Coffee shops are like diners, in that every neighborhood has at least one good one. Locals are proud of it, they defend it as the best in town, and they patronize it on a regular basis. Such it is with Upper Cup Coffee and Olde Towne East.
Upper Cup’s Parsons Avenue location is a quintessential neighborhood coffee shop. It’s good-sized, with big brick walls, wooden floors, and plenty of tables, a couch, and some new counters near the front windows.
They roast their own beans, which are available for purchase (at a good price, I might add). They specialize in pretty much every preparation: pour-overs, espresso, lattes, you name it. There are Sammy’s Bagels, sandwiches, and other baked goods.
One thing of note about Upper Cup: as far as I know, they’re the only shop in town hand-pulling their espresso.
The baristas will talk about how they prefer hand-pulling the espresso, because they get to know the ideal timing and pressure for different roasts.
It makes for a very rich and creamy shot.
Mike Habte, the owner of Upper Cup, is from Eritrea, where coffee preparation is much more of an open and communal process. As a nod to that, Mike’s roaster is smack dab in the middle of the space, surrounded by colorful barrels of beans. If you catch him roasting, it’s great fun to watch.
If Olde Towne East is your neighborhood, then here’s your coffee shop. Even if it’s not your neighborhood, though, there should be nothing stopping you from becoming a regular!