Java Puppy brings fair trade coffee to North Campus
Published: Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 18:02
Since the beginning of January, a bright green truck with a puppy’s face on it has sat next to La Tonalteca near North Campus. Students have tried inconspicuously to whip out their iPhones and take pictures of the new commodity and the owner of the truck, Mary Tipping, doesn’t mind all the attention. In fact, that is the purpose, she says.
The truck is for her business, Java Puppy, a new coffee cart that specializes in fair trade and organic products. Officially, this is their second week on campus and eighth month into their business launch but Tipping says they came here in early January to test out the area. eight months into their business launch.
As for the company’s name and image, that can be attributed to Tipping’s daughter.
“I guess she thinks adults look like caffeinated puppies when they’re on coffee,” Tipping says. “It’s definitely her baby. The dog that’s on the side of the truck is actually her dog.”
Their website features “pup of the week” as well as drink and catering options to promote their “mobile espresso truck business.”
They pride themselves on being fair trade, Tipping says, meaning farmersare getting a fair share for what they do with an environmentally-aware bonus in accordance with Java Puppy’s business statement to only promote fair trade and to give back to non-profits. Also, all of the beans, loose teas and brownies they use are certified organic fair. Tippings says they give between 1 to10 percent of the profits to Delaware non-profits and for charity events they always give 10 percent.
And Tipping is not running the business solo. Her business partner, Karla Flesh, handles scheduling, coordinates events and runs the truck on weekends. They got into business together because of their similar visions for java. Their mutual fascination with the food truck phenomenon around the nation and their strong interest in coffee.
But it wasn’t always about the caffiene beverages. Before she got into the Java Puppy business, Tipping worked in IT. She says she always wanted to launch her own company and running Java Puppy allows her to still use a lot of IT which she loves.
“I guess I just wanted to see where this would go or else it would just bother me for the rest of my life,” Tipping says. “With the tweeting, I can still get my geek on with that.”
Still in the early stages of opening a business, the location on Cleveland Avenue is somewhat of a prototype for the Java Puppy business. The current set-up is Java Puppy’s first in a more permanent location, which Tipping says she chose strategically. The convenience of the truck adds to the success of business so she scouted a place where there was a lot of traffic —both student and automobile.
In the past they have catered events such as the Brandywine arts festivals, ice cream festivals and events at the Wilmington Waterfront but Tipping says she always wanted to be in Newark with the student population in order to see if they were a good target market for Java Puppy.
Java Puppy’s most popular customers tend to be students especially those that have early classes she says, because they open at 7:30 a.m. There’s typically a rush early in the morning as well as every hour at the top of the hour before classes begin, Tipping says.
Their menu boasts a diverse selection of drinks such as drip coffee, espressos with flavors, chai teas, loose teas and hot chocolate and while no prices are listed on the cart, she offers her drinks for under $3. But Tipping’s personal favorite item is not drinkable.
“The brownies are just decadent,” she says. “It’s hard to be in the truck with them.”
A bevy of assorted treats is available from the truck and gluten-free, sugar-free and soy products are also available for the more “specialized palettes,” according to Tipping.
Sophomore Kelsey Starner, a new customer, bought the caramel latte her first time there and says would she recommend the drink to others. The name of the truck drew her in, but it was the coffee and its values that made her stay.
“I didn’t know they were organic, but that’s definitely a plus.” Starner said.
In the winter, customers can warm up with a chai latte, the most popular item, Tipping says. Come summer, you can grab a cold Brew Ice Coffee, which is a thicker coffee syrup extract that is split with spring water and the result is a less acidic, sweeter-tasting cup of coffee, she says.
Java Puppy sells two blends of coffee. The “Rottweiler,” a stronger blend, and the “Feisty Pug” were both developed by local vendors
“What we’re bringing is a quality product,” Tipping says. “I don’t know if the WaWa coffee drinker is ever going to be our coffee drinker. They should know that there’s something so much better and not settle.”
Tipping says because the truck is a new concept, it will take time to build a loyal fan base. However, people are already queuing up for the Java Puppy experience, including Barbara Hanson, owner of Endless Summer Salon. She says she thinks the location and the idea of Java Puppy add to its convenience and the quality is something worthwhile for patrons.
“It’s good coffee,” Hanson says. “It’s definitely strong and it’ll definitely wake you up. Trabant is crowded and busy. Sometimes you just need something to give yourself an extra few minutes to drink.”