Right as I walked into the Empty Cup, I realized it was not the typical Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts. Instead, it is full of large couches, which makes it feel as if you are walking into a furniture store instead of grabbing a cup of coffee.
Located in the Cedar Bluff shopping area in Knoxville, this unique coffeehouse has an interesting backstory. While reading through one of the pamphlets offered, I found out that with every purchase made, local families are given adoption grants. Instead of traditional fundraising, customers can enjoy a beverage or food of your choice while also helping out the local community.
While I was waiting for my order to be called, I noticed many of the customers were young students. The whole environment was very peaceful and calming. I also noticed the large amount of lattes available, with flavors ranging from pumpkin spice, s’mores and even flapjack pancake. Additionally, they offer varieties of tea and coffee of different roasts. For those who cannot have dairy, milk substitutes such as soy and almond milk are available.
I ordered the coconut caramel latte, which was recommended to me by the barista. She said it is one of the store’s most popular drinks, and right after my first sip I realized why. It was sweet but not too sweet, and I could taste both the flavors of caramel and coconut equally. In the past, I have been to many restaurants and cafes where my latte was watered down and did not have much flavor to it. However, the Empty Cup was able to get it just right. The service was very fast, and my name was called within two minutes of ordering.
In addition to the large array of coffee offered, the Empty Cup also serves food, including ice cream, muffins, scones and bagels. They also offer gluten free options, including brownies and muffins. Along with my latte, I ordered one of their bagels they had on display. They offer many different varieties, but the one that especially jumped out to me was the pizza bagel. Just like regular pizza, I had a choice of cheese or pepperoni. I ordered the pepperoni bagel, mainly because I wanted to try something new and different. It was surprisingly very good. I just had to get used to the fact it was on a bagel, and that it isn’t the traditional way someone would eat pizza.
I was impressed with nearly every aspect of the Empty Cup, from the coffee to the food and even the fast service. However, finding out just where my money is going to and learning about the whole purpose of the coffeehouse made things even more enjoyable. Not only do customers get to enjoy a delicious drink but also say they have done their job in supporting adoption. For me, the Empty Cup is a win-win.