What Is The Carmelite Monks Wyoming Scandal?

What Is The Carmelite Monks Wyoming Scandal? May 16, 2023

Mystic Monk Coffee (MMC) is a coffee brand founded in 2007 by the Carmelite Monks in Wyoming, USA. For years the monks relied on the profits they were receiving from the coffee sales to support their monastery and religious activities. The brand gained popularity and it received praises and endorsements from coffee influencers and connoisseurs.

Monk packaging the Mystic Monk coffee

MMC had a strong consumer base for several reasons. Firstly, they provided high quality coffee made from Arabica beans to their consumers. Secondly, the monks had an extensive variety of roasts, blends, and coffee flavours that satisfied the diverse preferences and tastes of the target market. Consumers who purchased the coffee in bulk saved a fortune since the coffee company offered free shipping. Lastly, the most significant benefit was the monastery`s relationship between the coffee brand and its Catholic consumers. For many years, the Carmelite Monks sourced the coffee beans from planters who followed principled and ecological farming practices in South America. The popularity of the coffee ended up putting the monastery under pressure and meeting the demand became a problem.

The Scandals

The Coffee

In 2022, rumours began to circulate about questionable practices at the heart of the Mystic Monk operation. Investigative journalists and industry watchdogs launched in-depth probes into Mystic Monk Coffee’s operations, which uncovered a series of shocking revelations about the company’s practices. According to media reports, a few years ago, the cloister leaders made the contentious decision to supplement, in secret their South American beans with cheaper, lower quality beans from other countries that did not follow the same principled and ecological farming practices followed by the farmers in South America. The investigations made distressing revelations – it was discovered that the labourers involved in the coffee production process were exploited.

It is alleged that Mystic Monks Coffee sourced their beans from farms where workers toiled under inhumane conditions, receiving meagre wages, and lacking basic labour rights. This stark contrast to the company’s claims of fair-trade and ethical sourcing shook consumers to their core. The monks did this with the aim of growing sales while maintaining the same prices consumers were used to paying.

Monks and coffee blending

Another alarming accusation that emerged was the misappropriation of funds meant for the construction of the new monastery. The scandal revealed that a significant portion of the profits generated from coffee sales was diverted to undisclosed accounts and used for personal gains by the higher-ranking members of the monastery. This revelation undermined the trust and goodwill the monks had cultivated with their supporters.


A whistle-blower leaked documents to the press exposing the monastery’s two-tiered sourcing system. When confronted by reporters, nervous leaders at the monastery confirmed the reports were true. They claimed economic pressures had forced them to make compromises, though they acknowledged it was wrong to mislead customers for so long. Many long-time customers said they felt betrayed by the monks whom they had come to trust. According to media reports, sales plummeted and the brand’s once sterling reputation was left in tatters. The monastery leaders apologized and pledged to be fully transparent going forward. However, it may take years to rebuild their tarnished reputation.

The scandal serves as a cautionary tale of the dangers of cutting corners and misleading consumers, even for a religious order. The monks had managed to build a brand around ethical sourcing and sustainability, but that image came crashing down once the truth became known. It became a lesson that even the most well intentioned organizations can stumble when the pressure to cut costs and increase profits grows too strong. The mismanagement of funds raised serious questions about the transparency and accountability of religious organizations, and the importance of greater oversight and regulation.

The Sexual Misconduct Allegations

Monks walking outdoors

Apart from the mismanagement of funds scandal, sexual misconduct allegations were levelled against the Carmelite Monks. In a dossier that he sent to the bishop of Cheyenne, Augustine Inferrera revealed chilling information about things that happened in the monastery away from the public eye. In the executive summary of the report that he (Inferrera) compiled, he wrote:

“Based on my four week experience at the Monastery, I encountered a multitude of troubling issues that affected not only me but also affects the other monks at the Monastery. The majority of these issues are systemic. Some of these issues include assault and battery of a fellow monk, false advertising, deceiving parents and inquiring men, monks stripping themselves naked in front of each other, spiritual direction with a priest in underwear, and many other serious concerns. My family and I suffered a great deal due to the unethical actions of the Monastery and, as is shown by the evidence I provide, I personally think the Monastery needs to be suppressed.”

Damage Control by the Monks

The Carmelite Monks at the centre of the scandal were quick to issue a statement expressing their shock and dismay at the findings. They vowed to take immediate action to rectify the situation and regain the trust of their customers. Mystic Monk Coffee implemented sweeping changes to their sourcing and production processes, becoming more transparent about their operations, working closely with ethical suppliers, and investing in quality control measures to ensure their products met the highest standards.

The Mystic Monk Coffee scandal served as a wake-up call for the entire specialty coffee industry. Brands and consumers alike became more vigilant about the sourcing and production of their favourite brews, demanding greater transparency and accountability from coffee producers. Even the most seemingly ethical brands can falter when the pursuit of profit overshadows their core values. It is a reminder to consumers that they must always be vigilant and do their due diligence when it comes to supporting companies that align with their values.

Overall, the Carmelite Monks have to undergo system changes.

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