Word of Mouth

Aviano Coffee delivers on promise to take Denver coffee to a whole new level

We got a little too hopped up on caffeine this weekend -- to the point of heart palpitations, in fact -- because we couldn't stop sucking down the cappuccinos at Aviano Coffee, 3031 East Second Avenue, which reopened a month ago in a former Peaberry's shop in Cherry Creek.

The drink was a perfect meditation on what a cappuccino should be: two ounces of dark espresso, two ounces of whole milk and two ounces of whole milk foam, which was smooth, creamy and dense enough to create a lovely rosetta or heart on the top. (Incidentally, if you're ordering your cappuccinos with skim milk, you're cheating yourself out of the full expression of the drink; the lack of fat makes it impossible to create real foam.)

That Aviano pours good coffee is old news; the coffee shop established its caffeine cred back when it was in the Beauvallon. But in its new digs, Aviano has raised the bar (no pun intended).

There's a reason cappuccinos here are so good. The shop is the only Colorado café to source Intelligentsia beans, a roaster out of Chicago with a cultish following that has just six shops in the country -- three in the Windy City and now three in L.A. That in and of itself gets the place a lot of the way to a well-pulled shot, but owner Doug Naiman also trained with the obsessive staff of Intelligentsia, which is so feverish about crafting drinks that they'll throw out any latte or cappuccino that doesn't have art. Because art, it turns out, is a reflection of how well the foam is made.

Aviano takes similar pride in its work, and now that it's serving the Cherry Creek neighborhood, it's pulled out all the stops, eliminating blended drinks and insisting that patrons enjoy espresso shots immediately, and in porcelain.

We're glad. It's always fun to see a phase two that blows phase one out of the water.