First Taste

First Taste: Gypsy Cup Brings Stylish Coffee and Cocktails to Gilbert

On My Way to St. Tropez combines peach, orange blossom and elderflower tonic.
On My Way to St. Tropez combines peach, orange blossom and elderflower tonic. Allison Young
When a new spot opens in town, we can't wait to check it out, let you know our initial impressions, share a few photos, and dish about some menu items. First Taste, as the name implies, is not a full-blown review, but instead, a peek inside restaurants that have just opened — an occasion to sample a few items and satisfy curiosities (both yours and ours).

For Linsay Smith of Gypsy Cup, it’s all in the details, and one look around the newly minted brick and mortar in Gilbert’s Heritage District proves it.

Smith's precise eye for design can be seen in the artwork adorning the walls, the fresh cut flowers placed on tabletops, the blazing blue La Marzocco espresso machine and matching banquettes, and in gold accents seen everywhere from cutlery to lighting.

“Details are everything. It’s almost annoying how much I think about them,” Smith says. “I go overboard sometimes, but it matters. The energy of a space is so important. People feel it."

Following a long construction process, the permanent location of Gypsy Cup opened in downtown Gilbert in early May. Now, customers can enjoy the atmosphere, along with the food and drinks at the new cafe and restaurant.

click to enlarge Gypsy Cup - ALLISON YOUNG
Gypsy Cup
Allison Young
Smith's keen eye came in handy when she and her husband Neil first opened Gypsy Cup as a self-described ‘‘boutique cafe on wheels,’’ in January of 2017.

The idea for the coffee truck came when Smith was up in the middle of the night with baby number three. She was scrolling through Instagram and came across a picture of a tiny teardrop-shaped trailer converted into a coffee shop. At once her lifelong love of coffee and travel converged into a lightbulb moment and Gypsy Cup was born.

click to enlarge Sip a cortado on the Terrazzo-topped patio. - ALLISON YOUNG
Sip a cortado on the Terrazzo-topped patio.
Allison Young
Linsay worked as a corporate accountant after college and later as a bartender, but never as a barista or food truck operator. But being green also meant being brave, she says.

“Excellence takes practice and so you have to be willing to start somewhere, be humble, make mistakes, not be perfect, and put in the hours to make it something great,” Smith says. She also wanted to model those principles for her three young children. “I couldn’t expect them to take risks that I wasn't willing to take myself.”

click to enlarge The Summer Crostini at Gypsy Cup is a bite of summer. - ALLISON YOUNG
The Summer Crostini at Gypsy Cup is a bite of summer.
Allison Young
While the trailer was being built, Smith didn’t waste any time. She got down to business and opened a coffee stand right in her driveway. She squeezed lemons for lemonade, fine-tuned her cold brew method, and used the neighborhood feedback to test and tweak recipes.

That trial and error mindset propelled Gypsy Cup into food truck success and pushed Smith to create some of her most popular recipes, most notably her Vanilla Bourbon Cold Brew, a smooth sip infused with Madagascar vanilla and bourbon in the brewing process.

“I always have a vision and then it’s all about adapting and tweaking,” Smith says. “I never want to get stagnant, so I am always trying to learn, create and surround myself with the best coffee professionals I can find. I go to trade shows, trainings, read books and then much of it is intuitive.”

With the popularity of the coffee truck and Smith's dedication, the obvious next step was a brick-and-mortar location, she says.

“Our number one question was always ‘Where is your shop?’ We looked into several spots and nothing stuck 'till our current location. Our first look and I knew it was the one,” Smith says.
click to enlarge Gypsy Cup brings European cafe vibes to Gilbert. - GABBY URSINGER
Gypsy Cup brings European cafe vibes to Gilbert.
Gabby Ursinger
The location is a high-ceilinged, light-filled oasis near the corner of Gilbert Road and Vaughn Avenue in downtown Gilbert. It has a sunny vibe and European café feel. Studded with succulents, inspired artwork, buzzy bar seating, plush pink chairs, and terrazzo-topped tables on the patio – many of the accents inspired by the Smith’s family trip to Europe last year – every angle is a photo op.

In a word it’s lovely, a charming spot to gather and gab with friends or sip solo and watch the world go by.

The menu doesn't stop at coffee. As well as Smith's famous cold brew, matcha lattes and lemonade, the menu expanded to include light bites and craft cocktails.

click to enlarge Sunkissed in Santorini smells of citrus and rosemary. - ALLISON YOUNG
Sunkissed in Santorini smells of citrus and rosemary.
Allison Young
The Granny Verde is a mint-colored dream that might look like grandma’s sofa cushions, but tastes anything but old-fashioned. A mix of mezcal, ginger liqueur, and cold-pressed green apple juice made by nearby Kaleidoscope Juice is garnished with star anise and fresh mint.

Strawberry Kisses combines prosecco and rose petal liqueur with a hint of strawberry. And of course, there’s an espresso martini that combines concentrated cold espresso with blanco tequila, Licor 43, and chocolate syrup for a velvety sip that smells like vanilla.

In fact, all of the drinks have an aromatic component, including the flavor-packed and provocative zero-proof cocktails that layer ingredients like elderflower tonic and ginger beer perfumed with fresh basil and lavender that’s lit on fire. 
click to enlarge The Caramel Chocolate Cruffin is big and bold. - ALLISON YOUNG
The Caramel Chocolate Cruffin is big and bold.
Allison Young

There’s plenty to nibble between sips.

The grab-and-go cooler is stocked with yogurt parfaits, overnight oats, and energy bites, but we’re more partial to the pastry section. Parisian-style baked goods come courtesy of JL Patisserie in Scottsdale, and include a rotating selection of monstrously decadent cruffins, plump scones, lovely layered cakes, and dainty strawberry shortcakes.

click to enlarge The Lite Bites menu features polenta served with poblano-tomatillo sauce and roasted vegetables. - ALLISON YOUNG
The Lite Bites menu features polenta served with poblano-tomatillo sauce and roasted vegetables.
Allison Young
After 3 p.m. the kitchen is in full swing with a menu of seasonal small bites inspired by European cafes. There’s creamy goat cheese polenta served with poblano-tomatillo sauce and roasted vegetables, deviled eggs dusted with za'atar and crispy shallots, short ribs with espresso miso and shishito gratin, as well as hummus and charcuterie boards brimming with breads and spreads.

The menu will continue to evolve, Smith says. But she's started with a bang.

Gypsy Cup

50 West Vaughn Avenue, Gilbert
gypsycup.com
Hours: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday
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Allison Young has written about food, nutrition, and travel for Sunset, Women’s Health, Oxygen, Clean Eating, Mindbodygreen, and Prevention. Her local jam is food writing, where she happily eats her way across the Valley to discover the best hidden gems, hole-in-the-walls, pizza joints, and the latest Phoenix food trends. She also loves to pick Valley chef’s brains for their favorite food finds. On her website, TheGlitterList.com, she posts one thing she’s looking forward to each day, from food to books and podcasts.
Contact: Allison Young