STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Maria Lozovskaya and Juan Becerra opened Fab Cup on a Wednesday — Dec. 10 to be exact — in West Brighton. And, these inaugural days at the gourmet coffee and tea shop come with some blessings for the wife-husband business team.
Already, for instance, there are regulars to the store.
"Let me guess what you're having?" asked smiling barista Carlos Sage to a customer.
After the patron's nod for the go-ahead, Sage sprang into action.
He metered out freshly ground espresso beans for an 18-gram serving — each order is measured on a digital scale — to fill a weighty porta-filter. He tamped down the grinds into the metal piece, twisted it into place and reached for a heated ceramic cup on the back of the machine. He set a timer for 25 seconds — sometimes he sets the clock for up to 30 seconds — and a twin pour of espresso began to flow.
"In the morning when you come in you should always test a shot just to make sure," said Sage. He and his colleagues like precision. Every barista has a different touch, different pressure, Sage explained. And, when he hands over the espresso machine reins to a colleague as his shift ends, the cross-over should still allow for consistency.
Ultimately, Sage says, hand pressure on the tamp of grinds, the waterflow from the machine and, yes, the grind itself all affect the coffee's flavor.
Regular drip coffee is weighed as well. Sage can tick off those exact numbers by grams.
"We're looking for the flavor," Ms. Lozovskaya said. There are no syrups at Fab Cup.
"To me it's more important to get a good cup of coffee and get that flavor than add additions," said Ms. Lozovskaya.
Also, on the beverage menu find hot chocolate, assorted loose tea leaves and flavored varieties like blueberry-green tea, decaf peach and Jasmine-chun hao, also of the green leaf genre.
"We have soy, almond, 2 percent, Half-and-Half, whole milk..." said Ms. Lozovskaya.
The shop set up a loyalty card program for customers. Ms. Lozovskaya makes some of the desserts herself including truffles and an apple pastry.
BUSINESS IS BREWING
Additionally in the mix of blessings for West Brighton residents Lozovskaya and Becerra: They have two so far successful fitness businesses — Next Level Performance at 861 Castleton Ave. in West Brighton and also at 79 Industrial Loop, Bloomfield. Ms. Lozovskaya works as an accountant full time in New Jersey.
However, Becerra was laid off recently from his job. That matter potentially came at a tough time — Lozovskaya is expecting the couple's first child.
But Lozovskaya sees the extra time on Staten Island as a good thing.
The pair recently returned from a trip to Costa Rica, perfectly timed for the coffee bean harvest. Some images from the excursion are part of the shop's artwork.
"Coffee is a berry," explained Ms. Lozovskaya. "When it turns to red, that means it's right. Then, it goes from the wash process and a dry process...They put it in 50 pound bags and ship it to the U.S."
She held up a pound of Toby's Estate Whythe Filter Blend, roasted in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. This batch of coffee, like others from the craft roaster, is seasonal, she says. She keeps a modest inventory.
"Good coffee lasts only two weeks after it's roasted. That's why we don't carry a lot," said Ms.Lozovskaya.
Fab Cup is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily and is located at 605 Forest Ave., (the former Claddagh Gift Shop) in West Brighton, FabCup.com; 917-593-3930.
Coffee & Tea
Crepes & Baked Goods