There’s a new place in town to get your caffeine fix.
Kups Gourmet Coffee opened a few months ago in McDonald’s Square on Fort Street, across from the public library in George Town.
Though it’s a tiny shop, it definitely brews up big, bold flavor. The secret: high-quality, high-altitude, shade-grown specialty coffee from Honduras, a country that has been gaining international accolades for its coffees in recent years.
“It is the best,” says owner Miguel “Mike” Brown, also known as Pepito, who runs the shop with his wife Exie. “It’s grown high in the mountains, which produces a better flavor,” he said.
Kups also serves breakfast and lunch items, highlighted by authentic Spanish fare along with an inviting selection of homemade pastries.
But its coffee is the star attraction, and it is already gaining a loyal following in the short time the shop has been open.
Brown has always been a coffee fan, but became an aficionado after discovering the beans grown in the mountains of Honduras, his homeland. “It became my passion.”
So much so, he recently quit his job as an accountant at PriceWaterhouseCoopers to pursue his new venture.
Brown buys direct from two regions in Honduras, Copan and El Paraisa. The coffees grown in these regions are known for their cocoa and chocolate aromas and flavors. The coffee is organically grown under a canopy of trees, using natural fertilizers. Passion and Welchez are the brands Bown has selected for his fresh brews, and he also sells the coffee packaged or ground by the pound.
Rich and robust, this coffee definitely has a kick. Sampling several fresh brews – there are more than a dozen options on the menu, including a coffee smoothie – each has a wonderful flavor and aroma. Its espresso is eye-popping strong – ideal for those seeking a high-octane start to their day.
Among its other brews are espresso con panna (espresso served with a dollop of whipped cream), latte, mocha, cappuccino and Americano. Iced coffees and regular brew can be also flavored with chocolate, vanilla or caramel. The iced coffee flavored with both chocolate and vanilla is refreshing and not overly sweet.
Kups also features a popular Latin American pastry called a semita. It’s not too sweet and is like a softer version of biscotti – a perfect pairing with a fresh brew.
There are three tables indoors, as well as picnic tables outdoors in the back of the shop.
The right way
Brown says brewing up a great cup of java may seem simple, but it requires a good deal of knowledge and skill to do it right. Before he could import and sell the coffee, he and his staff were required to take training through the Instituto Hondureño del Café, a national entity that regulates all coffee sellers and growers.
Training included how to taste coffee – like wine, coffee has many varieties and nuances – and how to operate the brewing equipment. Brown says grinding, measuring and tamping the coffee to produce an ideal espresso – the base from which all other coffee specialties such as latte or mocha are made – takes practice. “The first week, we threw out a whole lot of coffee,” he says.
Brown is a big proponent of Honduras coffee, an industry that has been an economic boost to the impoverished country.
He’s also a fan of its unique taste. Since coffee beans mature slower in high elevations and under shade, it produces a more concentrated flavor, he says.
This specialty coffee commands a higher price. However, Brown says buying direct from the farms allows him to be competitive.
Indeed, the price point for both the brews and food at Kups is excellent value – and excellent taste.
Kups Gourmet Coffee is open weekdays from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tel: 324-3311. It offers delivery service in George Town.