by Lorie Lewis Ham
For the last several months, I have been hearing a lot of buzz about a new coffee shop in the Tower District in Fresno, so I decided to check it out! When I was in the Tower for the Rogue Festival last month, I stopped in at Hi-Top Coffee, not once but twice! The shop has more of an industrial feel to it than older shops, and from what I have been seeing over the past year this is the latest trend in coffee shops.
Hi-Top seemed to be filled with a buzz of energy, with mostly younger customers present when I was there. It seems to be the new place to be. With a long table near the front when you come in, and some smaller ones along the wall, a bar with stools by the windows in the front and to the right of the counter, and a comfy spot with giant pillows, it’s a perfect place to hang out and work, or just relax with friends or a good book. The staff was very friendly, and helpful to this newcomer. During Rogue I was sick, so I opted for hot tea instead of coffee, but I’ve heard great things from friends about their coffee so I can’t wait to go back and give it a try.
Before Rogue, I took some time to chat with the owners of Hi-Top, Aaron Bagato, Karsayn Suvanto and Spencer Suvanto.
KRL: When did Hi-Top first open?
Hi-Top: Our opening day was September 14th 2017
KRL: What inspired the idea to open a coffee shop?
Hi-Top: We all met rock climbing at Metalmark (indoor rock climbing gym in Fresno.) Aside from our common interest in climbing and the community around us, we all loved making and drinking coffee!
KRL: Why did you decide to locate Hi-Top in the Tower?
Hi-Top: The Tower District is where we all live and spend our time with friends and family. It’s a beautiful and historic neighborhood! There are young families, students from the city college, and it’s easily one of Fresno’s greatest nightlife and culture scenes. We love it very much!
KRL: Are you from Fresno?
Hi-Top: Spencer and I (Aaron) grew up in Clovis and Karsyn grew up in Fresno. I (Aaron) spent 4.5 years in Montana.
KRL: Did you have a specific feel you were going for at your shop?
Hi-Top: We certainly had an idea of how we wanted the shop to look and feel. During the design and build out, we kept ourselves grounded in making sure that it would feel warm and welcoming to anyone that walked in. That meant keeping things very clean and bright but not stark or too sterile feeling. Our shop presents a lot of natural light, wooden countertops and tables and a large mural by local Artist, Quinn Bowman.
KRL: Are you trying to appeal to a specific group?
Hi-Top: Our target is to reach anyone that wants a safe and comfortable place to drink coffee or eat something unique in a beautiful space. We want people feeling better when they leave than when they came in!
KRL: Do you have a background in coffee?
Hi-Top: I (Aaron) spent a number of years working in and out of coffee. I’ve had jobs as a barista, coffee roaster, and account manager for retail.
KRL: Where do you get your coffee?
Hi-Top: We currently offer coffees from all over the U.S.A. Our main supplier is Cat and Cloud Coffee out of Santa Cruz, CA. We also offer coffee from Huckleberry Coffee in Denver, CO and Take Flight Coffee in Los Angeles, CA.
KRL: What are some of your most popular drinks?
Hi-Top: Our Signature Beverage is called the “Low-Top.” It’s a split shot of espresso – one shot served by itself and the second one is shaken with ice, almond milk, cardamom, cinnamon, and honey. It’s certainly a customer favorite. Other notable drinks are the Lavender Lattes and the Cold Brew-ish (our take on cold coffee).
KRL: What else do you offer?
Hi-Top: We currently offer pastries from La Boulangerie in Fig Garden Village. We also make toast (basically an open faced sandwich) with fresh local ingredients!
KRL: Do you have events there? If yes, what type of events?
Hi-Top: Our space has hosted many events, anything from poetry workshops, to acoustic performances.
KRL: What makes your shop different from other ones?
Hi-Top: The shop is so bright and fresh and constantly pulsing. The esthetic of the shop really comes to mind, which also influences how people are greeted right when they walk in! Our coffee is great; however, our staff are some of the best people around. We have amazing staff and customers alike.
KRL: What does this comment on your website refer to? “A portion of every cup that is purchased will go directly back into the Fresno community.”
Hi-Top: We donate to various organizations in the Fresno area as well as places effected by natural disasters and such around the United States.
KRL: What hours are you open?
Hi-Top: Our hours are Monday-Friday 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
KRL: Social media?
Hi-Top: You can find us on Instagram @hitop_fresno and on Facebook as Hi-Top Coffee.
Hi-Top Coffee is located at:
1306 N. Wishon