The secret to small-batch or craft coffee roasting is flexibility — because while mass-production facilities are trying to carbon-copy their signature blends, the coffee geeks are trying to improve with each batch. “It’s an agricultural product,” explains Peter Wanburg, owner of Jubilee Roasting Co. “Instead of trying to mask intricacies and create a product that is ubiquitous, we look at how we can uncover unique subtleties and shoot for the same flavor profile.”
Local coffee roasters are constantly making subtle tweaks and improvements to the beans they roast, whether it be a new blend or a stalwart offering. In addition to stimulating the whole supply chain, from international purchases of green coffee beans to teams of local employees, your
Here are five roasters in the Denver metro area proving that small is good, from established cafes that have recently begun roasting to wholesale roasters with brick-and-mortar aspirations.
1. Hunter Bay Coffee Roasters
5600 Olde Wadsworth Boulevard, Arvada
Although this Missoula-based coffee roaster just expanded to Denver last month, that’s been the plan for years. A Colorado native, owner Rob Young has been working to get his signature blends back to his home state. His good friend A.J. Payne is roasting on site at the new shop in Arvada to fuel local customers and provide coffee for all Colorado Sprouts locations; Hunter Bay is the first local roaster to be featured in the grocery chain's coffee section. If you stop by the shop, try the Praying Monk blend. Made from crops grown in Papua New Guinea and Ethiopia, the light flavor with blueberry undertones provides a rich, balanced cup that will not disappoint.
2. Method Roasters
Two Colorado natives have been running this operation out of a warehouse in Globeville since 2013, roasting beans for more than thirty notable businesses — like the Denver Bicycle Cafe and the Art Gym. While Method beans make for a good hot cup of coffee any way you roast it, the cold brew is strikingly exceptional. The company distributes its cold brew in kegs to hot spots like Rosenberg’s Bagels and Deli; the product pours similar to Guinness, with a rich foam cascading in the creamy cup o’ joe. With plans to open up a brick-and-mortar shop in July of this year (the location is still under wraps), owners Alex Rawal and Kade Gianinetti are experimenting with canned cold brew, so you'll be able to stop in and pick up a six-pack.
3. Logan House Coffee Co.
2501 Dallas Street, Aurora
What started as a coffee delivery business, roasting fresh beans at a warehouse in RiNo about 24 hours before delivering them to your door in reusable wine bottles, has now expanded to a new shop inside the Stanley Marketplace. Relocating the roasting facility invited a unique opportunity to further develop staple blends. “Our medium roast tastes better here, and I didn’t think there was any room to grow with that one,” co-founder Andre Janusz admits. He thinks it may have something to do with a slightly more humid environment, but either way, he’s rolling with it.
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4. Purple Door Coffee
2962 Welton Street
This civic-minded shop on Welton Street has been hiring homeless youth to work as baristas since 2013. In an effort to diversify its job-training program, the shop added coffee roasting to the mix about a year ago. In a slow build, Purple Door just started roasting at a warehouse in Englewood last month and plans to hire three new “street kids,” as they call themselves, to learn the trade by the end of January. “It will help diversify what we do and get some different kinds of kids in here who may not necessarily be customer-service-oriented,” program director Katie Koehler explains. She runs the year-long apprenticeship program that teaches everything from work ethic to healthy eating. Now participants will have the option to start in the warehouse and move to the cafe to round out their coffee experience.
5. Jubilee Roasting Co.
1452 Kenton Street, Aurora
When the founder and now owner of Jubilee Roasting Co., Peter