Colorado's coffee-shop market may seem crowded, but a Honduras-based underdog is about to enter the fray, opening its first location in the U.S., right here in Denver. However, Espresso Americano is far from an upstart in Honduras, where 140 out of the chain's 165 locations are located. "We've been in the coffee industry for generations," says David Kubena, the company's director for North America. "We have our own 2,000-plus acre farm in Valparaiso, Honduras. We have a roastery... Coffee is in our blood." Kubena and crew are hoping that an upcoming location near the Denver Tech Center and another in the Landmark development in Greenwood Village will open the minds of local caffeine addicts.
"We actually researched three markets: Charlotte, North Carolina; Miami, and Denver -- and we chose Denver," says Kubena, whose office is in Westminster and who previously served as vice president of local coffee roasters Allegro. "Denver's at a unique time in coffee culture, and it's at a time where they're really embracing new brands. There's a lot of new energy in the coffee industry, and we really wanted to be part of that."
That's why Espresso Americano is retooling its coffee (50 percent of which comes from the family farm in Honduras) and its menu for American palates, and introducing a limited line of meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The first U.S. outlet is planned for the Village Plaza development at the Denver Tech center, slated to open before November, and another will open in mid-December in the former home of Espressole Cafe in the revived Landmark development in Greenwood Village.
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Even in a area plagued by Starbucks, Kubena believes a chain from Central America can make a splash. "You look at other countries -- they have multiple, multiple brands that are big players. And here in Denver and the U.S., we have one large player and a lot of smaller ones," he says. "I think there's definitely room."