “PS- coffee’s on me.”  These are the kinds of things that impact morale and reduce stress.  And we have the power to make that impact from our living room.

I said/ they said – dinosaurs

Dear Soldier,  My little girl Sofia taught me something you may find useful in your work. It’s the reason why dinosaurs are extinct.  SOFIA:  A giant astronaut fell from space and made a big crater in the earth and made the dinosaurs extinct.  ME:  Do you think maybe that was a giant asteroid and not a giant astronaut?  SOFIA:  No. —-There you have it.  At any moment an exceptionally large NASA employee could come barreling out of the sky butt-first.  So be sure to look up now and then…Also, I want to thank you for all you do. Thank you for letting me have dino stories and more in safety and freedom. Take care, Gina

-Ms. Gina, Thanks so very much for the coffee.. and for sharing Sofia’s story about the falling astronaut!!  Both brightened my day and brought a smile to my face. The story made me think of my young daughter and of the unpredictable things that come from the mouths of babes.  And by the way– I’m an Air Traffic Controller here in Iraq, so if we pick up any falling NASA employees on the radar scope, I’ll be sure to let you know! With sincere thanks, __________ SSgt, USAF

-Gina; Thanks for making me smile 🙂 Sofia sounds a lot like my little girl from a few years ago; she turns 9 in two weeks and this is the first time in her life I will miss her birthday. Don’t ever think that it doesn’t mean a lot to have people you don’t know thank you for what you are doing … it means the world. Regards, LTC _______________

I said/ they said – Christmas

Dear Soldier,  A cup of coffee is pretty small to be a present.  So what I really want to give you for Christmas is the certainty that you are not forgotten.  And to know how grateful I am for your service. I’m from NYC and whether my day is crazy good or bad, I get to live it in peace. Your hard work and sacrifice gives me that gift.  Thank you for all you do. I wish you a merry, happy and safe holiday. Gina

-Thank you Gina. I received your coffee on Christmas Eve.  We were all having a pretty tough day here but finding your note with the coffee was sweet.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  Thank you, _______

-Thank you so much Gina. It is Christmas Eve and guess what?  You are the first person to give me a present 🙂  And a cup of coffee is NOT too small to be a present.  It is just fine. My name is SFC _____ and I’ve been in Afghanistan for almost 7 months. I have seen some things I hope to forget but I have some things I hope I never forget.  As it is Christmas Eve I am just trying to be thankful to have a place like the U.S. to go back to with nice people like you who care enough to give me a cup of coffee. 🙂 Thanks again, _______


Between sending care packages to my adopted soldier and handling presents at home, I was having some holiday mailing stress.  That’s when I found COJ.  No boxes, no post office…just a few clicks.  It was so easy that I bought a lot of coffee that day.  When I got to the part about pen pals, I checked “yes.” I figured what are the chances that all these troops are going to want to be pen pals?  I learned that at Christmas, when everyone is missing home very much, those chances are 98%.  The rest of the time, it’s only a few troops that want to write.  But after Christmis-hap, I don’t put a giant order in all at once.  I spread it out.

With some troops, you just exchange a few emails.  Some write the entire time they’re deployed.  There are a few I’ve kept in touch with after they’ve gotten home.  One is a solider who taught me one of the most important things I learned in this journey.  That story is for next time.  But for right now, may I suggest a cup of coffee?   I know where you can get some powerful stuff.

© Gina left the mall, 2012

29 thoughts on “The Strongest Coffee In The World

  1. Gina, you and Sofia are such incredible people! Because of you I have adopted a soldier and now sent and will continue to send a Cup of Joe. Thank you for reminding all of us what it means to be an American citizen who cares.

    • Hi Ginger Button, my name is Kyndal. I am a big fan and a big supporter and prayer warrior of the troops!! Hey Ginger, I saw where you said that you adopted a soldier. It sure is so near when you get to adopt a soldier! 🙂 Hey Ginger, hope you won’t mind if I ask you this. Sometime if you get to email your adopted soldier, will you tell them that I say “Thank You” to them for their wonderful service to our country!!! And that they have my total support and my prayers too.

  2. Wow, Ginger that’s awesome!! I’m absolutely thrilled that you were inspired to take action. And thank you for the kind words. I agree Sofia is incredible. Me, I’m not so sure 🙂 But that’s a big yes on the caring. And after all I learned from my troops and their families, they deserve nothing less.

    • Hi Dena, if you click on the Ways To Make A Difference page, you can find links and info for Adopt A US Soldier and Soldiers’ Angels. Both are good groups and they do adoptions.

