AUSTIN — Coffee serves many benefits. It wakes people up, tastes good, and it can also help people with special needs.

That's the idea behind Empowered Coffee, nestled inside Crossfit Central at 410 Pressler Street in downtown Austin. It was founded almost two months ago, with the hopes of giving people who are intellectually disadvantaged a place where they can learn certain life skills, while gaining employment.

General manager Whitley Priddy said people with intellectual disabilities tend to be at a loss after high school because there aren't enough resources to help them gain the skills they need for everyday life. At the coffee shop, they learn how to communicate with each other, the customer, how to budget and how to run a business.

The cafe functions like any other shop; it sells coffee, pastries, coffee beans and cater. However, they don't accept tips, but instead, take donations for Austin organizations that support people with special needs, including Special Olympics of Central Texas.