Two years ago, Debbie and Joshua Chopas purchased Good Cup, a coffee booth at Matthews Community Farmers’ Market.
At 6 a.m on Sept. 30, they’re extending their family business to a brick and mortar location in the North End district, just minutes from downtown Matthews.
“We kept getting the question: ‘Do you guys have a brick and mortar?’” Debbie remembered. “I thought, ‘Do we want to have a brick and mortar? Is that what we want to do?’”
The Loyalist Market owner Christopher Sottile approached the couple about bringing their coffee concept to his space in the Charlotte Metro Credit Union Building. The Chopases met Chris when they first moved from Washington, D.C., in 2015. They were looking for a place to eat and found The Loyalist. It was a natural connection, Debbie said.
“I think it will be reciprocal for both of us,” Sottile said. “For us, [it means] introducing a new crowd in the mornings that may have never been to our shop before. For Good Cup, [it means] being able to piggyback off of our existing customer base to visit a space they already enjoy and are familiar with, in addition to the loyal following they’ve built at the Matthews Community Farmers’ Market and pop-ups.”
The Chopases purchased Good Cup from Benjamin Koenigsberg, the son of New Town Farms owners Melinda and Sammy Koenigsberg who was a college student at the time. In D.C., Joshua had been a facilities manager at a church and Debbie was an event planner. The opportunity to take over the coffee business appealed to Debbie because she’d been a barista in Maryland.
“When we had the chance to start this coffee shop, it began a new season for us, a season that gave us an opportunity to combine our skill sets and truly come together as a family,” Joshua said.
To his surprise, Debbie named Joshua the head barista the night before they opened at the farmers’ market.
“I was taken off guard but quickly reminded myself that this is all part of the fun being partnered with a beautiful creative,” he explained. “Since then, I have utilized my skill set of implementation and operations and have made this into my craft and art form.”
After a year at the market, they purchased a 1971 Westfalia and outfitted it with an espresso machine and portable water station. The Good Cup mobile unit may be seen at pop-ups, catered parties and community activities such as farm-to-table events and festivals. The plan is to keep the mobile part of the business running.
Good Cup will operate during the hours when The Loyalist is closed. They will operate as two separate businesses.
“Obviously, it subsidizes our rent a little bit and gives a startup the opportunity to prove their concept without practically any overhead whatsoever,” Sottile said. “A several-month build out turns into moving in a couple pieces of equipment and getting started right away. If it doesn’t work, I feel like it’s minimal risk for both of us.”
Drinks are handcrafted with local and organic ingredients, when possible. The Good Cup will offer milk alternatives such as goat milk from Natures Sunrise Goat Dairy in Union Grove, N.C,. and oat milk.
Debbie calls Good Cup’s drinks edible art.
“I love using edibles,” she said. “Edible flowers are my jam. They are so beautiful. I want your drink to be an experience.”
Menu items will change based on what’s available seasonally. Customers at the new location can expect breakfast options sourced from local vendors. The menu is tentative but may include croissants, savory hand pies and mini-quiche and macarons.
Here are four Good Cup signature drinks:
(1) Wildflower Latte
Made with seasonal flowers from the farmers’ market, milk from Wholesome Country Creamery in Hamptonville, elderflower from Double Up Farm in Stanfield and beans from Sugar Creek Coffee Roasters in Indian Trail. This drink may be served hot or cold and features dandelion, lemon balm and honeysuckle, depending on the time of the year. $2.50-$5.50
(2) Sweet as Kate Elderberry Latte
Named after Kate Seidel, Double Up Farm’s owner, this drink includes milk, maple syrup and elderberry juice. This alternative doesn’t include coffee and is kid-friendly. $2.50-$5.50
(3) The Sammy Affogato
Another drink named for someone the Chopases adore: Sammy Koenigsberg of New Town Farms in Waxhaw. It’s an affogato, an Italian coffee-based dessert with organic vanilla gelato with espresso on top. It’s topped off with milk, honey from Dancing Bees Farm in Monroe and edible flowers from Tega Hills Farm in Fort Mill. $2.50-$5.50
(4) Lulu’s Twist
The Chopases’ 6-year-old daughter, Lulu, created this kid-friendly drink with handcrafted syrups, edibles and bubbly water.
“Essentially, it’s an Italian soda,” Debbie added. “She created it with her taste buds in mind, as well as other children. A kid’s drink from a kid’s perspective.”
Good Cup’s soft opening is tentatively set for Sept. 23. The grand opening is Sept. 30 at 6 a.m.
435 N. Trade St., Matthews
Open Monday, 6 a.m.-7 p.m.; Tues.-Fri., 6 a.m.-10:45 a.m.; Saturday, open only at Matthews Community Farmers’ Market; Sunday, 6-10 a.m. (tentatively)