  3. I’ve been donating every month for almost a year. It is very satisfying to know that we are putting smiles on the faces of the very people that protects us. Keep spreading the word. 🙂

    • Hi,that’s wonderful! There are a few sites. The ones I have experience with are Adopt A US Soldier and Soldiers’ Angels. If you click on the Ways To Make A Difference page, I have info and links there.

    • Thank you Haley. The soldiers write back via email. Once in a while I get regular letters but mostly its email. Of course, their internet access varies depending where they are located and what they’re doing.

  4. I’ve been a Joe sender regularly for over a year now. I love the short, heartwarming notes the folks in uniform send back. A cuppa’s a little thing, but it’s that lil reassurance that someone cares about them. Judith

  5. We’ve been doing Cup of Joe for a Joe at our Harley-Davidson dealership for a few years now. It is SO wonderful to get those letters back. I share them online, and hang them up around our customer coffeepot to inspire people to drop something in the Cup of Joe bucket, then we send the coffee in batches. Our HOGs have really taken the cause to heart, and take up collections at their meetings. If anyone wants to see a few more examples of letters, you can visit the Cup of Joe section of our website: We’ll keep sending coffees as long as they’re still out there to receive them. We are also trying to get my kids’ elementary school into the gig, because I think it would be great for them to get letters back via email. Great write-up – great to see the word getting out about the Cup of Joe program! Thank you!

    • Michelle, what you guys are doing is fantastic! In my volunteer work I’ve often found that it’s not that people don’t care….it’s that they are unaware of what our troops go through, what they need and truly deserve. Once people know, they often want to help but have no idea how. You are enabling so many people in your community to connect to our troops and make a difference. And I love that it’s as simple as posting it around the coffee pot.

      I hope you do get the kids involved. I once did a class project for my adopted soldier with Sofia’s class and they got a lot out of it. Of course, I had a little mishap with that too…lol. But that’s a post for another day 🙂

  6. I love doing COJ! I think it is a GREAT program and I love being able to write letters to the people that are away from home, just to let them know that we are here, thinking about them. I try to write something BESIDES thank you for doing what you do. Yesterday, my dog wrote the letter! Yup, you read it right, my dog. I have done that before and gotten lots of great messages back. My cats also will write too! I will write crazy letters about playing poker and that it’s their turn to anti up their cheerios or some such nonsense as that. Just anything to make someone smile. Who knows. It could be the only smile they had that whole day. I would like to think that I am the reason for that smile.

    Cup of Joe and me! Bringing smiles one cup at a time!

    We can all do this together!


    • Lol….I think your dog is amazing! I’m glad the cats get in on the action too. I’m sure there are days when it is the only smile. You are certainly the reason and that’s a wonderful thing. And I totally agree that we can all do this together. No troop should ever feel forgotten or be without support.

  7. I sent a COJ a year ago and out of that I have become friends wit one of the soldiers I bought coffee for! it’s an awesome feeling being able to say “thank you” to those who sacrifice their lives for us…I loved your stories..thank you for sharing!

    • It is an awesome feeling. I’m glad you’ve had such a positive experience too! And I’m glad you like the stories. When I have shared them in person, people often begin caring about troops and sometimes take action. I started this blog hoping to widen the impact.

  8. I want to thank you for sharing the COJ stories. I’m the mother of soldier who is a receiver of these gifts. He’s become a huge coffee drinker since he’s been in service so this is the best gift he can get while deployed. He’s also given his gift cards to other soldiers with the stipulation that they occasionnaly bring him one too. 🙂 So from a mother, I want to say thank you for remembering our military in, what seems like, such a small way. But when people stop long enough to buy a COJ for a soldier it’s saying to them that they are being thought of and it means the world to us! Thank you all who are doing this for them. God Bless you!!

    • Hi Joy, my name is Kyndal. I am a big fan and a big supporter and prayer warrior of the troops!! Hey Joy, I saw where you said that you are the mother of a soldier, hey Joy hope you won’t mind if I ask you this, sometime when you get to talk to your son, will you tell him that I say “Thank You” to him for his wonderful service to our country, and that he has my total support and my prayers.

  9. Joy, I got a little teary reading your note. I’m a mom too and even though Sofia is little, I know how I feel when someone shows her kindness. I can only imagine what it would mean if my child was deployed. I am thrilled that COJ made it possible for us to do this small but big thing:) Please tell your son that I thank him for his service. I know that families also serve in so many ways… so I thank you and your family as well.

  10. Hi Gina! I’m a girl from Sweden and I just got really inspired with what you do. So I decided to send some coffee to your brave soldiers, because it feels like sometimes they’re not just protecting the lives of America, but all of us. Thank you for a fantastic blog!

  11. Pingback: The Strongest Coffee In The World « learningfordevelopment

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