Walking into Capresso Coffee Bar on Main Street in Oneonta, customers are met with the aroma of freshly brewed coffee, the clean lines of coffee-colored décor and soccer on the big-screen television.
Klasik Irving, owner of Capresso Coffee Bar, is a man of many talents and several passions. He moved to the United States from Jamaica and played Division One soccer for SUNY Oneonta. He then self-produced a reggae album and made enough money from its sales to buy the coffee shop in 2011.
Irving is passionate about coffee, especially Blue Mountain Peak Jamaican coffee, which some connoisseurs consider one of the best coffees in the world. With family connections, Irving is able to bring 15 to 20 pounds of the coffee back to his coffee shop each time he visits Jamaica.
“I go back home to Jamaica two times a year,” Irving said. “My great-grandmother owns land that is leased to the Blue Mountain growers. Everyone back home, they want to move to the villages and leave the farms. So we rent it out.
“When I go back home, I bring back as much as they will allow.”
Because Irving does not have a license to import coffee from Jamaica, he can only bring back as much as he can carry in a suitcase. He hopes to obtain a license to export the coffee, but he said the license can cost as much as $20,000.
In addition to Blue Mountain Peak coffee, which is only offered occasionally, Irvin sells a different light roast, dark roast and decaffeinated coffee daily.
“We come in here because the staff is so attentive and friendly,” said M.J. Robson of Bovina. “It is a nice place, upscale but not too frou-frou. And the coffee is great. It is consistently good coffee every time we have come.”
Capresso Coffee Bar offers coffee, tea, a large assortment of chai, smoothies, breakfast items, sandwiches and baked goods. The café offers 65 flavors that in combination can create a staggering variety of flavors of coffee or smoothie. There are numerous sugar-free drinks as well.
“I like coming in here,” said Liesha Thomas of Oneonta. “They have a lot of sugar-free options and low-carb things no one else has.”
The spacious back room at Capresso Coffee Bar is available for private functions or group meetings. Every other Thursday, a local chess club meets there. On Tuesdays, a writers’ group meets, and Wednesdays the back room opens for an open-mic musical night.
Irving often plays reggae music, both locally and in Jamaica.
“I have been in love with reggae music since I was 7 years old,” Irving said. “I have an annual show, the River Bash in Jamaica. I go back every January to play that festival.”
Soccer is another passion Irving continues to pursue. He plays with a league called Play for Peace.
And now that he is a father, he said he looks forward to passing his passions onto his son.
“This is a family-owned enterprise,” Irving said. “I just had a beautiful baby boy. Jaxson is a year and a half.”
Irving owns the coffee shop with his partner, Valerie Fuller. They plan to expand the café to include a full kitchen with an assortment of Jamaican dishes on the menu.