Posted Monday 9:35 p.m. Yalies who return to campus next week looking for their usual caffeine fix will find a change of scenery — or at least signage — after Koffee Too? announced today that it has changed its name to The Publick Cup.
“As a coffee shop, we’re always looking to grow and mature and improve with time,” Ben Wilkinson, the general manager of the York Street coffee joint, said. “We’re looking to create a new identity to highlight high-quality products and distinguish ourselves.”
In September, the store held a contest in which customers were invited to submit their suggestions for the store’s new name. Employees then voted on several finalists, after which owner Tracy Jackson and her husband and co-owner, Lee, selected the new title.
In 1998, Jackson purchased Koffee? On Aububon Street, and in 2001 she opened a second location next to Yale’s campus. Jackson owned both stores until December 2002, when she sold the original Koffee? to Duncan Goodall.
The two stores have coexisted for the past five years with different ownership and similar names. But over the last six months, Wilkinson said, Koffee Too? made several environmentally friendly changes that led the store’s management to seek to differentiate it from the original Koffee.
The Publick Cup’s coffee-cup sleeves and cold cups are biodegradable and made from corn, while sandwich containers are fashioned from environmentally sustainable bamboo, Wilkinson said. Employee T-shirts are made from organic cotton, and the staff uses washable dishes and flatware whenever possible.
The restaurant also only serves and sells fair-trade coffees and teas, he said.
Wilkinson said most customers have been pleased with the new name, although a few were confused by its unconventional spelling. But, he said, what many patrons don’t know is that the new name — and its spelling — are lifted from the original Yale charter.
The 1701 document states that the aim of Yale College is to educate students “in the arts and sciences” so they are “be fitted for Publick employment.”
“[Yale] focuses on enlightening people to a higher standard,” Wilkinson said. “This has encouraged us to go out and tie that in with our new name, our service, our higher-quality beverages and our commitment to practices that reduce harm to the globe.”
In addition to the name change, Wilkinson said, the Publick Cup has replaced its old couches but has made few other physical alterations.
“We want to stress that it’s not new management, it’s not new owners,” Wilkinson said. “We’re just increasing our commitment to quality and standard of excellence.”
The Publick Cup plans to remodel its interior during Yale’s spring break in March in order to give the store a new image to match the name change, he said.