Nova Coffee Company’s catering brings the brew straight to you
by Megan Smith
Photos by Elise Greff
When Brittany Weinstein is asked to describe coffee, she replies with a simple, one-word answer—“nostalgia.” It reminds her of sitting on the front porch as a child with her grandmother, while they both sipped a hot cup of Joe. “It’s like coming home,” Weinstein says. Now 21 years old and the founding owner of Nova Coffee Company, this Houston native is setting out to share that same sense of warmth with others.
Launched in early 2015, the city’s newest coffee catering business provides the perfect addition to any special event. Simply pick one of Nova’s three customizable catering packages, and a knowledgeable Nova barista will attend your event, set up a full espresso bar, and provide your guests with specialty coffee drinks ranging from lattes to cappuccinos to Americanos and more. An added bonus: all of her espresso is locally roasted.
Weinstein recalls that her first experience with coffee was far from the high-quality drinks that Nova prides itself on serving. At age three or four, her grandmother would give her carton-packaged coffee drinks, which she calls “pseudo cappuccinos.” “It was not real coffee, of course—it was chock-full of sugar and chemicals,” she laughs. “I would say ‘Cappuccino, cappuccino!’ and she would give me more.” When she was in early high school, Weinstein finally admitted to her mom (who is a non-coffee drinker) that she had been drinking the real deal for years and got up the courage to ask for her own coffee maker. “It was almost like coming out,” she jokes.
At 17, Weinstein was hired as a barista at a local coffee shop, and transitioned from coffee lover to coffee professional. After moving to Austin for college, she continued to hone her skills as a barista for another independent coffee shop. Upon graduation, she returned to Houston and worked as a barista for the catering service of a local roaster, providing specialty espresso drinks for open houses, weddings, business meetings, luncheons, conventions, birthday parties, and more. “That was my first experience with coffee catering,” Weinstein says. “It was often hard having to wake up at 3 a.m. and go to bed at midnight, and then doing it all over again. But it is so fun, and I absolutely wouldn’t do anything else. And now, I’m doing it on my own with Nova.”
Weinstein explains that she views Nova as a literal and figurative journey that she’s excited to share with others—a concept she took into consideration when choosing her company’s name. Rather than waiting in line at Starbucks or pushing a button on a coffee maker, Nova’s clients can have a quality coffee experience brought directly to them. And on a more personal note, Weinstein adds, it serves as a nostalgic trip back in time that has evolved into both a career and an avenue to make others fall in love with coffee. “People come in with these preconceived notions that coffee tastes bad,” she says. “My favorite thing on earth is showing someone that they can have a good coffee drink, like it, and want to drink more.”
Having a Nova espresso bar at an event is a great addition or alternative to serving alcohol, Weinstein adds, as it provides non-drinkers with options other than water. “I was at this wedding convention for Indo-Pakistani people, and the majority of that community doesn’t drink,” she explains. “They thought the coffee was great. It’s definitely a viable alternative to alcohol.”
Planning a special out-of-town event? Not a problem—Weinstein will take Nova on the road. As a way to differentiate Nova from its competitors, she is willing to make the journey to cater events all across Texas—from Corpus Christi to San Antonio to Austin. In addition to offering customizable add-ons like teas, fruit smoothies, and pastries, Nova also works with clients on a one-on-one basis to ensure fair and favorable pricing. “I will absolutely come up with something that will make the client happy,” she says.
As Nova continues to grow, Weinstein has some big plans to expand her business venture. Although she is adamant about keeping the company independently owned, she hopes to add a food truck (and eventually a brick-and-mortar coffee shop) into the mix.
Weinstein—who holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in linguistics from the University of Texas at Austin and speaks fluent English, Spanish, and Portuguese—also plans to eventually source her own coffee by traveling to Central and Latin America to work directly with the region’s coffee farmers. “I don’t want to go through people who jack up the prices, don’t really know what they’re doing, or don’t treat their famers fairly,” she says. “I want to be able to go there myself and pick out what I want.”
An out lesbian, Weinstein is not only looking forward to catering LGBT clients’ special events, but to giving back to the community. “Growing up in the suburbs, it was really difficult to know that being gay was okay and what I was feeling was okay,” she says. “So I really think there needs to be more resources for LGBT youth out there, and I want to be a part of that.” Nova is scheduled to cater the Montrose Center’s Hatch Youth Prom this June, she adds.
“I think coffee should be special,” Weinstein concludes. “It’s always been special for me, so I want it to be special for other people, too.”
Nova Coffee Company can currently cater events up to 150 people. To book Nova’s services for an event, or for more information, visit novacoffeetexas.com.