During its first year, Cup to Cup Café at 140 Abercorn St. has been serving up something a little different.
You’ll find signs on the tables encouraging you to offer a seat to strangers, local art on the walls, which is displayed at no charge for the artists and a menu that includes a selection of coffee and cascara tonics and sodas alongside traditional drinks — Cascara, which means “husk,” in Spanish, is the dried skins of coffee cherries.
“We’re kind of balancing old world and new world with our menu,” said owner James Spano.
“We have some very traditional drinks and we serve them in more traditional, smaller sizes. If you’re drinking here you’ll drink it out of a real glass or cup.”
Spano has long had a passion for coffee, working in shops in college and interning at a small, family owned coffee shop in Guatemala after graduating. In 2009 he opened his Cup to Cup roasting operation, supplying numerous Savannah coffee spots with their brews before opening his own shop last year.
Along with the refreshing cascara tonics, one of the shop’s most popular drinks is the coffee tonic, which is a blend of chilled espresso and tonic water.
“It’s definitely very different and a very unexpected flavor,” manager Greg Rettig, said of the tonic.
“We’re trying to keep things fresh and change things up,” Spano adds.
Spano holds certifications from the Specialty Coffee Association of America as part of their instructor development program, which allows him to teach the organization’s specialty classes. The café hosts monthly ‘third Thursday’ events on everything from Espresso 101 to brewing tips and tricks.
To celebrate their first year the café will offer week long discounts on bagged coffees and on Saturday the café will offer drink specials and free fresh pastry samples from Gottlieb’s Bakery and Le Café Gourmet from 3 to 6 p.m. And the party will continue that evening at Moon River Brewing Co., where they’ve created two special casks of beer made using Cup to Cup’s coffee and cascara.
“It’s been a roller coaster. We wanted kind of an easy slow start and I think we got that. We had pretty good expectations for the fall, but the hurricane set us back quite a bit… But I think we bounced back pretty well,” Spano said of the shop’s first year.
“… If you come in and sit down we want you to have an enjoyable experience, not just an enjoyable drink… We’re just excited to be here and excited to be doing what we’re doing.”
If you go
What: Cup to Cup’s one year anniversary
Where: 140 Abercorn St.
When: Saturday, May 20 from 3 - 6 p.m.