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Agape Blends coffeehouse has clients craving 2nd cup

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More than a decade ago, Jamaica residents Charlotte Worsley and Lorraine Fowles were taking coffee breaks from their jobs as supervisors at the Metropolitan Transit Authority and talking about their dream to open their own cafe.

After starting their own catering business five years ago, Worsley and Fowles decided to combine their cuisine with their love of coffee.

The result was Agape Blends, at 88-14 Sutphin Blvd. in downtown Jamaica, a specialty coffee shop that opened a few months ago and features a varied menu on the weekends as well as an assortment of musical performances and comedy shows.

“We upgraded substantia­lly,” Worsley said of the business. “We were a catering operation and we were asked by several people if we would ever have a permanent location.”

The duo had noticed that the specialty coffee market was underserved in southeast Queens, so they signed up for roasting classes and got started making their our coffees.

“We always discussed our aspirations over coffee,” Worsley recalled, “We used to sit in places like Starbucks, but had to travel so far (from Jamaica). We figured we’d put the two together, catering and specialty coffee.”

They still do catering events, both at the store and at other locations.

“It’s my love,” Worsley said of cooking. “Lorraine basically takes care of the front of the house, the espresso bar.”

The full-service coffee and espresso bar also features cappuccinos and an extensive line of non-alcoholic frozen beverages.

On weekends, the menu at Agape Blends becomes more extensive, with everything from vegetarian wraps to spare ribs, fried turkey and catfish.

“I grew up in my grandmother’s kitchen, she taught me how to bake,” Worsley said, adding that her parents also schooled her in the culinary arts. Her father, Charles Thomas, made a special barbecue sauce and passed the recipe on to his daughter.

As a result of that recipe, Worsley names one of her wraps, CT’s Bangin’ BBQ wrap, after her dad.

She serves as head chef, with three others working at the café. The menu shows a variety of influences from the Queen of Thai wrap, which includes a homemade peanut sauce, to the New Orleans flavor of catfish and the original “chicken -n- waffles.”

Worsley and Fowles also present jazz, gospel and comedy shows on Friday and Saturday nights. Worsley said visitors who come from as far away as New Jersey tell her they feel as if they are in Greenwich Village or other spots in Manhattan when they visit Agape Blends in Jamaica.

For more information, visit www.agapeblendscoffee.com

Reach reporter Betsy Scheinbart by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300 Ext. 138.

Posted 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
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