[image-1]If you stepped into Tricera Coffee (41 A George St.) during their soft opening over the past month, you might have thought the dinosaur theme was a little underwhelming. There’s just one large bone above the espresso machine and two kitsch blue triceratops figurines standing sentry at each window. But that’s about to change says co-owner Robbie Dietrich. A fossilized triceratops rib and vertebrae bone will be installed today.

“The same guy who installed the dinosaur bones at the College of Charleston’s Natural History Museum is putting them up,” says Dietrich.

The reason for the delay? Dietrich was in a bidding war to buy them. In fact he lost the vertebrae eBay battle only to discover his Dad had secretly outbid him as a gift. But now the big bone has arrived and just in time for the shop’s May 20 grand opening. After five years operating as Cup – Fine Coffee & Roasters (you’ve probably seen them at various farmers markets), Dietrich and his wife/co-owner Esther Senft will celebrate the official opening of Tricera next Wedneday with plenty of bones, $2 Saffron Lattes all day, and free tasting of coffee from Dietrich’s family-owned coffee farm in Panama, Mt. Totumas Cloud Forest, from 4-6 p.m.  

Mt. Totumas Cloud Forest is a sustainable farm run by Dietrich’s uncle Jeffrey. “It’s not too often in the coffee business that you get to participate in more than a few aspects of the trade. We feel very privileged that we have a high elevation specialty grade coffee farm where we have full involvement in the growing, harvesting, and processing of those coffees,” says Senft in an email.

As for the triceratops theme, Dietrich says the concept was his sister’s idea. “First I thought, ‘Dinosaurs in Charleston?'” he admits. “That would be great in Colorado.” But after some brainstorming, the name Tricera came to mind. “It’s a little sexier, more mysterious, it could be Italian,” he laughs. And to add to the intrigue, Dietrich keeps smaller triceratops bones behind the counter for customers to examine while they wait for their drinks. We handled a fossilized ‘tops brow bone this morning that gave new meaning to enlarged supraorbital ridge. 

If you too have a yen for prehistoric life, Tricera is inviting the community to decorate the bathroom. “Anyone who feels inspired is invited to paint their interpretation of triceratops art and is more than welcome to come leave their mark,” Dietrich writes in an email. “There is already one customer-painted triceratops on the wall to jump start the trend, and to sweeten the deal Tricera is offering free refreshments while you paint.”