Editor’s note: See a slideshow at the end of this story.
The coffee business is growing stronger in West Tennessee with the grand opening of Ugly Mug Cafe in downtown Jackson.
After working in information technology for the past 10 years, Cole Sanders is back in the coffee business as manager of Ugly Mug Cafe.
The business transformed some aspects of Green Frog Coffee Co., which previously operated in the space and closed in late March.
“We are excited to have the same crew here, because they already have really nice relationships with the customer base,” Sanders said. “We want people to feel like family when they come in; we want them to be comfortable and just hang out if they want to.”
The shop offers a community table at the entrance, and large arm chairs to sit and have coffee, dessert or sandwiches.
The dessert comes from Me Me’s Yum Yums, a business that makes numerous gluten-free options.
Tanner Anderson, Barefoots Joe barista, said the coffee served at Ugly Mug Cafe is similar in taste to the brews of coffee he serves.
“I went to Ugly Mug right as it opened, and it was great,” Anderson said. “I think this coffee shop is exactly what Jackson needed.”
Anderson also said the owners of Ugly Mug Café appear to have knowledge behind what they are doing because of the coffee they serve, which adds to his overall enjoyment of the business.
Sanders managed a coffee shop with his friend when he was younger and is excited to be back in the coffee business with Ugly Mug coffee because the company’s founders care about coffee education.
“Ugly Mug does a really good job of educating the consumer, and us, so hopefully we can help people develop a vocabulary for coffee,” Sanders said.
From that education, the owners hope to better serve the customer base by talking through what they like in any given roast, because each coffee bean can produce a vastly different flavor.
“Each bean has its own inherent regional flavor, so the beans from all over the world are going to taste like the dirt they came out of, or whatever plants may have grown around it,” Sanders said.
The lighter roasts tend to have a citrus or floral aftertaste, depending on what region of the world the bean is from, the elevation at which it was processed, the way it was selected, and how long it is roasted.
Selection can happen a couple of ways; beans are either hand-picked from the soil or sorted by water, Sanders said.
In the future, Sanders said he hopes Ugly Mug Cafe will incorporate the community by allowing people in Jackson to name a signature drink.
“We want to get the community involved, and wherever people want to be a part, allow them to be a part,” he said.
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