Durham, N.C. — From the small asteroid on the wall to the beeswax figures hanging from the ceiling, every aspect of Cocoa Cinnamon's second location has a story.
Owners Leon Grodski de Barrera and Areli Barrera de Grodski are in the midst of an "extended beta launch" at 2627 Hillsborough Road, next to Mesa Latin Kitchen. The location is a perfect complement to the original Cocoa Cinnamon on Geer Street.
Cocoa Cinnamon has always been home to great coffee. The owners truly respect each ingredient's origin and offer patrons the chance to learn about what they are drinking. Their interest in promoting local artists is also evident throughout the shop.
The second location ups the ante by featuring art that is directly tied to the origin of coffee and its ingredients.
Leon Grodski de Barrera credits designer David Solow for drawing out and orchestrating the space's unique design, which includes long wooden tables (by Elijah Leed) and pieces of art that go beyond just a mural.
If you look up, figures created by Luzene Hill hang from the ceiling. These figures were created from natural beeswax and given pigment by using cocoa, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, turmeric and paprika - the spices used in coffee.
Artist Heather Gordon has a mural on the upper cabinet behind the barista station. This design features the geo-coordinates of the history of the travel of coffee, eventually ending in Durham. Gordon also designed the lobby's floor at Cocoa Cinnamon's first location on West Geer Street.
Chuck Pell's geo-historical objects, including the asteroid, are currently being added throughout the space. The asteroid is located near the fixins station and is at eye-level so children coming into the shop will see it.
A portolan/stellar chart is located under the counter. If you look, the lines continue throughout the shop on the benches and tables. It is basically one big navigational chart.
A sliding door with beautiful glass paneling leads to the cupping room. Pay attention to the design on the glass. CG&D Studios created the design from a photo of Areli Barrera de Grodski's grandfather's floor.
The cupping room itself is home to a colorful mural by Cornelio Campos depicting the history of Cacao. It will also be home to tasting events.
The beauty of Cocoa Cinnamon is that all of these pieces have history and a story, but it isn't anything forced on you. You can come in and enjoy the coffee and art without ever knowing exactly what each piece represents. Or you can go down the rabbit hole and discover how every piece is connected. It's all up to you.