What college town could not use another coffee shop? The brand-new People’s Cup MicroRoastery in the Cotton District, however, is not just another coffee shop. Its outdoor location, distinct blends and pick-up-window setup make it unique from other local coffee spots.
Although the People’s Cup officially opened its windows just a couple weeks ago, the owner, Blair Edwards, has roasted and sold his own coffee for a while.
Edwards said the idea for the People’s Cup was born out of his long-standing love for coffee. Starting at age seven, Edwards would have coffee every morning. Later, he started working at Starbucks, where he became more familiar with the details of roasting coffee. After he left Starbucks, he felt free to explore his own roasting methods with the coffee experience and expertise he had gained.
“(Working at Starbucks) got me a little bit more into it, and I guess when I left there, I felt a little bit more freedom to explore it and I just thought of roasting it,” Edwards said. “I felt like I knew what I was trying to taste for and smell for doing it. It’s just experimentation.”
Edwards stays true to his mission statement of “improving the lives of farmers while improving your coffee experience” by trying to source his beans from as close to the farm as possible, and working with small farmers rather than large importers.
“We try to pay an actual decent amount for the bean,” Edwards said. "You can’t always get a huge quantity with that, but you can always get better quality."
The People’s Cup distinguishes itself from other Starkville coffee shops, not just by its outdoor location, but also by its unique and handmade coffee blends.
Other local coffee shops in the area sell other company’s coffee, but the People’s Cup sells their own roasts and blends.
“It’s air roasted in small batches by me, and there’s no standard for each bean. I don’t go by 'the roasting curve,' as some people call it–each bean has a different one. If you don’t have someone sitting there smelling it the entire time, you don’t know when to stop it,” Edwards said. “(It’s) all manual. Anyway that I make it in there, you’d be able to make it at home.”
Sara Beth Pritchard, a junior communication major, said she was already familiar with the People’s Cup coffee because the store where she work, sells their blends.
“I’d seen it on Instagram and we also sell it in the store that I work at, George-Mary’s,” Pritchard said. “So I’d heard about it for a long time and was waiting for it to open, and wanted to try it.”
Located on the corner of Lummus Drive and Holtsinger Avenue in Starkville’s Cotton District, the little shop can be somewhat difficult to find. However, Pritchard pointed out this increases the shop’s hipster vibe.
The ordering process resembles that of a food truck, but with a little courtyard customers can stand around and socialize in.
“You order at the window and you pick it up at the next window,” Pritchard said. “It’s almost the feel of a coffee truck, but it’s in a building.”
Sarah MacKenzie, a freshman communication major, said the location is perfect for students who live off campus to get their caffeine fix on their way to class.
“I just thought it was really cute and in a convenient spot for the students who live off campus in the Cotton District to grab coffee on their way to class,” MacKenzie said.
Edwards’ favorite menu item is the shaken aero press, which he said, when shaken, produces a foam at the top which tastes like blueberry ice cream.
Pritchard also spoke of a faint fruity flare in the coffee she ordered, a darker press drip coffee.
Edwards’ vision for the future of the People’s Cup includes roasting on a larger scale for grocery stores, a food truck and patio seating and string lights so customers can come hang out at all times of day, even when the shop is not open. Edwards said there will be an official grand opening later in the year when the weather is warmer.
In addition to coffee and a location, the People’s Cup, as its name denotes, has great people and community.
“I really liked it. The people there were really nice,” Pritchard said. “It was more of a chill, laid back vibe. I would definitely go back.”
Edwards is committed to fostering community through coffee, and hopes MSU students and Starkville residents will give the People’s Cup a try.
“I just want to improve the coffee shop experience,” Edwards said. “It doesn’t have to be in a building, it’s more about who’s around you.”