The Cups Story
Cups is the first all organic cupcakery, cupcake lounge, and full-scale teaching kitchen and party room – the whole package under one roof. We are, first and foremost, about making incredibly creative cupcakes to suit all palates – young and old, simple and sophisticated – and dietary needs, including gluten free, vegan, dairy free, and low glycemic index.
And while we aspire to create a unique dining experience for the cupcake connoisseur, there is so much more to what we do.
I think the question we are most often asked is “why organic?” We believe our Cups taste better because we use only the freshest, top-quality ingredients – organic and local. We also believe that in today’s world, in order to make a difference, companies need to think differently, so we base our food-buying decisions not only on the superior taste and quality of the products we choose, but also on the health and welfare of people, animals and the earth. Eating foods grown or harvested organically isn’t just better for you – because they have no added pesticides and hormones, for example – but also better for all of us in that toxic chemicals aren’t released in their making. Along the same line, we also pride ourselves on buying locally, in order to support our farmers, our community and the earth.
Our Cups feature Giustos organic flours, from San Francisco. Our sugars come from Wholesome Sweeteners, an organic and fair trade-certified producer, where farmers are paid a premium for their crops. Our top-quality organic chocolate comes from San Luis Obispo’s Sweet Earth’s Organic. Our butter comes from Slice of Sonoma, a family-owned farm. And we feature the produce & nuts of a number of local farms, including Suzie’s Farm, Be Wise Ranch CSA, Seabreeze Organic Farm and Terra Bella Ranch just to name a few.
Our special Cups Blend organic coffee served in our lounge by our baristas trained in the classical Italian art of espresso-making, is roasted in North Park by Caffe Calabria. Our organic loose leaf tea’s are from a San Diego based company, Teamotions Tea. We exclusively serve ice cold milk “on tap” from Straus Family Creamery, California’s first family-owned certified organic dairy. The only sodas we serve are made in-house, using naturally filtered and carbonated water and fruit-juice blends made in-house. Our mochas and chocolate milk are made with our own house-made organic chocolate syrup. Our already famous strawberry milk is made in-house with Straus milk and organic strawberries. Our drinks will be sweetened by organic sugar, agave syrup and natural stevia – never by little colored packets.
How big is our footprint?
We achieved a 3-Star Green Restaurant Certification® – the first awarded in San Diego -for our earth-friendly use of sustainable materials during the build-out of our Lounge and bakery and in our daily operations. We used LEED-certified recycled materials in our lounge; e.g., our bar countertop is made entirely of recycled glass and our walls are covered with environmentally sustainable Richlite. Our major design effect is a back-lit glass bottle wall made from recycled Strauss milk bottles.
Our milk is served in reusable Straus milk bottles. Our to-go cold drink cups, cutlery, straws and cupcake holders are made from compostable corn. Our hot drink to-go cups are all made of 100% recycled materials.
Our cupcakes are made with sustainable, organic ingredients. We support local farmers with the produce used not only in our cupcakes, but our cooking classes as well. Our cupcake flavors change according to the seasons so we can feature local citrus and berries. Many of the herbs we use are grown in La Jolla – some right in front of the store, including lemongrass, mint, lavender and edible mini orchids!
Our cleaning products are all environmentally responsible, non-toxic, non-chlorine-based and carcinogen free.
We are not perfect yet, but are continually striving to make as little impact as we can. For information on our progress, look for our environmental fun-fact cards posted throughout the Lounge.
Though I pursued other career paths, my love of cooking and baking (and of course, eating!) was always paramount. For years I planned on opening a restaurant, and then, realizing the enormity of such a venture, I started to scale down . . . first, into a deli, something like the Barefoot Contessa (one of my many inspirations), then even smaller like a coffee shop/patisserie, and then finally all the way down to a single item – the cupcake. This happened concurrently with the cupcake craze taking over the world; I certainly wasn’t at the start of the trend, so I knew I would have to add something to the mix, rather than just be another add-on. For me, that meant interesting and creative organic cupcakes, locally sourced, sustainably produced…and an attached culinary school, of course. And thus, Cups was born.