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The Student Voice of UNC Asheville

The Blue Banner

The Student Voice of UNC Asheville

The Blue Banner

Mangione’s Monday Munchies: Asheville’s locally owned coffee chain, The PennyCup


Located on Merrimon Avenue, roughly about a three mile drive and 11 minutes away stands the PennyCup Coffee Co, a local coffee shop and chain here in Asheville I decided to explore this week. 

The PennyCup Coffee Co has four locations, all located in Asheville. One on Market St, one on Beverly Road, another on Depot St and of course the one on Merrimon Ave. 

Hours vary from location, but the PennyCup on Merrimon is open from 7 am to 3 pm on weekdays and from 8 am to 3 pm on weekends. 

The PennyCup offers a wide range of beverages, including pour overs, drip coffee, americano’s, cappuccino’s, cold brews, hot teas, hot chocolate and frozen beverages. Customers can flavor their drinks with caramel, vanilla, mocha, white chocolate and hazelnut. Alternative milks are at an additional 75 cent charge, with soy, oat, almond and half and half being all of their options. The cafe also provides several options of specialty coffees, such as their “Spicy Mocha”, a latte with a blend of cayenne, hot chocolate and cinnamon. Drink sizes range from 12 oz, 16 oz and 20 oz.


Drink quality: I decided to order a caramel hot chocolate made with half and half. I felt the drink was truly mediocre at best. The drink was velvety and smooth, paired with foamy steamed milk with a heart design on top. It was also the perfect temperature, keeping me warm on the groggy day outside, not hot enough to burn my tongue. However, I felt the flavor was very minimal. The chocolate notes were extremely faint and overpowered by the taste of the steamed milk. Although I asked for caramel in my drink, I am uncertain whether or not the barista had added any in or if it was a miniscule amount.  My companion and I, who both ordered hot chocolates, also agreed that despite the lovely foam art, we wish the drinks were paired with whipped cream to add more flavor to the hot chocolate drinking experience. I also ordered a toasted mocha, a seasonal latte with mocha and toasted marshmallows syrup together. Between the sweet syrups mixed in with the slight bitterness of the coffee, this beverage was much more enjoyable. As a person who doesn’t enjoy a strong taste of coffee, this drink fulfilled my expectations. 

Food quality: Along with my drink, I ordered a toasted plain buttered bagel topped with cream cheese. It took five minutes to get the bagel, but I was highly impressed with it. The bagel was hot and fresh, toasted the perfect amount to have a slight crunch but be light and fluffy. It was also served with a healthy amount of cream cheese which I highly appreciated. Overall, it was extremely filling, tasty and worth its price. 

Pricing: Between my 12 ounce hot chocolate and bagel with cream cheese, I paid a total $6.99, including a $1 tip. I am a very light drinker so $2.25 for a 12 ounce hot chocolate was a very reasonable price to me, especially given I have been to plenty of other cafe’s that tend to charge twice as much for the same size. My 12 ounce seasonal toasted mocha was $6, also including a $1 tip. 

Service: Service was quick and easy. The barista up front informed me of their most popular beverages and was overall kind and welcoming. 

Atmosphere: The Pennycup offers a cozy atmosphere, perfect especially for students wanting to have a change of pace when it comes to study locations. The Pennycup is a close drive from campus, has free wifi and is fairly quaint. Many of those who I saw during my visit to the Pennycup were on their laptops working or studying. 

Final thoughts: With its close proximity to UNC Asheville, being a locally owned business with uniquely flavored beverages with prices that won’t hurt your wallet, and being a cozy spot for students to work and study, I would recommend the Pennycup. Overall rating: 8/10.

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