Aug 13, 2020 - Food and Drink

CupLux Drive-Thru: The coffee business ahead of its time

CupLux Coffee Drive-Through

CupLux Coffee Drive-Through on Freedom Drive

Since March, coronavirus has forced many businesses to pivot to to-go only services, but CupLux Coffee was ahead of its time. The shop, which opened as a drive-thru on Freedom Drive in 2017, just celebrated its three-year anniversary this month.

The idea for the business came about while co-owner Ian Kolb was living in Portland, Oregon.

“I guess it’s my fault my family got into coffee,” he says. “Out west, they have these neat little drive-thrus everywhere … I wanted to bring that concept to market here in Charlotte, in a little bit of a different way.”

So Ian went into business with his brother and father and opened CupLux — craft coffee to go. The difference at CupLux, Ian says, is in quality. “A lot of those drive-thru shops don’t serve quite the quality that we do here.”

Coronavirus impact: Like most businesses, CupLux experienced the economic pain of the virus, mostly on the wholesale side. But they didn’t have to lay off any employees, and they’re lucky to already have such a stable to-go business.

“As far as being set up for Covid-19, we are able to serve coffee from a distance — in a safe manner,” Ian says.

The coffee: CupLux uses beans from Junto Coffee Roasters based out of Greenville, SC, and makes its own flavored syrups and sauces in-house. Here are some menu highlights:

  • Iced Caramel Latte ($4.95)
  • Honey & Oates Slushee ($5.25 for 16 oz)
  • Vanilla Cold Brew Slushee ($4.65 for 16 oz)
  • Iced Matcha Latte ($4.95)

CupLux also has tea lattes and loose leaf tea. The lemon hibiscus tea soda ($4 for 16 oz) is very refreshing.

Honey: Ian’s father, Phil Kolb, cultivates honey at his beehives in Delaware and Pennsylvania, which Ian then uses in specialty coffees like the Honey and Oates Slushee ($5.25). “This year, I think he (Phil) got about 700 pounds of raw honey that we’re then able to use in the shop,” Ian says. You can actually get your hands on a bottle of Phil’s Honey ($9.99 for 1 lb).

Location: CupLux is located at 3115 Freedom Drive just off I-85. Get more of CupLux on their Instagram and website.

CupLux Co-Owners, Ian and brother, Phillip.
CupLux Iced Matcha Latte
Iced Matcha Latte — Japanese Matcha Green Tea & Cow’s Milk, featuring milk from Homeland Creamery
CupLux Honey Phil's Honey
Phil’s Honey is now for sale ($9.99 for 1 lb)

[Related Agenda guide: 18 best coffee shops to fuel up for your workday]


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