Allegro Coffee Company has been a staple for Colorado coffee drinkers for decades; the company started in Boulder in 1977 and began importing and roasting its own beans in 1985. And while Allegro coffee has been available at plenty of coffee shops, restaurants and grocery stores, until now there hasn't been a stand-alone coffeehouse. But come November 15, that will change: The company is opening Allegro Coffee Roasters (or just ACR), at the corner of Tennyson Street and West 41st Avenue in a space that had long been a neighborhood hardware store.
The focal point of the new shop will be an in-house coffee-roasting machine that will roast nineteen different varieties of beans. Head roaster Olivia Miles, who previously worked for Blue Bottle Coffee in Oakland, California, says that ACR is installing a Loring drum roaster (the first of its kind in Colorado) that's both efficient and environmentally friendly. Miles will roast micro-lot, single-origin coffee beans that will then be ground and turned into pour-over, cold-brew and espresso-based drinks by Allegro baristas behind a thirty-foot marble bar.
The 4,000 square-foot space will retain a few elements of the old hardware store, including the original hardwood floors and painted advertisements on the walls. But the latest coffee-serving technology will be installed, from a ModBar pour-over station to a custom La Marzocco espresso machine to Micro-matic wall taps. Community and education are a big part of the company's mission, Mile points out, so stadium seating is being installed to facilitate tastings, coffee classes and other events.
"It will be very sunlit, with as much of an open feel as possible," Miles says. Garage doors will open onto additional patio seating and additional windows were added to the original architecture, which dates to 1917.
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Modern coffee trends tend toward lighter roasts that accentuate terroir and subtle flavors from the beans, and Allegro offers a variety of roasts and regions to satisfy the tastes of its customers. "Things like that are a reflection of the kind of conversation you can have with our baristas," Miles explains. All of the ACR team will be trained to help customers pinpoint their preferences.
"We're hoping to make Tennyson Street a coffee destination," adds Allegro marketing programs lead Stephanie Kiernan. ACR will also have a small kitchen and will offer a menu of small bites, pastries and grab-and-go items.
ACR has already opened two roasters inside Whole Foods Markets in California and New York, and this Berkeley location will also provide a dozen coffee varieties to ten regional Whole Foods stores beginning in 2016.