Couple makes dream come true with Café ZunZun opening in Cypress

Joel Castellanos and Pascale Petronin took their love of coffee from their home kitchen to their own cafe in Cypress on 12716 Telge Road next to Creekwood Grill. It’s that same love for Joe’s Cup that united the couple some 30 years ago in marital bliss and although the two are from different countries, their introduction came from Java.

“We come from two cultures that socialize a lot around food,” Petronin said. “We’ve always been drawn to how we can maintain this culture. When we moved to the United States 20 years ago, it was the one thing we missed the most. “

Petronin works as an IT manager for a local company and always dreamed that one day they would be able to connect people through their favorite drink: coffee.

She is from France and he is from Cuba and both have a rich coffee tradition in their culture.

“There is an interesting connection between coffee between our two countries,” she said.

“King Louis XIV of France brought gifts of coffee to the Caribbean islands and some of the plants are now considered the mother plants distributed throughout South America, including Cuba.

The French immigrated from Haiti to Cuba where her husband Joel is from and the coffee plantations in Cuba, she said, were created by French settlers.

“We had this historic connection with the coffee industry,” she said. “And everyone has a story to tell about their coffee and their origins. We found it to be a wonderful way to find peace and come together.

Just two years ago, they bought their first small roaster and spent their weekends selling their coffee at local farmers’ markets. It was a good way to test the market for their variety of blends.

“The response was very good in the local markets and we also made it educational by explaining where we were from,” she explained, “and Joel explained to them why we were buying genuine coffee under conditions. natural and organic with less fertilizer. “

They found that their customers’ reaction to the cafe and their mission spanned all generations.

A local church has already asked them to settle on their property.

“It’s just too early for us to think about it now,” she smirked, saying they were flattered by the offer. “It was an interesting journey just to get to where we are today. We are still learning a lot and we don’t know what the future holds. We are not closing the doors to future opportunities, ”she said.

In 2015, they made a down payment on their dream with the purchase of land on Telge Road.

Once their land had been purchased, they looked for a company that would help them build a sustainable building and fulfill their wishes for a uniquely designed space.

“Our building was designed and built by a California-based company called EcoSteel. We are one of their favorite projects and probably one of their first for a small commercial space, ”she added.

The space is around 2000 square feet, 800 is for the roaster and the kitchen, while the rest is built on a European cafe-like theme with an industrial touch.

Pendant lights suspended from the open ceiling reveal the labyrinth of piping infrastructure that supports the cafe. The color scheme sports a combination of polka dot green and gray chairs, with white quartz countertops and light gray sealed and polished concrete floors.

Some walls with large windows open to the outside with a beautiful seating area on the patio with a view of the green and fluffy grass.

The concept was centered on sustainability and an environmentally friendly environment.

“We prefab everything in the factory, and everything is bolted in place like a set of fitters,” said Joss Hudson, founder of EcoSteel.

“We specialize in steel structures and pre-insulated roof and wall panels, so when those panels come from the factory, we literally unpack them, visions to the building frame and the exterior. is over, ”he said.

The panels are composed of organic and inorganic materials.

The architect designed the building to simulate the wings of a ZunZun or the zunzuncito, often referred to as a “bee hummingbird,” the smallest bird species on earth and only found in the jungles of Cuba.

“There is a mid-century butterfly roof wing and the gutter protruding from the roof is the bird’s beak. It delivers water from the roof and into a planter below.

“With a roaster, it was important to have a non-combustible building system, so the building was fire resistant and the insulation boards were very energy efficient,” said Hudson.

The insulated panels are made of Polyiso foam which was used by NASA on the Space Shuttle and used in commercial boat floating docks and commercial refrigeration buildings, so they do not absorb water.

“The building could be flooded for days and you just have to rinse it, rinse it and get back to work. It will not rot or warp. It might have stains, but it won’t ruin your building, ”Hudson said.

They have steelmaking partners in Houston, where the frame for the building was fabricated.

Construction began in 2020 and is now complete. The couple hired a design firm to help them with the interior.

Joel often travels to Costa Rica and Guatemala and other countries of origin for their specialty green coffee beans. They also belong to the Specialty Roasting Association which has been helpful to them in their start-up process.

Joel has been trained and the new S7 Nighthawk roaster is up and running in time for the smooth opening.

Pascale said they will also include light fare such as tea, pastries and sandwiches.

“We will not be a restaurant, but we will have small bites to enjoy with the coffee,” she says.

Among their coffee offerings there will be blends from all over the world, including countries in the Congo, Rwanda, New Guinea, Cuba, Costa Rica and other countries in South America and Africa. .

“As far as I know, we are the only coffee bean roasters at Cypress,” said Sara Richardson, Business Development Manager at Café ZunZun.

Richardson said travel to these countries is not just to buy beans, but to make sure workers are treated fairly and paid a good wage.

“It’s more than fair practices, but it’s something that Joel and Pascale really believe in,” she said.

The cafe was in soft opening mode until their grand opening Thursday where they celebrated a groundbreaking ceremony with the Cy-Fair Houston Chamber of Commerce.

Normal business hours will be Tuesday through Sunday, 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

For more information visit their website at www.cafezunzun.com.

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