Whole Latte Love

A power couple trades club life and magazine making for a new grind — a budding international coffee empire.

Jhane Hoang
JH1_3883

Whether you are a Newstonian or a life-long resident, at some point or another you may have danced at a club, flipped through the pages of a glossy mag, or sipped java from a coffee shop, all run by Michael and/or Diane Caplan. The power couple has managed to put together a colorful portfolio as entrepreneurs in Houston, building a foundation along the way for their dream business — and dream lifestyle.


“I was running nightclubs for so long,” says Michael, 52, who garnered success with Uropa (later Mercer), Grasshopper and Jet Lounge over 15 years — and then ditched cocktails in favor of caffeine. “I knew I wanted to stay in the hospitality business, and I had a real passion for coffee.” He opened Siphon Coffee in 2014, later selling his share to his business partner, then Cavo Coffee in the base of an office building in Greenway Plaza last year.

Similarly, Diane, 48, left her public post as publisher of Houstonia to pursue her own interests — and invest in her and Michael’s labor of love — launching Bright Catch Media, a local, multi-purpose media firm, housed in the same building as Cavo, five floors up.

“She helps me a lot behind the scenes,” he says, noting Diane’s expertise in marketing their growing brand, including a successful pop-up at River Oaks District over the holiday season and recent expansion into the world of catering with the addition of a customized Cavo coffee cart for use at corporate and social events.

But it doesn’t stop there. This month, the duo opens Cleo Roasting Co. near Rice University, next-door to a new second location of Cavo. The coffee shop will have a glass partition through which guests can peer into Cleo and glimpse the process of roasting the “finest single-origin beans,” says Michael. “At Cleo, I hope to be able to show people who really enjoy coffee more about it and how it’s roasted.”

For now, Diane and Michael’s teamwork is making the dream work. But in a few years they hope to pursue a new dream — a home with their babies, French bulldogs Cavo and Cleo (natch), across the border. “We have been working our tails off,” says Diane. “We really want to grow the roasting side of our business in the next few years, and then get a house in Tulum.”

Michael acknowledges the hard-working people he has working alongside him and Diane, saying he wants to offer them more responsibilities and more opportunities.

“Hopefully, more Cavos for Houston, and Mexico for us,” he laughs. “That’s our next dream.”

Business+Innovation
Duos, Trios and Teams: ‘Next-Generation’ Mother-Daughter Leppert Duo Debuts

Clare Leppert and Clementine, the Cavachon. Leigh Leppert and Benny, the Bernedoodle.

HOW DID YOU come together as a team? This fall, we are celebrating the introduction of an exciting real estate collaboration between Clare Leppert, longtime Houston Realtor®, and daughter Leigh Leppert. Clare shared a 20+ year real estate partnership with her mother, Bette Carpenter, until Bette’s death in 2016. Having worked solo for several years, Clare in 2021 was awarded Houston Business Journal’s No. 2 Luxury Realtor® in Houston. Leigh, who has been working in marketing for the past decade, has always shared a passion for real estate and watched Clare successfully balance family and career. We are excited to re-create the next generation of a mother-daughter duo at Compass!

Keep ReadingShow less

Ben Berg (photo by Douglas Burns)

THE NEW YEAR has already yielded its fair share of tastebud-tingling headlines — and here's a few more! From a prolific restaurateur's big announcement to a Houston institution's ambitious expansion, catch up on all the latest below.

Keep ReadingShow less
Food

Wiley's 'Judith and Holofernes'

THE ENERGY IN the foyer of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s Caroline Wiess Law Building is quite lively, thanks to the installation of two provocative paintings, painted 400 years apart — one by Artemisia Gentileschi, an Italian 17th-century female artist, the other by Kehinde Wiley, a contemporary, Nigerian-born queer Black artist. Each depicts the grisly climax in the Old Testament Book of Judith, in which the widow Judith decapitates the Assyrian general Holofernes, thus saving her besieged Jewish city of Betulia.

Keep ReadingShow less
Art + Entertainment