by Kate Doster
Cup O’ Karma is not your average cup o’ joe and not your average coffee shop.
Located in Mesa across from Mesa Community College, this “Community Café for a Cause” truly lives up to its name. Cup o’ Karma was donated by Louis Prado, the owner of Into the Bean for one dollar to the National Advocacy and Training Network, founded in part by Monalou Callery. In the summer of 2008, the public was welcomed to Cup o’ Karma and they have been a big part of the community ever since.
Aside from great drinks, this quaint little shop offers eclectic merchandise including hand-made jewelry, books and organic soaps. The National Advocacy and Training Network (NATN) runs the SEEDs program which stands for Support, Education, Empowerment and Directions. This local program owns four homes in the east valley, two in Chandler and two in Mesa, where women can find help in escaping domestic violence situations as well as help in maintaining recovery from substance abuse. 100% of everything purchased at Cup o’ Karma goes to support the homes that support some pretty remarkable women.
At any given time at Cup o’ Karma, you will find cheerful barista’s who come from these homes as well as local volunteers. The walls of the shop are adorned with local artwork and most nights of the week you will find the stage set for open mic night or scheduled with musicians, poets, and comics working on their craft. Cup o’ Karma Mesa is managed by Judy Baker and their Chandler location, located inside the Chandler Public Library, is co-managed by Andrea Cobb and Madison Gibbons.
In 2011, Cup O’ Karma came on the radar of businessman Jay Deutsch and through his strong desire to bring a voice to domestic violence victims everywhere, he donated the funds through his organization to allow NATN to purchase another home for women. His generous gift was televised on The Secret Millionaire in 2013.
The coffee shop has some of the best coffees and teas in the valley. This reviewer normally gets the mocha frappucino which is sublime but today, the dirty chai frappucino was the choice to combat the stifling Arizona heat. When I asked trainer and barista Samantha Payson what she had to say about what she loves most about her job, she said “I really enjoy what I do because I get to socialize with the women and the customers and see their lives change.”
Cup O’ Karma isn’t just a coffee house, it’s a home away from home for many local residents. It’s where creativity flows, where crafts are practiced and perfected, where friends are made and hearts are healed. You can find their hours on their Facebook page or at the National Advocacy and Training Network’s website. You can also reach them at 480-890-0579. Located in Mesa at 1710 W. Southern Ave. and in Chandler at 22 S Delaware St.