Hi. I’m Natali, and I’m a coffee addict.
There, now that that fact has been made abundantly clear, I am happy to share with you that Fresno now has one more awesome place to grab a really great cup o’ Joe. Everyone, please welcome Hi-Top Coffee to Wishon Ave. in the Tower District.
I stopped by Hi-Top for the first time last Friday morning on my way to work and for having been open just eight days, it sure seemed like a popular place to be already! The whole place was filled with people enjoying the beautifully redecorated space, but despite that, the service was fast, friendly, and attentive. Long story short: my mocha was phenomenal, and it kept me energized until late in the afternoon, which was awesome.
Hi-Top Coffee is the product of a friendship formed originally at MetalMark climbing gym in Fresno. Hi-Top co-founders Aaron Bagato, Spencer Suvanto, and Karsyn Suvanto have a passion for coffee, from picking the beans to pouring a cup to every drink they serve.
Bagato started as a barista in Montana, and after moving back to his hometown, worked for Raizana Tea and helped Kuppa Joy open their Fresno location. Most recently, Bagato worked at Lanna Coffee Co. He traveled to Thailand and learned the full circle of third wave coffee, from sourcing to roasting, brewing, and serving.
A Commitment to craft coffee
The Suvantos purchased a La Marzocco Strada EP, a rare, custom espresso machine that provided a catalyst for their coffee shop plans. Construction on the shop began in May with the help of Karsyn’s father, Joe Parker, owner of Karsyn Construction. The shop, formerly Café Corazon, was remodeled into a comfortable space with natural concrete floors, wooden tabletops, hexagonal tiles, large windows, and a custom mural by local artist Quinn Bowman.
“Our goal with Hi-Top Coffee is to create a quality experience from beginning to end; from the moment it is picked all the way to the final product served,” says Bagato, who considers himself a barista above a business owner. “Although we are providing a top-quality experience, we are not pretentious about the end cup of coffee, mainly because we realize there are so many hands along the way that helped create that single cup.”
Hi-Top Coffee sells and serves craft coffee from primary roasters Cat & Cloud, a shop based in Santa Cruz that was started by a team of national barista champions whose values and mission mirror those of Hi-Top’s founders. Hi-Top will feature Cat & Cloud’s flagship blend “The Answer” for espresso drinks, and will rotate in single origin coffees as they become seasonally available. Hi-Top Coffee also plans to be a multi-roaster shop, bringing in guest roasters on its pour-over menu each month.
Artisan teas will be offered from Kilogram Tea, an offshoot of Intelligentsia, and gourmet toasts will feature local, fresh-baked bread. A Hi-Top Coffee mobile cart is also in the works, which will be available for private event catering.
“We are intentionally hiring friendly people and are eager to share our love and knowledge of coffee to any customers who want to learn,” says Bagato. “Above all else, we want to create a place that offers people a great cup of coffee, a smile, and hopefully a better day.”
What to try if you go
- Hi-Top Coffee’s specialty drink, the “Low-Top”: a one-and-one split shot of espresso, one half plain and one shaken with almond milk, honey, cinnamon, and cardamom
- A Flat Churro: toast with cinnamon and sugar, like you had when you were a kid… oh nostalgia…
- Sweet Greens: avocado toast topped with lemon basil pesto, micro greens, and olive oil
Hours and location
Shop hours are Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.