Local Business

Conscious Cup to mark 10th anniversary in Crystal Lake with coffee events

CRYSTAL LAKE – From the start in 2006, Conscious Cup has made the conscientious effort to focus its business in Crystal Lake on coffee and the customers who drink it, an owner said.

Ten years later, the local coffeehouse, which sources its products from equally conscious producers located across the world, celebrates its decadelong success.

“We’ve set ourselves up from day one to buy premium coffee from small producers in countries all over the world,” Michael Shipley, a Conscious Cup owner, said. “Bringing it to Crystal Lake, making it accessible to people is the really number one reason for us.”

Starting at 11 a.m. Saturday, the employees behind Conscious Cup in Crystal Lake will mark the business’ 10-year anniversary with numerous public events designed to educate consumers about the industry and give them some free coffee in the process.

The “sentimental” moment for Shipley and his brother and managing partner Jack Shipley represents a time to reflect on the coffeehouse’s growth over the past 10 years since the two opened Conscious Cup in a shop off Pingree Road in 2006.

With a focus on sourcing coffees from environmental and community-minded producers, Conscious Cup saw its popularity grow from the onset at a time when specialty cafes had just started to take off across the U.S., Shipley recalled.

The small business eventually relocated in 2010 a few blocks south to a larger, more visible shop at 5005 Route 14 in Crystal Lake. Three years later, ownership acquired Cook Street Coffee in downtown Barrington and kept the business’ name while expanding its workforce to 23 employees to operate the two locations.

But it’s the people – both consumers and employees – who have kept Conscious Cup thriving since 2006, Shipley said.

“We truly believe if we are people focused and coffee focused, that we are going to have some fans,” he said. “We’ve seen that over the years.”

The anniversary events begin 11 a.m. at Conscious Cup in Crystal Lake with a roasting demonstration followed by a coffee tasting for customers. At 2 p.m., Shipley will lead numerous presentations with special guests on the different aspects of the coffee industry.

McHenry County College professor Ted Erski, who published the novel “Salavandra: A Coffee Tale;” Jake Elster, importer and CEO of Crop to Cup Coffee; and Andrew Sentamu, an artist and designer from Uganda, all will present and answer questions from customers.

Afterward, Conscious Cup employees will host demonstrations on home brewing methods such as Espresso and Chemex. All events are free and open to the public, Shipley said.

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