With the city of Denver now hosting the first of its own coffee roasters, some locals have begun to question the viability of an industry that could ultimately bring in much-needed revenue.
While many cities already have their own cafes and shops, many of those don’t offer the variety of specialty coffee that Denver has, such as espresso and cappuccino.
“The demand for specialty coffee is so strong,” said Kevin Jaffe, the president of the Denver-based Coffee Company of America, which operates more than 30 roasters in Denver and its surrounding area.
Jaffe said the demand for espresso has driven the rise of Denver’s specialty coffee industry, but added that he hopes Denver will eventually get its own “specialty coffee.”
The city has already embraced a trend of espresso makers that have been around since the 1990s.
In fact, Denver-area coffee roaster Steve Stahl was named Denver’s 2016 espresso bar of the year, beating out a handful of other contenders.
But Stahl, who started the company in 2011, says his business model has changed over the years.
“There’s just not that much demand for a traditional roaster,” he said.
“We’re really in a transition right now, which is why I’ve been looking for a place to do our roasting.”
Stahl has found a location that can serve up his specialty coffee, called Café Coffee Roasters.
The cafe, which opened this month in the former Bluebird Cafe building, has about 150 employees.
“It’s like a family,” said Stahl.
“You have a team of guys and a team that is dedicated to getting their coffee and espresso up to the standards that they’re going for.”
The coffee shop also offers other types of coffee including espresso, cappucino and a coffee with a touch of caramel.
The coffee is brewed with a special espresso blend called “Coffee Blend,” which includes espresso beans from Denver and Denver-sourced coffee from around the world.
Jaffa said his roaster has been serving coffee for about five years.
But his customers are just as excited to get their first cup as they are to taste the flavor profile of the coffee.
“When we started, we thought we’d be here forever,” said Jaffi.
“People were saying we’d go to the top of the world, but we’re here now.”