Sunday, April 2, 2023

Cups in Oxford – A Haven During the Finals Week

House blends are not the only thing this Mississippi based espresso shop is serving up.

Cups, located at 1501 Jackson Avenue, aims to combine local art, music, and great coffee.

Rusted patio furniture, mismatched chairs, large wooden dining tables, and mission-style antique oak desks makes the shop seem part living room, part library, and all things coffee.

The chalkboard menu, its green and red walls, and vibrant eclectic local art is departure from the mainstream feel the national chains, giving Cups a bohemian atmosphere, loved and infamous among many students.

Strong espresso scents fills the empty spaces in this crowded café – Southern pecan, hazelnut, and blueberry-cinnamon, along with Costa Rican, Turkish, and Colombian.

Cups menu displays home roasted coffee, an extensive loose-leaf tea collection, and specialty drinks, including their most popular espresso beverages the Blondie and Brunette, combinations of white and dark chocolate, caramel and textured milk.

Customers can also take home roasted beans and tea to enjoy wherever they are.

Unlike the other coffee shop, Cups satisfies more than just customers’ caffeine cravings.

Because students have found it increasingly difficult to find a study spot on campus, Cups, along with other Oxford businesses, have become study hotspots.

One University of Mississippi student states, “I love to study at Cups. I am not pressured to buy anything, and when I do, I am not pressured to leave after I finish my coffee.”

Cups barista Sarah Baker believes, “I feel like it has a calmer vibe for us studying rather than the hustle and bustle of students running in and out, stressed about exams.”

Unlike Starbucks, Cups allows students to work in group projects in one of three cubicles. The large tables allow students to sprawl their school supplies around as they work.

During finals week Cups is open 24-hours a day to accommodate the students pulling all-nighters.

“Cups is a great place to study because I can study at an individual desk, or work on a group project with peers,” said Victoria Madary, an education major.

The espresso shop’s quiet atmosphere is not reserved to just students, and many residents of all ages visit there to spend quality time with a paperback novel or other book. Writers work on novels, professors do research, conversations happen.

Heavily invested in Oxford’s thriving art community, Cups doesn’t take a cut of the profits from paintings sold. They routinely showcase art created by local artists as well as by Ole Miss students.

A vending machine located across the cash register dispenses handcrafted note cards and other small artisan goods for $5.

“That’s my friend’s artwork. That is my other friend’s artwork. I think a lot of people our age are involved in Cups,” says one student, as she picked up her mug to take a sip.

The shop is a sensory experience on other levels. In its first year, 2014, Cups showcased music on Wednesday nights, and former employees have been known to bring a turntable to work so that customers can hear classic vinyl.

With the success of the Jackson avenue location, Cups owner Lee Bowie has opened the Shelter on Van Buren, featuring a similar vibe to Cups, but with Mississippi and regional craft beer.

Baker said, “Cups is a once in a lifetime experience and I think it’s a pretty neat thing for here in Oxford more than anything.”

Megan Sullivan is a journalism student at Meek School of Journalism and New Media. She can be reached at

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