Category: City

Queen City Collective Coffee – Denver

Queen City Collective Coffee – Denver

Queen City Collective Coffee only opened as recently as mid-2018, but the history and experience leading up to its opening date back a fair span of years. PS for the best Brazilian coffee beans list, have a look at ours.

Who Are the Byington Brothers?

Located in Denver, Colorado, Queen City was formed by the three Byington brothers, Luke, Scott, and Eric. Their separate experiences come together to make the business into what it is and what it stands for.

Before jumping into the coffee industry, Eric and Scott helped start-up and run the Elias Fund, which is an organization that benefits the disadvantaged citizens in Zimbabwe; and Scott eventually pursued a master’s degree in rural environmental sociology.

They Finally Join Forces

Meanwhile, Luke was working as a coffee roaster for Allegro Coffee. Over the course of time, Luke conjured and brought the idea to his brothers to join collective forces and create their own business.

While Queen City Collective Coffee is made up of a collection of the brothers and their expertise, the “collective” part of the name has broader connotations. 

Denver is the Queen city of the Plains

Queen City has community in mind, and not just that of Denver, which has otherwise been known as the “Queen City of the Plains” in the past. Relevant to their experience, Queen City heavily involves themselves with rural African communities.

Naturally, it is the source of their coffee beans, but Queen City’s care and involvement in the process is next level. They source their supplies directly, but many other businesses do this, and in Queen’s eyes, the process stopping there would be an insult.

The Emerge Themselves into their Coffee Suppliers Community

They create genuine friendships with their suppliers. They do not just visit the farm and take a look at things; they actually experience life there, spending ample amounts of time simply doing normal things with the community. 

Some of the proceeds from Queen City’s cafe go directly to the benefit of African communities, but a portion of this has an even more specific benefactor, and that is women run farms.

“Made By Her” is Exclusively Sourced from Women

Seeing women as a pinnacle of community formation, as well as under-paid and disrespected, much of Queen City’s coffee is certified as “Made By HER.” You will see a stamp displaying this on many of their packaged beans; though this is not to say that they exclusively source from women. 

The fruits of this lengthy and rewarding process come as coffee beverages served in the space they share with the brewery, Novel Strand. The two businesses’ hours of operation only overlap shortly over the weekend, but the brick and cinder-block building has no trouble holding both.

Featuring Only 9 Types of Coffees

Here you can acquire standard coffee beverages that hold the quality ensured by the deep involvement of its brewers. Though available in different roasts, the menu only features nine types of items: drip coffee, espresso, cortados, cappuccinos, lattes, nitro cold brew, tea, chai, and the standout drink know as the Dark Star; which is a mix of cold brew and Mexican Coke.

Come Try a Coffee and Support the African Community

With the handful of pastries on-hand, the list of cafe commonalities is complete. Whether you want to benefit the African communities they work with, or taste the products of extensive care and expertise, Queen City Collective Coffee has something to give.

Address

305 W 1st Ave, Denver, Colorado, 80223.

Huckleberry Roasters – Denver

Huckleberry Roasters – Denver

In 2011, Mark Mann and Koan Goedman began roasting coffee out of a garage. What was once just a mere fun side-project is now a fully involved, well-to-do business in Denver, Colorado, called Huckleberry Roasters.

For a bold mug of morning brew, try Brazilian coffee recommendations on t his page.

Friendship is the Foundation!

The business was started out of friendship, and continues to exercise this, not just between its owners, staff, and customers, but with the world at large.  Huckleberry roasters involves itself with businesses and programs that benefit people of all and any sort, not just those related to the coffee industry.

Having Fun Competitions to Benefit Non Profits

One recent example is the event that was held in June of 2019. Titled “Colorado’s Okayest Barista”, this is a fun competition Huckleberry hopes to make into an annual function.

Partnering with the local non-profit, HeyDenver, the competition allows for anyone to join in coffee-related challenges like latte art, triangulation, and more.

All of the proceeds benefit HeyDenver, which provides free STI and HIV tests regardless of if a person has insurance or not. This is just one example of Huckleberry’s efforts, and it follows them into their coffee sourcing. 

Works Directly with the Farmers and Has Strong Relationships with them

By opting out of exclusively sourcing through Fair Trade contracts, Huckleberry can and does pay the farmers they directly work with wages that exceed what Fair Trade would allow. They do this not only to create strong relationships with their suppliers, but also to make the most impact.

