Green Cup Café offers fresh ingredients without sacrificing taste

Off the narrow streets of the Downtown Fort Myers river district, between the pizza shops and burger joints, lies a small cafe specializing in organic food. The shop, which is a refreshing breath of sleek black and white with pops of grassy green compared to the brick and neon of the encompassing area, moved to its new location from across the street last summer.

Upon entering Green Cup Café, you’re hit with the smell of fresh produce with a hint of wheatgrass, a staple of any decent organic mart. As a former employee of the Whole Foods juice bar, the scent felt like coming home.

The cafe’s offerings are expansive. The board above the merchandise rack of shirts and journals boasts 25 smoothies, nine juices, supplements, shots, acai bowls and tea oatmeals. The main menu above the ice cream freezer and dessert display lists the wraps, salads, teas and, of course, coffee.

Being lactose intolerant and in denial, I regularly eat the dairy I should be avoiding, but with options such as the cafe’s four vegan ice creams and sorbets and milk substitutes for its beverages, I can avoid regretting it later, both in lactose and in calories. Many of Green Cup’s options are gluten-free and sweetened with agave for those concerned about gluten and refined sugar as well.

I tried a simple caffe latte, with coconut milk, which was smooth and surprisingly not too bitter without sweetener. Now that I’ve assessed the coffee’s base quality to be up to par, I’ll be sure to try it flavored next time. Perhaps, I’ll be adventurous and go for the maple-cinnamon or raspberry. Okay, that’s not true, at least for my second visit. Everybody knows I have a soft spot for hazelnut first and foremost.

As soon as I saw bubble tea on the menu, I knew I had to get it. Well, that may also be because I had already researched the spot on Instagram and specifically sought out its bubble tea, but that’s beside the point.

I’m a chai girl for sure, so the tea base was a no-brainer. Unlike the traditional Taiwanese beverage, which is tea mixed with milk and often dyed a bright color, milk was optional here, so I opted out. Seeing bursting boba as an option was both a wonderful surprise and an incredible challenge to me, as the flavors, while delicious sounding, would risk taking away from the chai’s natural spice and herbaceousness. I thus opted for the traditional black tapioca — chewy and subtle in flavor.

The chai was good, some of the best I’ve had, as it is a rooibos (or red) tea as opposed to the traditional black tea blend. But, I warn, this is not for those used to chai lattes from Starbucks. This is tea — bold and bright and unpolluted by white sugar and frothy milk.

For those practicing a gluten-free, vegan or all-organic diet, I highly recommend this local stop, and for those not, I recommend stopping in once finals are over and you reach that week of bikini-body dread.