The Minnesota natives said they have always wanted to start a business together. Years after the two moved to the suburbs of Houston, Tam said their passion for coffee was leading them into Midtown too frequently.
“We’re coffee addicts—more like coffee nerds,” she said. “Between the two of us, we were driving into the city on a weekly basis, and we just didn’t want to drive anymore. We wanted to provide a space for people to find that same quality of food and drinks here in the suburbs.”
At The Cuppo Coffee & Tea, Sivin said baristas focus on crafting quality beverages for each customer—whether that be a latte, a cappuccino, a Vietnamese iced coffee, or one of the five fresh-fruit smoothies or six loose-leaf teas on the menu.
The Duongs partner with vendors found in the Heights and Montrose neighborhoods of Houston, including Greenway Coffee Co., Camellia Tea and Kraftsmen Baking, which provides fresh baked goods.
Coffee beans are sourced from farmers in countries such as Brazil, Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Guatemala, where Tam said the beans are high in acidity and citrus, making for balanced espresso drinks.
From the weight of the coffee and the way the milk is frothed to the precise temperature to which the tea is brewed, Sivin said baristas do not take any shortcuts in perfecting the science behind the coffee.
“Each of the beans are handpicked by coffee farmers, and we make things right,” he said. “We will make sure that every cup of coffee is the best possible quality.”
Tam said her goal is to build a clientele of repeat customers and ultimately open a second location in another Houston suburb where there is little access to quality coffee.
In the short term, the Duongs plan to host story time, music and business events at the shop and become a neighborhood hangout for the community.
“We want to make sure that we provide a quality cup of coffee, quality cup of tea [and] customer service,” Tam said. “I train my employees here that I want people to come here and feel like home—where customers are memorized by name.”