Jo Miller opened Cuppa Jo’s in Yarmouth this month. Her son roasts the coffee beans on-site. Sydney Richelieu / The Forecaster

With the help of family and friends, Jo Miller, a retired textile manufacturer, has fulfilled “a lifelong fantasy” by opening Cuppa Jo’s in Yarmouth this month.

“It was sort of a lifelong fantasy of mine to open a coffee shop and just have a place where people could feel comfortable,” Miller said. “I love making people feel comfortable – and I love having a really good cup of coffee.”

Her son, John Miller, revived that dream when she was looking for something do to during the pandemic, she said.

Sage Watterson and Winnie Moody have been volunteering their time to help out at Cuppa Jo’s this month. Sydney Richelieu / The Forecaster

“He was teasing me about how I always wanted the perfect cup of coffee,” she said, and suggested she open her own cafe.

So Miller, who founded and owned Maine Woolens in Brunswick, started learning about coffee in 2021. She bought a coffee bean roaster, took roasting lessons and set about trying to find a site for her cafe. It wasn’t until last spring that she found her space in the plaza at 305 U.S. 1 in Yarmouth, at the intersection with Portland Street, where she also runs a shop selling her craft beads. She opened Cuppa Jo’s April 10.

“It feels great,” Miller said. “We’ve had a lot of support, a lot of people have come in.”


Hiring remains a challenge as many businesses, including Cuppa Jo’s, struggle to find employees. Cuppa Jo’s opened with a small staff, including Miller’s son, who roasts the coffee in-house, and a few friends volunteering their time.

Miller’s friend Winnie Moody has been helping out since the cafe opened and is enjoying it.

“It’s been busy,” Moody said. “This community is so lovely and supportive.”

People are happy to have a coffee shop right on Route 1, Moody said, and the in-house roasting, uncommon for local cafes, is a draw.

The cafe sources the beans from cooperatives in countries like Burundi, Ethiopia, Colombia, Kenya and Costa Rica.

Miller and her crew are new to roasting, but it’s their goal to achieve the perfect cup of coffee, she said. To her, that’s something fairly mellow and smooth, with a bit of a bite that doesn’t leave an aftertaste. She equates coffee roasting to being somewhat like a chemist, lowering and raising the temperature on the roaster at just the right times to achieve the perfect color on the beans.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Miller said. “It’s a lot of learning to do, but a good cup of coffee is so much better than a bad cup of coffee.”

She also has plans to introduce pastries made by a local baker and simple soups and sandwiches for lunch.

Cuppa Jo’s is open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m.

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