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Local coffee shop incorporates community

Kaylie Clem | The Feather Online

Kuppa Joy offers three store locations and are  spaces where people can rest and enjoy artisan coffee.

Kuppa Joy is a third wave coffee shop with three locations in the Fresno-Clovis area. Third wave coffee means purchasing coffee based on its origin and artisan methods of production. Started by ex Detroit Lions linebacker Zach Follet, Kuppa Joy aims to change the coffee culture in the Central Valley.

Wife of Zach Follet and founder of Kuppa Joy, Chelsea Wathen-Follet, explains why Follet started Kuppa Joy.

“Kuppa Joy was started by my husband,” Wathen-Follet said. “He played for the Detroit Lions then had a career-ending injury in his neck. He took the first year off to himself to go on a missions trip to England. He was sitting in a coffee shop and God gave him the vision to open a coffee shop somewhere back home and to love the people in his community.”

Fresno Christian alumni, Chelsea Wathen-Follet, explains her backstory and how she ended up working at Kuppa Joy.

“I graduated from Fresno Christian in 2010 then went to Fresno Pacific for two years,” Wathen-Follet said. “Then I transferred to a culinary school and graduated with my degree in culinary arts. I went and worked at a restaurant in Carmel called Casanovas and then came  back to Fresno to work full time with Kuppa Joy when the second location was started.”

Kuppa Joy has a unique opportunity to teach the Gospel through selling coffee. Wathen-Follet is a testament to this as she first learned about the gospel at Kuppa Joy Clovis.

Kaylie Clem | The Feather Online

The coffee shops’ logo features the throne of Christ. 

“God has always been really faithful with bringing in people who really need to hear the message of love and hope in their lives,” Wathen-Follet said. “Our logo is the throne of Christ. It sits in all the stores and that sparks questions about what it means and that usually becomes a conversation starter, but usually, we find a lot of people coming through these doors that are in search of something.”

The ‘Joy Thru,’ the new drive-thru at Cedar and Herndon, is changing the business model of Kuppa Joy. Wathen-Follet explains what this change means for Kuppa Joy.

“The Joy Thru are drive-thru only locations that follow the Dutch Bros model,” Wathen-Follet said. “It’s where all of coffee is heading especially in the Central Valley. We are a third wave coffee shop that means our style, the way we make it, latte art, the baristas, the machines and the quality is all under the umbrella of third wave coffee. We are trying to expand in the Central Valley. The Joy Thru will be our outlet to quick coffee with their ease of opening.”

Caleigh Alday, ‘21, a Kuppa Joy advocate, explains what she likes about Kuppa Joy.

“I really enjoy Kuppa Joy not only because of their amazing coffee but for the comfort of what it’s like inside. It is very welcoming and a creative place where I can sit down and finish homework and stay focused. I love the workers too because they’re welcoming and always make you feel special coming in for your coffee, tea, etc.”

Kuppa Joy locations are in Old Town Clovis, Fresno’s Tower District, and Northeast Fresno down the street from FC on Herndon and Cedar. 

For more on local businesses, read Students use coffee to socialize, support local businesses. For more articles, check out Profile: Lauryn Tucker leads soccer, cheer teams.

This author can be reached via twitter @thejacobhyatt and via email: Jacob Hyatt. 

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