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Roasting, serving gourmet cups

New Forsyth County tea and coffee 'Cupbearer' brews variety

Anthony Miller, owner of the Cupbearer Coffee and Tea Outfitter in Cumming, matches customers with their ideal gourmet beverage and provides them with the gear to make it. Christopher Freiberg. (click for larger version)

Matt Alexander, with his son, enjoys a classic French roast made from Higher Ground Coffee, a roaster out of Leeds, Ala. Christopher Freiberg. (click for larger version)
June 10, 2013
CUMMING, Ga. — For many coffee or tea drinkers, a cup may take either cream or sugar. But for Anthony Miller, owner of the Cupbearer Coffee and Tea Outfitter, gourmet beverages don't have to be so bland.

The new coffee and tea shop, 543 Lakeland Plaza in Cumming, opened in February and offers customers dozens of caffeinated options. From brewing methods down to coffee beans, Cupbearer functions as a hybrid of business models.

"We're Starbucks in the way that you can come and have coffee, Teavana in a way you get loose tea, Williams and Sonoma in high-end kitchen gear and Fresh Market in all the ingredients as well," Miller said.

With 25 years of professional marketing experience with IBM, NCR and Microsoft, Miller adopted the merchandising and retail concepts that make this unique independently owned store.

"A lot of what we do is built on those strengths," Miller said. "Selecting the right tea purveyor, selecting the right independent coffee roasters, selecting the right coffee gear [and] tea gear."

The selection reaches all over the country and down to South America, as the store serves as a multi-platform for award-winning roasters who are passionate about brewing, a point Miller relays with the story of a roaster out of Portland, Ore., who once refused to sell coffee because the brewing method would not yield a particular taste.

"Some of these small artisan roasters are roasting stuff that's amazing," Miller said, "We're just giving them a platform to expose it."

The store also offers classes and "cupping," or drink tasting sessions, designed to fit every customer with the perfect beverage.

"A lot of times people say, 'I don't like the taste of coffee, do you have a lighter roast?' when what they might be looking for is a different brewing method," he said.

Along with a store manager and a barista, Miller, the "Chief Cupbearer" intends to further the store's option-oriented approach with Italian sodas, pastries and live acoustic shows on weekends.

"I love it," said regular customer Matt Alexander about Miller's vision. "He's passionate about his field and it shows."

For more information, email or find the Cupbearer on Facebook.

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