Coffee shop offers up fresh new taste

CHARLOTTE – The Coffee House at Mountain Island has a new owner, name and concept.
Jeffrey Tuning gained ownership on Jan. 15 and renamed it Coppa Coffee and Tea. He is a coffee aficionado as he lived for five years in Italy, working in information technology for Whirlpool.
“In Italy, people get coffee from shops three times day,” Tuning said. “But it’s not just about the excellent coffee, it’s also a social experience, a way to connect with friends and neighbors.”
And that is the ultimate goal of Coppa, which means cup in Italian, coffee and tea.
Tuning came back from Italy inspired by the caliber of coffee there; but he found it hard to find that kind of taste here in the States.
“So I began buying organic, Free Trade coffee beans and roasting them myself,” he said. “This way, I could try different beans and roasts in order to create an excellent tasting brew.”
So he would take the green coffee beans and roast them, bringing out different flavors and leaving the bitterness behind.
Soon Tuning realized this hobby of his could become a business, so he created an online presence and began to sell the beans online. “The plan was to sell the coffee online for at least a year,” Tuning said. “I’m very methodical and had a complete business plan. But then I came upon this space and here I am with a cafe!”
Tuning had met with a broker who showed him the coffee shop. He realized it would make a perfect place to sell his roasted coffee, loose teas, ice cream and baked goods.
“The plan was accelerated by at least a year,” Tuning said. “But everything is going so well, that I’m glad I did it.” The coffee shop will look a bit different to those customers who frequented the Coffee House at Mountain Island.
The uncomfortable rattan chairs have been replaced with smooth, spacious booths that can seat up to six patrons. There are no longer greeting cards, purses or jewelry for sale, and the art pieces by local children have been taken off the walls.
“I want to put back the art by the local kids,” Tuning said. “I’d just like to have them come to the actual shop and create the art. I think it would make it more special to do it that way.”
There is also a television mounted on the wall and often a taster of coffee set out for customers to try new roasts and blends.
The most important facets to Tuning’s business are the quality of the coffee and the quality of the experience. They will use the rest of the inventory left by the prior business, but then the coffee will all be organic, Fair Trade and roasted by Tuning. A manual espresso machine means that it can be completely custom¬ized from the flavor to the grind for a superior taste and crema.
“It’s truly artisan coffee here,” Tun¬ing said.
It can be compared to the craft beer movement; a discerning process for customers craving a better product. And the prices are actually lower than at the previous shop.
“I took all the prices down a bit,” Tuning said. “And I upped the strength of the Wi-Fi so people can sit and easily work. I want people to experience the coffee house; to sit and stay awhile.”
Tuning plans on educating customers on how coffee should actually taste. His Ethiopian dark roast is so good, notes of carmel and chocolate, that it doesn’t even need cream or sugar.
He plans on hosting ‘cuppings‘ or coffee tastings at the shop. Like Coppa Coffee and Tea on Facebook to make sure you don’t miss the events.
Tea is a passion, as well. The shop sells high-quality loose-leaf tea that is put in chlorine-free, biodegradable tea infusers, so the taste is not marred with any chemicals.
Tuning is focused on creating a neighborhood coffee place with excel¬lent product and atmosphere. And he is well on his way.

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