Taste of Tuscaloosa: Coffee Shop UPerk Cultivates Community Downtown Featured

Jamey Hamm serves as UPerk's community manager and has overseen operations since the shop's opening in August. Jamey Hamm serves as UPerk's community manager and has overseen operations since the shop's opening in August. Sheena Gregg

UPerk officially opened its doors in August 2017, but community manager Jamey Hamm says it was established in 2016.  

“Though we opened just this August, we have 2016 on the wall, because that’s when Pastor James Goodlet had the UPerk idea,” said Hamm.  

Though connected to First Presbyterian Church and its college ministry, UKirk, the coffee shop aims to be a place of community and fellowship for everyone.  

“We want people to know we’re more than a coffee shop. We want to provide a place of community and be plugged into the community. Part of our proceeds every month go to different charities and other local efforts,” said Hamm.   

UPerk believes its partnership with Birmingham-based Seeds Coffee brings a high-quality coffee product to its consumers.  

“We had a two-day training with the folks from Seeds and they spent an extensive amount of time making sure each barista knew how to make the perfect espresso shot,” said UPerk barista Maggie White. “I never knew how intricate the process was, but it’s worth it.”  

UPerk barista Maggie White works on creating the perfect espresso shot for a customer.

And it’s not just about the coffee, either. The staff of UPerk claim that much of the word of mouth about the shop is due to the food, including a popular vegan burger that sells out weekly. Accompanied with apple slaw, and root veggie chips, the pea protein-based burger patty comes on a whole wheat bun with watermelon pickle relish and baby kale.   

“Our food items are offered all day long,” said Hamm.  

Whether it’s the made in-house pastry items, the diverse meal selection, or the coffee beans from around the world, UPerk aims to be a place that fosters community.  

One sip of Ethiopian coffee and an espresso shot (made by White) has me convinced that UPerk will be a regular stop in my routine. Word of mouth is definitely strong, with many customers raving that UPerk has the best espresso in Tuscaloosa.  

 “We want our coffee shop to be an incubator for ideas for folks to go out in the community and give back. While doing that, we want to give a high-quality product that we’re proud of and people will come back for,” Hamm said. 

For more information on UPerk Coffee, visit uperk.org.  

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Sheena Gregg

Registered Dietitian/Assistant Director, Health Education and Nutrition Services at The University of Alabama, in Tuscaloosa

Website: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sheena-gregg-83612a9b

Druid City Living (DCL) is Tuscaloosa, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.



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