SIERRA VISTA — “I think coffee is the only thing that the whole world agrees on ... It’s brought countries together, it’s brought cities together, states, small towns, families. And so, we really just need to take everybody up on that and we just need to work together and try to make the world a better place.”
Coffee is a unifier for Olivia Salazar, founder and owner of the Gypsy Sips Cafe on the corner of Wilcox and El Camino Real in Sierra Vista.
“Where I come from, there’s coffee on every corner,” said Salazar, who’s from Washington state. “Twenty years ago, I moved to the Tucson area and I was looking for coffee — ‘cause I’m from Washington state. And there wasn’t any, there was one Starbucks — which was about 40 minutes away.”
She has since made the move down to the Sierra Vista area and opened the Gypsy Sips Cafe at The Mall at Sierra Vista in late 2018.
Salazar said she moved to her current location at 165 El Camino Real, Suite B, nine months ago and offers a wide variety of specialty drinks.
“We do eclectic concoctions of different gypsy recipes,” said Salazar. “All of our ingredients are imported from Italy, Spain and France.
“We’re known for our drinks such as “The Savage,” which is a habanero-dark chocolate latte mix. Also, “The Evil Eye,” which is a pistachio frappe mix. “The Rose,” which has floral, white chocolate and vanillas in it.
“So, we’re diverse — not only are our beans custom-roasted and hand-roasted and hand-blend, but all of the beans are my label.”
She said that she sources her coffee beans from Bisbee Coffee Company but roasts and mixes the blends herself.
“That’s what makes Gypsy’s coffee so different is that I actually do the blending,” said Salazar. “So we have four different blends, starting from a two-blend origin which is our Tambourine — which has a citrusy finish.
We have a three-blend which is our Vine — which has notes of dark chocolate and red wine. And then we also have our Gypsy Blend, which is a five-origin blend — which is Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, Ethiopia and Guatemala. We run our House Blend, which is Colombian and Brazil.”
When it comes to the inspiration behind her drinks, Salazar said, “It just comes from up here in my head, from my heart so to speak. All of our recipes are just one-of-a-kind, they’re not duplicable because of where we get our ingredients from, where we source — even our dairy — and then of course how our coffee is roasted. That can’t be duplicated either, unless you’re there doing it with me.”
In addition to drinks, Salazar said she provides grilled sandwiches and burritos, including one called “The Protagonist,” which is comprised of shaved beef steak, sauteed mushrooms, onions and cheese. She also said she offers a Zora Breakfast Burrito that includes sun-dried tomato tortilla, chorizo, eggs, potatoes and guacamole.
In addition to food, Salazar partners with Madison Bernal, owner of Okie-Doughkie Bakery, for sourcing her baked goods.
Prior to opening the Gypsy Sips Cafe, Salazar previously owned coffee companies in Washington and Oregon.
“I had a coffee company called ‘Java Gypsy’ — which I sold and they ended up franchising — which is very big in that area now,” said Salazar. “So coming up the name ‘Gypsy Sips’ when we came back into business was difficult to find a name that worked.”
She said the name “Gypsy Sips” ties back to her heritage.
“Spanish Gypsy in the blood,” said Salazar with pride.
Salazar said prior to jumping into the coffee industry, she worked as a clinical in a hematology department.
“I’ve always been in the hospitality industry,” Salazar said. “I actually practiced medicine for a while. And I went back into the hospitality business. I figured in this way, I’m still saving lives.”
Salazar expressed gratitude for all the support she’s received, which will enable her to expand into a new location in 2022.
“Immediately after our move into the El Camino Real location, we didn’t realize that we were going to have such a positive feed on this end of town,” said Salazar. “We had the ability and the privilege to have our sales increase to the point where we just needed more room for equipment, we need more room for dining.”
She said the new location will be at 999 E. Fry Blvd in Suite 106: Salazar hopes to open her doors at her new location on March 1.
“I’m looking forward to the new location on Fry, for us to have two and a half times the square footage that we have now, which will create a lounge atmosphere,” said Salazar. “It will create opportunities for certain evenings for open mic and poetry readings, and perhaps some classes of that sort depending on planning ... So I can’t thank Sierra Vista and all the support we have enough.”