Editor’s note: This is the third story in an ongoing series featuring the multiple coffee shops in downtown Pullman, ahead of a tasting event in November hosted by the Pullman Chamber of Commerce.
Going out to get a cup of coffee just is not the same without bringing your dog along, which is why CJ Robert opened Pups and Cups Cafe in 2018.
She said she wanted to open a pet-friendly coffee shop because people do not have enough opportunities to expose their animals to other people. It also provides a safe place to bring your dog along with you, while you do your daily tasks.
The shop has a separate dog-free area in front and an off-leash area for dogs in the back, Robert said. Any dogs that are friendly and trained are welcome to come and enjoy the atmosphere at Pups and Cups.
Robert said the coffee at Pups and Cups comes from an award-winning coffee roaster called Tom Sawyer Country Coffee in Spokane. Robert said Tom Sawyer Country Coffee has been roasting coffee for almost 60 years and produces coffee that is not acidic or stringent.
“They’re actually using a mass spectrometer to actually measure the amount of beans,” Robert said. “So that way they can ensure that the roast is as almost perfect as possible and consistent between batches.”
Robert said her favorite drink is the Cougar Golden. It is a lightly roasted white coffee with caramel, chocolate and brown sugar. White coffee has a significantly higher amount of caffeine than regular beans, with nearly 50% more.
All of the food and drink at Pups and Cups is made from all-natural ingredients with no preservatives or additives. Robert said that Pups and Cups is about creating high-quality coffee and they are always focused on quality over quantity.
As well as owning a coffee shop, Robert is a big coffee drinker herself.
“I love coffee. I always have the jitters,” she said. “I love coffee, tea. I mean, basically, it’s fantastic being able to own something so that you can continue to try new products.”
Pups and Cups tries to support as many small, local businesses as possible, Robert said. All of their pastries, including their pupcakes, which are cupcakes for dogs with peanut butter frosting, are locally sourced from Jacobs Bakery in Uniontown.
The meat used for Pups and Cups burritos, charcuterie boards and paninis come from 4 Frendz Meat Market in Clarkston. Their meat is smoked and hand-sliced in house, and Robert said it is a “far better quality product than other meat on the market.”
The staff at Pups and Cups take their jobs very seriously and try to make customers’ days better. Robert considers her staff and customers a part of her family and said customer service is the number one priority at Pups and Cups.
Brianna Halter, Pups and Cups barista, said working there is super fun and fast-paced.
“We’ve got a lot of dogs that come in,” Halter said, “which keeps things pretty fun around here. We’ve got a lot of students that come in too, so there’s a lot of different environments coming and going around.”
Halter said the best part of working at Pups and Cups is the tight-knit group of employees. Her favorite drink is the London Dog, which features earl grey tea with lavender and vanilla. She says that you can not go wrong with the pastries at Pups and Cups, either.
Pups and Cups offers great service and is a great environment for all involved, Halter said. She said the staff is super friendly and super happy to help with anything that customers need and that they have some pretty loyal customers.
WSU doctoral student Dylan Oats, stops by Pups and Cups frequently. He said he goes to the shop every other day for his lunch breaks and that it is a nice place to write up his research.
Oats said that he enjoys a variety of coffee at the shop, from a hot chai to a black coffee to an Americano. He said the atmosphere and the nice employees keep him coming back, as well as the variety of dogs that come in.
Oats lives in an apartment that does not allow pets, so he said it is nice to see dogs out and about while he is at the shop. He said the coffee is always really good and that it is never burned or diluted.
The hot chai latte is Oats’ recommendation for someone who has never been to Pups and Cups before. Besides coffee, he recommends trying the beer and wine.
Robert said that she has always been a pet owner and started training dogs when she was 11 years-old. She said that she loves supporting the local community. It does not bother her that there are so many coffee shops in downtown Pullman.
She said that she “lives for it” and wishes every single one of the local coffee shops good luck. She said that there are not enough places around Pullman that are dog friendly and is happy that she can provide that unique space for the community.
Robert said that she never feels like the conductor of the train at her shop because of her helpful team.
“I think all of us are such a team that none of us really, including me, consider it to be a job,” she said. “So yeah, I love it. It’s something that I will continue to love to do, making friends every day.”