Tell us a bit about yourself and how you decided to start a coffee truck?
I have been in the hospitality/service industry since I was in high school. I have found a niche in the Front of House taking care of my guests and really getting to know them. I always try to treat everyone as a guest in my home. Thirteen years ago I helped open up the Bonefish Grill in Jacksonville Beach and from there went on to manage the Bonefish in Augusta and Savannah, Ga. I have been a part of facilitating some very big events; from the World’s Largest Cocktail Party at The Jacksonville Landing to Masters Week in Augusta. I guess I have just always tried to throw parties in one-way or another. I decided to open a coffee truck because I really fell in love with coffee while I worked at Starbucks. I also thought it would be pretty rad to work in a different environment from week to week and day to day.
By our count there are 4 or 5 coffee food trucks in Jax. What set’s you apart from the others? What makes the Loving Cup special?
The thing that sets me apart from the other coffee trucks is that I can get snooty and high brow with some of my coffee, but I don’t. Trust me, I can wax poetic about elevation and agronomy, as well as water quality and roast characteristics. I do not stick to one roaster. That is something I learned while I was at Starbucks. There is entirely too much great coffee in the world to stick to just one roaster. I use roasters in several different states. At the moment we have Passion House Coffee Roasters on the Cup. We are using some of their blends as well as single origin coffees. If you have ever come to “The Cup” you have most likely noticed a laid back attitude and a smile. You also have noticed a different spin on music. We can bump anything from the Gotan Project to Phish on any given day. I even think I have heard Justin Timberlake emanate from the 120 Watt Twin Guitar Amp we use as our speaker system. We have a disco ball and some disco lights…I guess we have disco coffee?
What’s your most popular item?
The most popular item on the truck is hands down the Cafe de Olla. It is a Mexican spin on coffee. It is brown sugar and cinnamon steeped with coffee, usually a light city roast. It can be served hot or iced as well as frozen.
Do you offer food as well as coffee?
We do offer food but it pre-packaged. I carry a limited assortment of pound cakes and muffins. I have had some guests ask for granola bars or cookies which I have offered for private events, but the coffee is the star of the show here.
What do you offer for the coffee connoisseur….someone who thinks they’ve tried it all?
For anyone who has tried it all, I offer up the Cafe de Olla or the Cafe Sua Da. We make a very “close to the original” Vietnamese Iced Coffee that is just out of sight! The only think that is not 100% true to form is that we use shots of espresso instead of the phin, which is a filter press used in the Orient. I will put mine up against the original any day of the week and have pretty great results.
Do you have options available for someone who’s not that into coffee?
I do have “other” on the Cup also. I have a pretty wide assortment of teas, hot and iced. I typically have a green tea option, a black tea option and an herbal option. They change from week to week. I always offer a Mrs. Cup option too which can be Pomegranate Green Tea or Blackberry Chamomile Tea in a 16, 24, or 32oz option. When it comes to the cold months I offer a full line of delicious, hancrafted hot chocolates. In the summer we offer an amazing array of fruit smoothies and non-coffee based fraps.
What’s one item people will love but wouldn’t think to try?
I think the one option that will catch fire in the summer time is the Cafe Affogato. We use 2 scoops of premium, creamy vanilla ice cream and top it with your choice of 2,3 or 4 espresso shots. You can also add Ghirardelli Caramel or Dark Chocolate sauce if you’d like.
We saw a Times Union article in March saying you were working on setting up in Jax Beach. How’s that coming along? Can we head to the beach this summer and finsh off the day with can iced coffee from the Loving Cup?
I think that the CoJB has come a long way in processing their apps for food trucks. In the beginning it was a very bumpy road to travel, but that is very understandable as it was a new process for the City as well as the trucks dealing with the City. Over time, the application process has definitely smoothed over. I would say there is a decent chance that you will see The Loving Cup somewhere near the beach.
What are your regular locations?
My regular locations are as follows:
Tues-Thurs at 4345 Southpoint Blvd which is the McKesson building at Enterprise Park from 7-10AM
Friday – 412 N. 1st St at the Jacksonville Beach Pier from 7-1pm. Hours will vary on this location. Pay attention to the Facebook page.
Anything our readers should know that we haven’t covered?
I will be traveling with the Cup this summer. I am organizing a pretty big trip up north where I will be vending at the Electric Forest Festival in Michigan and the Great South Bay Music Festival on Long Island. After that I hope to head to the midwest for a stop in St Louis as well as Telluride and Denver.