Skip to main content

Abigail Purdie and Bethany Heath have been passionate about coffee and providing their customers with only the best quality for many years. After moving to Utah from California, they started their own roasting company. As Cupla Coffee becomes an increasing staple within the Salt Lake coffee scene, so does the obsession with finding the perfect cup of Joe. But is Salt Lake City, and perhaps Utah in general, known for its coffee?

History of Coffee in Salt Lake City

Though Salt Lake is known for its beautiful scenery and stunning landscapes, you might not know that it’s also known for its coffee. It’s true–the coffee scene in Salt Lake has been evolving for many years, quietly surpassing everyone’s expectations.

According to The Salt Lake Tribune, the history of coffee in Salt Lake City dates back to 1887 when Hewlett Bros. Co. opened a coffee, spice, jelly, and extract company. Soon after, in 1920, Gibson Commercial Co. began to sell its first vacuum-packed coffee, called “Early Dawn.” Other coffee companies followed suit soon after, paving the way for a vibrant culture of coffee in Salt Lake City.

The Rise of Specialty Coffee in Utah

The culture of coffee in Utah and Salt Lake, in general, is partly thanks to the rise of specialty coffee, which is a particular type made from only the most premium coffee beans. These beans, also known as “specialty-grade beans,” are grown in ideal conditions and receive the utmost care during their growing season. But how does a buyer know what specialty-grade coffee beans are? The beans are rated at least 80 on a scale of 100. All specialty coffee beans are assessed by professionals known as Q-Graders, who have extensive knowledge and can skillfully evaluate the quality of green coffee.

As food and coffee trends evolved throughout the 90s, the coffee scene in Salt Lake City had to find a pathway to keep up. Instead of just offering basic coffee, shops had to embrace the partnership of delicious food and specialty coffee in a way they hadn’t before. These days, you can find incredible coffee in both restaurants and coffee shops, each establishment creating its own identity when it comes to the coffee and eats they offer.

Cupla is more than just a coffee shop–as a leader in specialty coffee shops in Salt Lake, we’ve got some of the best breakfast and brunch options around. You’ll find specialty coffee drinks on our menu, including lattes, americanos, and espressos. But you’ll also see incredible sandwiches, toast, breakfast bowls, and more.

Factors Contributing to Utah’s Growing Coffee Scene

Climate and geography

While Utah isn’t an ideal place for growing coffee on a large scale, it is the perfect environment for roasting beans for several reasons, primarily because of the high altitude. So, how does Utah’s high altitude affect the roasting of coffee beans? Because our mountains’ air is thinner and drier, we can roast the beans using less heat. Using less heat means less chance of scorching beans. The altitude allows roasters to properly develop the bean flavors using less heat, resulting in a consistently perfect brewed cup of high-elevation coffee.

Local sourcing

Most coffee beans consumed worldwide are grown in the coffee belt, stretching around the world along the equator. It’s common to find coffee produced in Brazil, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Ecuador, El Salvador, and much more. So, when referring to Utah’s coffee being locally sourced, what does that mean? In most cases, that means that a roaster, like Cupla, sources our beans from a selection of fair-trade, shade-grown, and organic coffee plantations worldwide.

As Utahans demand more locally sourced food, this demand has also extended to coffee. The real benefit of having locally sourced beans in Utah is that they are roasted fresh, which ensures a fresh cup of coffee. After all, the sooner you grind and drink the beans after they’re roasted, the better they taste.

Artisanal approach

Utah’s dynamic coffee culture focuses mainly on an artisanal approach and a dedication to quality that has changed the landscape of our coffee. Many roasters focus on small-batch roasting, a method of roasting beans in small batches that gives the roaster the ultimate control, producing a consistent cup of coffee every time. Instead of drinking coffee from a chain roasted in large batches at an unknown date, many small roasters in Salt Lake City, like Cupla, focus on roasting fresh in small batches for a superior cup of coffee.

Challenges and Opportunities

Those who have lived in Utah long enough can remember when there weren’t many coffee shops to choose from, local, chain, or otherwise. In fact, it has taken Utah quite a while to be taken seriously in the coffee world because of a combination of coffee-averse population and a slow-paced way of life. Because of this, many coffee shops had to establish themselves as places where people could get many items like coffee, tea, hot chocolate, or even smoothies. As the population of Utah and Salt Lake, in general, continues to grow, coffee shops have the unique opportunity to cater to a variety of different people. Today’s coffee culture demands coffee drinks, like cappuccinos, lattes, specialized drinks, and delicious food.

Instead of accepting an old industry standard, local Utah coffee shops and roasters, like Cupla, have risen to the challenge and redefined the coffee scene in Salt Lake and beyond. Because of this hard work and determination, Salt Lake is becoming increasingly known worldwide for delicious coffee.

Community and Coffee in Salt Lake City

The increase in coffee shops in Salt Lake City and Utah generally has many more benefits than just enjoying great coffee and tasty food. Coffee shops are a central hub, often hosting small community events like music nights, book clubs, open mics, and more. People often visit their local coffee shop daily, forming friendships and establishing a sense of community. What are some other essential elements of having coffee shops in a community? They help to strengthen the community, are often locally owned, and provide exceptional customer service.

As the coffee culture in Salt Lake grows, so does its importance to the city’s culture as a whole. Coffee shops give people a place to meet with friends, a place to study, and above all, give them one-of-a-kind coffee and food experiences.

We started Cupla to create a unique coffee shop where people love the food and enjoy spending their time. We often hear that our Utah coffee shops are a friendly place for people to spend time, whether reading their favorite book or studying for a final.

SLC Culinary Scene and Coffee Pairing

Salt Lake City is full of locally sourced, seasonal eateries focused on providing exceptional quality food for anyone who lives in and visits the area. At Cupla, we’ve created a unique food menu that pairs perfectly with any of our coffee drinks, with each location offering different items. Grab a LOX Everything Bagel with a matcha latte from our Salt Lake City coffee shop or a BEC Sandwich and drip coffee from our Park City coffee shop. Customers love The Egg & Cheese croissant sandwich and house-made mocha at our Cottonwood Heights coffee shop. No matter what you choose from our various menus, you can’t go wrong at Cupla!

The Future of Coffee in Salt Lake City

Now that we’ve discussed the history of coffee in Salt Lake, what lies ahead for its future? We’re predicting new creative roasting styles, increased options for drink customization, new brewing methods, and that cold coffee will reign supreme. As a leader in the coffee industry, we expect Salt Lake to take these trends head-on, turning them into innovations that visitors and residents alike can enjoy. We’re always looking for innovative brewing practices and new drinks at Cupla and adding new drinks to our menu. Stop in to try something new at Cupla today.

Salt Lake City: It’s the Place for Awesome Coffee

With Utah coffee shops focusing on freshly roasting specialty beans and creating ingenious drink combinations, there are plenty of opportunities for coffee lovers in Salt Lake City. Though Utah coffee might have a quiet past, it continues to blaze forward into the future, breaking new ground and demanding to be taken seriously. With endless drink options and original food items on our menu, Cupla elevates the Utah coffee scene in Salt Lake City, Park City, and beyond.

Come Experience the Best of Utah Coffee at Cupla

In your search for the best coffee roasters in Utah, make sure you stop at Cupla Coffee. We’ve got three locations in Northern Utah to serve you: Salt Lake City, Cottonwood Heights, and Park City. Come experience the best coffee in Salt Lake City when you visit Cupla, an innovative leader in roasting and preparing high-altitude coffee.