Jason Moon brewed a cafe latte for a customer Sunday, then tilted the cup forward to show the white foam at the top.
"You want little bubbles in a silky texture," he said.
Moon, 22, of Orange, just opened his fourth Nuvita Frozen Yogurt & Cafe at Clock Tower Square on Main Street in Monroe — the other three locations are in Milford, Orange, and Branford. And he's more into the cafe than the frozen yogurt.
"Coffee was my first passion," he said. "I've been to many training seminars and clinics covering coffee recipes. All of my barristas must train in five one-hour courses, then make all of the drinks in front of me. They also get a written test."
Nuvita, which means "new life", has come up with specialty drinks of coffee and tea blends.
"I have done my research on drinks people like and most like caramel drinks, so we have an Iced Caramel Java Latte," Moon said of the drink menu.
Nuvita will also offer bubble tea and tea lattes made from brewed whole leaf teas, rather than powder.
The set up for the frozen yogurt is similar to Peachwave, in which customers fill their containers with a variety of flavors like lemon bar, chocolate and cookie dough and add their own toppings, choosing anything from cereal and candy to nuts.
Moon said he opened the first Nuvita in Orange in 2011, before self-serve frozen yogurt places became so popular.
"Back in the day, we were only the third or fourth frozen yogurt place in Connecticut," he said.
Opening a Yogurt Shop
Jason Moon is Charlie and Jin Moon's only child. Growing up in Orange, he played track and was a football star, making All State as an offensive lineman. Then in the middle of his sophomore year at Southern Connecticut State University, Moon decided to drop out.
"I told people, 'I'm going to open a yogurt shop,' and they sounded very concerned," Moon recalled. "They said, 'Do you know how much work you're going to put in?' Of course I do."
Moon said he often works 17 to 18 hours in a day. "And people say, 'How hard can it be to run a yogurt shop?'" he added with a smile.
Moon said he was only 20-years-old when he opened his first shop, so his father had to sign his name to all of the necessary documents.
"My Dad's a contractor, which was an advantage when remodeling the inside of the place," he said.
Moon said both of his parents are hard working people, but that he and his father thought his mother was working too hard and burning herself out while running two beauty salons.
"I wanted to say, 'Mom, you don't have to work anymore,'" Moon recalled. "A year-and-a-half ago, she was able to close her businesses and do the things she wants to do."
The Nuvita in Monroe opened last Monday and Moon is planning on a grand opening this coming Saturday.
"A buddy of mine went to Sandy Hook School when he was younger," Moon said. "I thought I'd do something for Sandy Hook with 100% of the proceeds being donated for a time slot and 20% for the rest of the night. We can have live music."
The other Nuvita locations are already active in their communities.
In Orange, Moon started a Relay for Life team, which he said was in the top 10 for raising money for the American Cancer Society last year.
"This year we want to double it," he said. "It's just fun. It's a good cause."
"It really isn't all about the money," Moon said. "If it was, I would get a smaller place and make everything cheap. I have a passion for it. I am doing what I want to do."
Sit Down and Enjoy
The decor in Nuvita is classic/modern and there is a small stage area for live musical acts. Moon said he wants to create an atmosphere where people of all ages feel comfortable and welcome.
"Our goal is for people to really be able to sit down," he said. "All of the places have 30 to 40 seatings. We are very excited to be here. This is our biggest store and our first one really geared toward a cafe."
Nuvita should have wifi by later this week and the coffee cups may soon see an upgrade.
"We want to have ceramic cups, because it makes the coffee taste better," Moon said. "I have so much pride in my coffee, I want people to sit down and enjoy it."