Josh and Melanie Cosio opened Cala Coffee in March 2021. Originally, they began roasting coffee at home. From there, Josh built a coffee cart, so that he could take his roasted coffee and create beverages for people to enjoy at farmers markets and other events. In 2022, he decided to go all-in and open a cafe, which became the Cahaba Heights location that opened in January 2023. In October 2023, he decided to take a shot at revitalizing an old coffee shop space in downtown Birmingham. Here, he offers insight on the founding of Cala Coffee.
Why was opening a coffee shop your dream business?
When we first started, I was handling everything from sales to marketing to roasting, but we have since started adding great people to our company. I love it because it allows me to express my creativity, work with a great team of people and provide a fun space for the community. We have a unique opportunity to make a positive, daily impact for our guests–as getting coffee is often the first thing people do each day.
What types of products does Cala Coffee serve, and which make this business stand out from other similar brands?
We have three main areas that we focus on: our cafes, our coffee roasting our coffee cart. While we do focus on roasting the best coffee that we can, I think one thing that sets our cafes apart is the atmosphere we create outside of the products that we serve. We take a holistic approach to creating a warm and welcoming environment, from the colors on the walls, the music playing and the products we serve. Our coffee cart is also really special. It’s an elevated catering experience, where we can offer full cafe-level hot and iced drinks in a mobile environment.
What coffee would you recommend newcomers try first, and which coffee is your favorite?
One of our most popular drinks is our Honey Cinnamon Latte. We use local honey from Eastaboga Bee Company! My personal favorite is a little less exciting. I usually drink an iced Americano, which is a doubleshot of espresso with water and ice. This season, we have a fantastic Pumpkin Spice Latte made with housemade syrup using real pumpkin. For non-coffee drinkers, we have great matcha from Man Eating Tiger and a collection of loose leaf teas from Color Theory Tea Co.
Tell our readers about Cala Coffee’s recent expansion.
Our Cahaba Heights location is open Monday-Saturday from 7 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. In addition to our coffee and tea menu, we expanded to serve pastries from Bandit Baking and breakfast tacos from Ladybird Tacos. As we get settled, we also plan to use the space for fun events such as poetry or open mic nights. One thing that sets us apart downtown is that we have almost 50 seats inside for people to work or study.
What motto, mantra or words of advice do your staff members live by when it comes to serving customers?
“Create Good Days” is our slogan that we try to live by. To us, that means that we have the opportunity to play an important role in the daily lives of our customers. If we can start their days with a positive experience, that can help them go off and create a good day. Our goal is to use coffee as a tool to help others create good days.
Visit calacoffeeco.com for more information.