After months without a coffee option, RiNo food hall Zeppelin Station
has a new resident coffee shop. Procession Coffee
, which previously operated as a cart, opened a month ago in the space formerly occupied by Dandy Lion Coffee
. It joins five new food stalls as part of a recent revamp of the global food hall
. Procession will celebrate its opening with a party on Saturday, December 3.
Joshua Bosarge and Stephen Ashley met while attending high school outside of Houston sixteen years ago. Since then, they’ve collaborated on various projects together, including several bands and a publishing company. With twelve years of combined coffee experience, they decided to pool their talents and interests to create their own shop. Then COVID-19 hit and effectively put those plans on hold.
Although they’d spent most of their adult lives in Houston and, later, Austin, the two were prompted to look outside the state for new opportunities. They chose Denver because of its strong coffee community. “We wanted to go somewhere that shared our values more, and a better city for coffee," explains Bosarge.
After moving, Ashley jumped right into Denver’s coffee culture by building and managing the coffee program at Waldschänke Ciders + Coffee
, which was the Readers' Choice winner for Best New Coffeehouse
’s Best of Denver 2022. “I’ve tried and failed all sorts of things, but coffee was waiting in the wings for me,” Ashley says.
The friends continued to develop the idea for Procession as a side project, and finally launched a cart in January. They started doing pop-ups at RiNo men’s clothing store Steadbrook
, and were serving there twice a month until the opportunity to move into Zeppelin Station came along. They spent some time sprucing up the space and making it their own before opening to the public last month.
“Not only do we want to take care of this and make it our space, but we want to prove to everyone who’s been to this space before that there’s an actual coffee shop here that treats it as a craft, not a commodity,” says Bosarge.
While they hope to eventually tie in their Texas roots by showcasing coffee roasters they know from years in the business, Queen City currently supplies their coffee, a blend called Tight Rope, with half natural Rwandan and half Colombian beans. “We will have future guest roasters, especially from Texas, because that’s where we have a lot of friends and connections,” Bosarge notes. “It’s part of what makes us different.”
Procession's best-selling drink, the Blue Monday, features iced coffee mixed with blueberry-basil syrup and a splash of milk. The owners hope to offer a boozy version for their grand opening next weekend.
The drink menu is purposefully minimalist, offering just two types of milk (oat and whole) and no decaf, along with a limited number of syrups. Besides the standard vanilla, there are a few unique housemade options like chocolate rosemary maple and blueberry basil, which are infused in cold brew and topped with a splash of milk to make Procession's best-selling drink, the Blue Monday.
Bosarge and Ashley hope to expand the shop's food menu, as well. “We’re keeping the food pretty minimal, limited to pastries to start," says Ashley. “Right now we’re testing kolache recipes and breakfast tacos to hopefully bring in more substantial options for the weekends.”
Even though the business is new to the city, the duo has felt welcomed. “The coffee community here has been really awesome. It’s so easy to make friends here and build connections here. I don’t know if it’s because it’s such a transplant city, but we’ve been very welcomed,” says Ashley, whose former bosses at Waldschänke
were the first customers at Procession.
At its heart, Procession identifies as a punk coffee shop. “People might think it’s like dirty, off-the-wall-type stuff, but it’s more about the way we’re treating our business,” says Bosarge. To him, punk is about having a straightforward, transparent vibe. “We have what we have, and that’s it. If you don’t like us and the things that we offer, there are tons of other coffee shops nearby. We know we aren’t going to please every person, and we aren’t trying to. We want people to have fun with us. We want to invite them into our world."
To its owners, the punk piece really means “Trust us," Bosarge adds. "You came to your baristas because you want a good drink, so trust us to give you the best that there is versus something that’s mediocre. We’re always poking fun at ourselves and prodding our customers to have fun with us. We’re inviting them to be in the know with us. We’re all in this big inside joke together."
Patrons who get the Procession logo tattooed on their person receive free coffee for life.
And if you’re in the know and up for a little fun, you just might get free coffee. That’s because Procession is encouraging people to get its logo tattooed on their bodies. Those who do will receive free drip coffee for the duration of their — or Procession’s — life, whichever comes first. There are rules, of course: The tattoo must be visible (on an arm or leg — no butts). The offer entitles the tattooee to one 12-ounce coffee per day, and recipients must tip their barista a minimum of one dollar.
At the December 3 grand-opening party, Procession will join forces with Zeppelin Station’s Kiss and Ride to offer a boozy version of the Blue Monday, and will raffle off one flowerpot tattoo, which includes free coffee for life.
Procession Coffee is located inside Zeppelin Station, at 3501 Wazee Street, and is open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m daily. For more information, visit instagram.com/processioncoffee.