These Blue Valley students are set to unveil their own java line with help of well-known KC coffee shop

A collaboration between the Blue Valley School District’s Center for Advanced Professional Studies, or CAPS, and a Kansas City coffee roaster is brewing up something unique.

Later this week, the Blue Valley CAPS programThou Mayest Coffee Roasters and Global Collaborative Exchange will debut their collaborative coffee line of products, Unwired Coffee.

A launch party for the brand will start at 10 a.m. on Thursday at Thou Mayest Coffee Roasters, 3331 Terrace St., in Kansas City, Missouri.

The project began with a father and son

Led by Auri Kyeni Ngui, a special education student at Blue Valley West High, with the help of his father, John Musau, founder and CEO of the Overland Park-based consulting firm GCE, the project is a tribute to their international roots.

“We’re originally from Kenya. One summer, we decided to go to Kenya and take [Auri] there,” Musau said. “My parents grow coffee. They have a coffee plantation. I thought, ‘Man, it would be such a great idea to have a project for him because he’s about to graduate high school … Something that he can be proud of.’”

Working with CAPS, which aims to give students a head start in gaining hands-on experience in professional fields like engineering and filmmaking, Musau saw potential in helping make the vision for Unwired Coffee a reality.

Because Auri is on the autism spectrum, he communicates with people in different ways, whether it’s through Musau or creating art. Recently, he showed an interest in coffee, particularly because — much like the medication he takes — it’s a stimulant, which helps him focus, Musau said. Auri also likes serving teachers coffee at Blue Valley West.

Connecting coffee with Ngui’s special needs gives Unwired Coffee a unique story, Musau said.

“Coffee’s something that’s really affected his life,” he said. “With this, we could tell a story, and then hopefully launch a project that could help him, but also help others down the road.”

Auri Ngui


The team has been working since the fall

With the project’s vision in mind, Musau and the CAPS program put together a team of instructors and students to help brainstorm and get the idea off the ground.

That team includes Blue Valley CAPS instructors Todd Campbell and Alison Crane, students Bennett Palmer, Janelle Green and Milo Hazelitt, as well as Bo Nelson, owner of Thou Mayest Coffee Roasters.

Since the fall, the team has been focused on the project, from choosing the right Kenyan-produced coffee beans to creating a logo and packaging to documenting the process so they can tell Ngui’s story.

“It’s been great figuring out the color palette first and the pattern and the font and the design and everything … making sure everything fits on there and works to be printed,” Hazelitt, who specializes in graphic design at Blue Valley CAPS, said. “It’s been a lot of fun and I’m really proud of it.”

The project involves a real business

For the CAPS students, the project is the first one that involves a product that will be sold in stores and online.

Along with Musau’s entrepreneurial background, they enlisted Thou Mayest’s Nelson to help choose the right coffee beans and distribute the product.

Having launched Thou Mayest Coffee Roasters in 2010, Nelson watched it grow to three locations in the Kansas City area. During that time, he said he wanted to use its success to inspire others.

“This has always been kind of a dream of mine,” Nelson said. “Yeah, a business has to make money, but also a business should be — and capitalism, in general — should be about giving back and finding ways to connect with the next generation.”

Having a younger brother with special needs, Nelson said he has a heart for people that have different ways of communicating with others. Working with Ngui, he said he hopes it opens up more doors for people on the autism spectrum to find employment.

“It was like, ‘Let’s find a way to get him paid through this,’ to actually create some avenues for autistic people,” he said.

A documentary about the product will debut Thursday

At the product’s official launch this Thursday, the team will also debut a short film by two other Blue Valley CAPS students, Palmer and Green, that aims to capture the creation of Unwired Coffee.

Both said it was an honor to be a part of the process.

“It’s been a great way to hone our skills and to work with a real company who’s got a great vision and great product,” Palmer said.

Green added, “It’s been great just being a part of this journey, like the story and the process and what (Auri’s) dreams are, what his goals are and just being able to assist — it’s just been awesome to be part of that.”

The whole team is excited for people to take in the story of Unwired Coffee, as well as a new cup of joe.

“It’s the best,” Ngui said.

After Thursday, Unwired Coffee will be available at Thou Mayest Coffee Roasters’ three metro locations, including at Café Equinox inside Family Tree Nursery in Shawnee, and at

The original article published by Johnson County Post can be found here.