(Photo Credit: Presta)
When Stella Java started out as a small coffee cart at St. Mary's Hospital two years ago, owner Curtis Zimmerman simply intended to provide his wife, Stella, with a decent cup of coffee while at work.
"It was all to get my wife a good cup of coffee. I was at the hospital for about 6 months or so and realized no one really wanted to come for coffee in a hospital lobby," said Stella Java and Presta Coffee Roasters owner Curtis Zimmerman. "Kira Dixon, the owner of Mercado San Agustin, came and looked at the cart and loved it. She said, 'Let's just roll it over into the Mercado.'"
Zimmerman had no idea it would result in an explosively popular coffee shop at Mercado San Agustin, and now a second location and in-house roastery in the heart of midtown Tucson.
Presta Coffee Roasters is certainly not new to Tucson's third-wave coffee scene. Zimmerman's product is served at Stella Java and Agustín Kitchen, while the meticulously roasted beans can be purchased at The Food Conspiracy on Fourth Avenue and Time Market.
The new location, which is just north of Grant Road at 2502 North First Avenue, will offer guests a new centrally located option for high quality coffee and espresso drinks, as well as whole beans.
Zimmerman, a former professional cyclist, hopes to help build the Southern Arizona coffee community on the same morals and values as a cycling community.
"Bike racing got me into coffee," said Zimmerman. "You look for the best caffeine before the race, then ride really hard. It's about socializing before you bury yourself into the ground, so to speak. When you're riding hard, you can't converse. It's before and after the race, almost like going out for a beer after work."
Presta Coffee Roasters' grand opening party will feature Tucson’s first Latte Art Throw Down Competition. Espresso baristas from shops all over Arizona will compete by pouring steamed milk designs into rich espresso.
Zimmerman's next venture is bottling cold-brew coffee to sell through local bars. It's already on the right track as Presta recently entered StartUp Tucson's Thryve program which helps "provide entrepreneurs the tools to take their innovations to the next level".
The idea, Zimmerman said, is to give locals the option to add Presta coffee to a porter or stout, or provide a caffeinated alternative for designated drivers who want to enjoy a cup while they're out with their friends.
Presta Coffee Roasters grand opening party happens Friday, May 8 at 2502 North 1st Avenue #100. Festivities run from 6 to 11pm.