For Mullika Reanroo and Sujitra Taimmoungpan, timing is everything.
Since meeting at Burapha University in Thailand — where they majored in food science — they’ve been waiting for the perfect moment to start a business.
Once they get the go-ahead from the Allegheny County Health Department, the friends will open Ka-Fair Coffee & Cakery in Morningside.
The shop specializes in gourmet coffee (Ka-Fair means coffee in Thai) and pastries. But this isn’t just a place to get your caffeine and sugar fix and then split. Reanroo and Taimmoungpan want you to stay awhile.
The coffee is served black in wooden bowls that enhance the flavor, aroma and mouthfeel of the beverage. Customers can relax on a comfy leather couch or perch atop a stool and mindfully sip, feeling the warmth of the bowl in their hands.
Lattes, herbal teas, hot chocolate and frozen concoctions will also be available every day from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
After living in Pittsburgh for seven years, Taimmoungpan says she’s tried every cup of joe in town. Local roaster Commonplace Coffee provides Ka-Fair’s beans, which range from light and fruity to intense and woody.
Ka-Fair’s food menu features salads, sandwiches and dessert specialties such as crepe cake with housemade raspberry topping, orange cake and brownies.
Everything is made from scratch with ingredients that don’t include additives or preservatives. The treats will satisfy a sweet tooth, but aren’t overly sweet.
In their homeland, Reanroo is known for her culinary skills. Her baked goods are works of art and in 2016 earned her a gold medal at Cake International, London’s annual sugarcraft, cake decorating and baking show.
Though she was thriving in Thailand, she jumped at the opportunity to come to Pittsburgh, where Taimmoungpan has been attending college and working at Thai Cottage restaurant in Regent Square.
Sitting underneath an enormous clock at the Chislett Street storefront (which up until a month ago was The Bookshelf Café), Taimmoungpan recounts the serendipitous way their dream became a reality.
Rungnapa Khanchalee, owner of both Thai Cottage and The Bookshelf Café, wanted someone to take over the space so she could focus her attention on the restaurant. Her dedicated employee fit the bill.
The friends, both 30, live together in Regent Square and are excited to bring a new coffee concept to Morningside.
They plan to offer live music on Fridays, cake-decorating workshops on Sundays and a small-scale catering service.
“We will try to do our best,” Reanroo says. “Every cup, every piece of cake, we will make sure it is the best. We want you to smile when you come in and you smile when you go out.”