By DENNIS SEID, Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal of Tupelo
Peter and Kelley Vance were driving down a road one night, looking for a place that offered a good cup of coffee and maybe a beer.
But there wasn’t a place that offered both, and Peter thought of the possibilities of having a storefront.
The beer idea was dropped in favor of coffee.
“The idea has evolved,” Peter said. “We saw a couple of states that had mobile shops, and we said Tupelo doesn’t have anything like that.”
They found and fell in love with a small boutique offering coffee they thought would do well in Tupelo.
“We said we wanted to take it to the people, and we talked about different ways of doing that,” Peter said.
They built a cart and started offering at some events, with the idea expanding over the past 18 months or so.
They called their business Tupelo River.
“We got started in April of last year, but it started a little slowly,” Kelley said. “Our first event wasn’t until September of last year.”
Essentially, the Vance’s set up a coffee bar, but it’s not simply some brewed coffee.
“We bring specialty coffee and provide a little something extra,” Peter said. “For example if you want a caramel macchiato, we can do that.”
A variety of coffees and flavors are available, with the Vances able to create about 10 coffees.
“We want to be able to personalize what you want,” Kelley said “If you booked us and your favorite was white chocolate lavender or a cappuccino, we’d be like, ‘hey, here they are.'”
Most often, Tupelo River will do a couple of flavors at a time, like caramel and vanilla, hot or iced. Espressos, cappuccinos, lattes, and Americanos are all available.
“We make the caramel and vanilla in-house, and we want it to be as close to organic as possible,” Kelley said. “We don’t want the sugar to be too much either.”
A cold brew also is available, as is an espresso bar and a hot pour-over bar, making more options available.
And while the Vances are getting their coffee from the boutique they found in Georgia a couple of years back, their goal is to roast their own coffee.
“We still have a few things in the pipeline we’re working though, but we hope to be roasting by the first of the year,” Peter said.
And the idea of having a place that serves both coffee and beer hasn’t been tossed aside. It’s on the back burner at the moment, but the dream is alive and well.
For now, Tupelo River is available for events, big and small.
And for the holidays, the Vances hope to be serving coffee at many gatherings.
“We have a good time not only serving coffee but also educating people about cold brew, and the difference between a cold brew and ice coffee, and the difference between our coffee and a lot of other coffees out there,” Kelley said. “We don’t offer a lot of syrups or things because our coffee beans are roasted like they’re supposed to, which is something where we want to offer people one day.”
Tupelo River used the hashtag, #quality, because the Vances believe their quality coffee is superior to most.
“I think it’s something really different we can offer to Tupelo and surrounding places,” Kelley said.
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