The Berkeley neighborhood's newest coffeehouse, Allegro Coffee Roasters, opens tomorrow at 8 a.m. at the corner of Tennyson Street and 41st Avenue, featuring nineteen different micro-lot coffees roasted in-house. This is Allegro's first freestanding coffeehouse and the third Allegro Coffee Roasters (or ACR) in the country, with the other two located in Whole Foods Markets in Brooklyn, New York and Berkeley, California — giving Denver's northwest neighborhood considerable trendsetting cachet.
Allegro was founded in Boulder in 1977 and purchased by Whole Foods in 1997. The new ACR brand was created to feature small-batch roasted beans from very small producers and coffee regions throughout the world. As an example, ACR's Panama Esmarelda 1500 Gesha is made from beans that originated in a small Ethiopian village and that are harvested from a very narrow band of elevation on an estate in Panama. There's also a unique offering of the first coffee beans grown in northern Thailand and Los Alpes from El Salvadoran coffee celeb Aida Batlle.
The house espresso blend is called Mister Twister, after the famous roller coaster that loomed over the original Elitch Gardens just south of 38th Avenue. Coffee will be available in a number of formats, including espresso drinks pulled from a custom La Marzocca machine imported from Italy, pour-over coffee using ModBar technology, and nitro-cold-brewed coffee on tap. If you're a tea drinker, Allegro's own line of teas will be brewed in a state-of-the-art BKon vacuum chamber, a machine that somehow manages to turn tea-making into a fun spectator activity.
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ACR occupies a former hardware store in a space that dates to 1917. The hardwood floors, ceiling beams and brick walls — some with vintage advertisements still showing — are all original. Allegro added a thirty-foot tile, marble and brass coffee bar and a compact Loring recirculation roaster. The machine is the only one of its kind in Colorado (at least for a few more months) and is designed with energy savings and roasting efficiency in mind. Head roaster Olivia Miles will soon be producing enough roasted coffee to supply area Whole Foods locations as well as the customers at ACR.
The cafe itself is spacious and spartan in decor, with plenty of seating spread out in two rooms and with bleacher seats along the front windows to provide good views for special events like demonstrations and lectures. There are also bench seats outside at the front of the shop, and all of the windows facing Tennyson will open when the weather permits.
After tomorrow, Allegro will be open daily from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. with a small selection of house-made breakfast and lunch items. Keep reading for more photos of the beverages, interior and roasting facilities.