In university towns, few goods are higher in demand than on-the-go coffee. Every day is a coffee day for students and professors, and The People’s Cup MicroRoastery’s loves meeting this daily demand.
While Strange Brew and the Nine-Twenty-Nine Coffee Bar are ideal places to sit and sip coffee, the People’s Cup is the only to-go style coffee stand in Starkville.
The location is perfect: right off of Lummus Drive, in the middle of the historic Cotton District. It is strategically placed, and many students live within a stone’s throw of the stand.
Open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., the business meets the demands of early, weekday coffee drinkers.
When I visited the microroastery for the first time, the entire process of getting a cup of joe was an experience. Simply walking up to the stand made me feel as if I was treating myself.
The stand matches the District in its fashion: borderline bougie. Handmade pottery and fresh flowers decorate the front of the venue. Washboard signs display a simple menu of aeropress coffee, pour over coffee, drip coffee, yaupon tea and granola.
The community supporting the roastery seemed tight knit. The staff knew their customers, and one of the baristas was even the artist of the displayed pottery.
Even in the early afternoon, sleepy students walked out of their apartments to grab their routine daily cup, rubbing their eyes to read the menu and casually chatting with the baristas.
Tyler McKinney, a sophomore English major, had just woken up and immediately came to make his daily purchase. McKinney is a regular of the shop, and he confidently claimed the People’s Cup is the best coffee in town.
"I have been drinking the owner’s coffee since before it was open. This is by far the best coffee in Starkville," McKinney said. "The flavor ratings are always in the 90s, and that is all the explanation I need."
His favorite menu items are the aeropress and the pour over coffee.
"I usually load my coffee with sugar and cream, but I do not add anything to this coffee," McKinney said. "It’s that good."
I decided to take heed of McKinney’s recommendation and try the aeropress coffee. The staff was extremely friendly and informative.
The shop’s owner, Blair Edwards, proudly informed me that many of their blends were single-origin, a trademark in comparison to most local roasteries. I prefer medium roast, and upon recommendation, I chose the gisagara blend. Edwards described it as "juicier blend, with more of a zest and a molasses-type sweetness." Within three minutes, I was able to try it for myself.
The nodes were very fruity and tasted sweet, though I had not added anything to the coffee. I could tell the beans were very high quality. The coffee was pretty decent, and the aeropress process added a deep smoothness to the drink. I really enjoyed it, and I would like to try the yaupon tea next time.
There are few things I appreciate more than an aesthetic coffee cup. Half of the reason to buy coffee is to hold the cup, and the People’s Cup did not disappoint, featuring and ink-blocked and artsy design.
I returned to the shop shortly after to catch some details on the mission of the shop. I appreciated the fact Edwards puts a heavy focus the ethical sourcing of the coffee, mentioning that he goes out of his way to make sure the producers are paid and treated fairly.
"Coffee is just like any other thing that grows out of the ground: quality matters, and it matters where it comes from," Edwards said.
He added organic and high-quality coffee is better for the customer as well. I admired the humanitarian focus from the shop, noting it was true to its name.
One cannot avoid the fact that with quality, comes cost. For regular drip coffee, the price is a reasonable $2, but be ready to pay $5 for a regular aeropress cup or $6 for a large. However, for coffee fanatics, the price is likely no big deal.