A cupa joe ain’t a nickel anymore, in fact, it ain’t even a cupa joe.
Thanks to Starbucks, coffee has evolved from a brackish, bitter affair once served in thick cups at curbside greasy spoons, to a specialized beverage that can incite people to converse, and can cost $4 or more. Thanks to the Junior League’s espresso bar, The Second Cup, gourmet coffee can be scored for much less.
The Second Cup is located upstairs at a downtown furniture store called The Design Center, at 27 S. Tejon. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; The Second Cup offers most of the coffee products available through the Seattle-based coffee king. Also available are a variety of teas. Because it has no overhead, uses unpaid volunteers, and pays no rent or utilities, it sells its products for less.
The only cost, said volunteer barista Sandy Kloster, is replacing its original, free stock of beans, syrup and other supplies. After that, all proceeds go to fund Junior League charities, including the recently opened Court Care.
Court Care is a free daycare service for people in court, and is modeled after a similar program in Denver. Parents or guardians may leave children at Court Care, rather than take them to court. It prevents the trauma of perhaps seeing a parent sent to jail, and removes them from court hallways, where they might be exposed to unsavory elements.
Learning the barista business wasn’t as hard as she feared, Kloster said. “There is a basic recipe to the beverages,” Kloster said. “You add to or subtract from that.”
David Kameron, owner of The Design Center, said he had some additional space and found the coffee shop a more worthy project.
“We found a lot of generous people who wanted to make a difference in the community,” Kameron said of the people and companies who donated everything needed to build a first-class coffee shop.
Barista Espresso donated the espresso machine, a stock of coffees and syrups, and trained Junior League volunteers how to prepare the beverages. Other companies built the counter, provided signage and painting.
Besides Court Care, Junior League has started, maintained or collaborated with more than a dozen organizations to help improve the community. A Junior League brochure said the common bond between its members is that they (women) “have a desire to play an active role in producing positive change in the community – within an organization that lets members choose their activities, as well as the amount of time they spend on them.”
The Second Cup can host small meetings, leads groups, or other events, and people are invited to brownbag and enjoy fresh coffee or tea, Kameron said. The coffee shop also offers a small selection of baked goods, including muffins, biscotti and cookies.