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When Fresno temperatures climb upwards of 100 degrees, I crave two things to cool me down—a refreshing glass of iced coffee in the a.m. and a generous helping of ice cream for dessert during the steamy summer nights.
Soon I’ll be able to satisfy both my cravings in one place when Two Cities, a family-owned and -operated coffee roaster based in Clovis, opens its first full service café and creamery on 4th Street in Old Town Clovis.
Since 2013, Two Cities—formerly known as Amber Avenue—has been roasting up delicious coffee beans from throughout the world and creating delightful blends like Mountain Mover, Pismo Blend—my personal favorite—and the Frappe House Blend, specially made for CrossCity Church in north Fresno.
From humble beginnings simply selling beans and iced lattes at local farmers markets and events like ClovisFest and Big Hat Days, the popularity of Two Cities brews grew and now you can order a cup of their joe not only at CrossCity’s café, but at Maya Cinemas, The Old Hotel Bistro, and a handful of other locations in Clovis and Fresno.
Increase in Beans Shipped Across the Country
As their retail market blossoms, so does Two Cities’ wholesale demand.
Owners Rick and Yoli Reeves, and their daughter, Chelsea—the creative barista behind the roaster’s popular specialty drinks—say they can’t even calculate how many batches of beans are roasted and shipped. Individuals across the country subscribe to receive one or more 12-ounce bags of whole beans or ground coffee a month, plus a hefty amount is roasted for delivery to local retailers and churches. The Reeves estimate they roast well into the thousands of pounds of beans annually, with the amount growing substantially each year.
To keep up with the ever-increasing number of orders, last year the Reeves moved their home-based operation into a 2,000 square-foot warehouse located along Pontiac Way in Clovis. There, Rick spends many long nights roasting beans on his trusty homemade roaster and a new machine recently purchased to increase production. In another room, Chelsea and Yoli work tirelessly packaging items for delivery and experimenting with new beverages to add to the menu. In the front of the shop, a small café and retail area is set up—the perfect place for local customers who don’t want to pay shipping and can’t wait for the Clovis or River Park farmers markets to get their Two Cities fix.
Adding Rolled Ice Cream Into the Mix
It’s also the perfect place for Two Cities to hold special events, like when they recently unveiled their rolled ice cream—a treat that will become a permanent offering at the 4th Street location set to open at the end of June or early July.
Though the three-person team seemingly already has their hands full of coffee beans (and teas for non-coffee drinking customers), Yoli says they wanted to offer something extra special when they finally opened their full-service café, and rolled ice cream fit the bill.
Self-proclaimed mega fans of the Food Network, Yoli says the family was first intrigued by the idea of rolled ice cream when they watched a show featuring the Thai take on the dairy dessert.
Unlike traditional ice cream, the rolled variety is made just as it sounds—the ingredients are rolled like dough into a thin layer on a frozen metal disc and then scrapped off.
“We wondered how we could incorporate this style of ice cream into our coffee roasting business, and we just sat on the idea for a while,” Yoli said. “Then toward the end of last year, we started experimenting with rolled ice cream and creating some flavors inspired by our popular coffee drinks. We contacted the health department and went through that whole process, and visited rolled ice creameries in Los Angeles to see how they were doing it, and we finally made the announcement a couple months ago.”
The menu for the creamery isn’t set in stone yet, but many flavors, including a berry ice cream topped with fresh local berries and an espresso made using Two Cities coffee, are in the works, with new flavors created each day leading up to the grand opening.
While the coffee, tea, and ice cream delights are sure to be refreshing, Yoli says the little shop on 4th Street will also be a place of relaxation. Though only a small footprint of 750 square feet, Yoli says she hopes customers will take the time to enjoy their treats out on the outdoor patio in the cool mornings and balmy evenings. “It’s beautiful,” she says of the additional patio space out back.
If the creamery is as successful as Two Cities’ other endeavors, Yoli says the trio will most likely search for another café/creamery spot in the Fresno area. One day they hope to expand throughout the Central Valley.
[Photos used with permission from Two Cities Coffee Roasters]