Huckleberry only works with those that use sustainable means, but they also focus on those that demonstrate the ability to make an impact in the local economies the farms are situated.  Huckleberry’s friendly nature extends to their cafes’ aesthetics. Each of their two locations are different in appearance.

2 Amazing Locations that Look Nothing Alike

The newest addition, found in the bustling business hub of downtown Denver, Dairy Block, is of a more modern look, with the white, black, and concrete attributes adorning the furniture, bar, and building structure; but it retains the fun, laid-back demeanor that the other cafe’s appearance broadcasts.

Located in the neighborhood of Sunnyside, this was Huckleberry’s first cafe. While white and black are still present, there is a lot more color. One wall is painted in a swirly rainbow of color and reads “Don’t stop, get it, get it.” Similar nonchalant sayings can be found in pictures throughout, like the one that says, “My boss is a bad person.”

Different Menus at Each Location

It is hard not to smile when reading that.  The difference between the two shops’ offerings is small, with the Sunnyside cafe having a bit more food such as toasts, hummus, and waffles, and the Dairy Block location serving coffee ice-cream shakes, but both serve tea, chai, kombucha, and Huckleberry’s local and worldwide-sourced roasts.

These are made into an array of usual beverages, such as macchiatos, mochas, lattes, espresso, and coffee of both drip and aeropresso forms; but the standouts are offered as seasonal drinks, such as the summer beverage, the self-explanatory cold brew limeade.

Final Thoughts

Often, their seasonal drinks combine the normal coffee options with unusual additives like the aforementioned limeade, tonic water, or lemon juice. To help make an impact yourself or to try a beverage formed in friendship, visit Huckleberry Roasters.  

Address

4301 Pecos St, or 1800 Wazee St, Denver, Colorado.

Pinwheel Coffee – Denver

Pinwheel Coffee – Denver

Pinwheel Coffee is an extraordinarily unique coffee shop and cafe, both in terms of how it is operated and what it supports. Located in Denver, Colorado, the idea that is Pinwheel Coffee found itself fully formed and ready to serve the public as of October 31st of 2017. To pair your coffee, try it with coffee candy!

Owned & Operated By Montessori Students

It is a staple of the Sunnyside neighborhood, though not just due to the frequent visits by the area’s residents, but rather because almost a mile away are the middle and high schools that own and operate it. 

Providing the Best Hands On Education

The Montessori schools are innovative in that they put prominent focus on hands-on learning methods. The concept to form a coffee shop started as an inkling of an idea, but eventually gained the support of the local non-profit business that often works with the schools, Great Work Inc.

Cooperatively, they built the business that now provides hands-on education for students, and funds school programs.

The Kids are Learning Accounting, Interior Design and Marketing

Great Work Inc. handled the architecture of the building, but the students are placed in charge of the majority beyond that. Operating a coffee shop educates students in things beyond brewing quality cups of coffee, as they intertwine themselves in the shop’s accounting, interior design, and marketing. 

The name and symbol of Pinwheel were created by the students and represent the inclusivity that is at the heart of the schools, as they boast a wide cultural demographic.

Created in the colors of a rainbow, Pinwheel’s progressive-oriented pinwheels are strewn across the entire back wall of the store, spinning as customers enter.

Not Only Serving Up Delicious Brew but Also Selling Hand-Crafted Goods

The students worked with different businesses to gather the store’s furnishings, such as the light-wooden tables, cushioned chairs that sit along the front window-wall, and cozy couches.

Furthermore, the students craft the goods that are sold in store, including soap, lotions, picture frames, bookmarks, postcards, and of course, the beverages. 

Come Try Their Specialty Drink Called the Rising Phoenix!

Serving roasts from Middle State Coffee, the students brew americanos, espresso, mochas, cappuccinos, cold brew of normal and nitro varieties, and Pinwheel’s specialty beverage known as the “Rising Phoenix.”

This is a coffee mixed with nutmeg, cinnamon, coconut oil, and butter. It is a rich drink, and Pinwheel serves similar but different beverages during different seasons.

The non-coffee they serve consists of apple cider, tea, chai, kombucha, and a variety of pastries provided by Sugar Bakeshop, completing the roster of standard coffee shop attributes. 

See the Students Hard at Work Between 9-11am

Pinwheel Coffee’s hours of operation range from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. during the week, and only until 4:00 p.m. on the weekends. During the week, the students enrolled in the related courses only occupy the shop between 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

They Employ Former Students Too

As a full-fledged business, it is not possible to sustain itself with only two hours of operation. Therefore, during the remaining hours, Pinwheel employs full-time baristas, much of whom are former students themselves.

Pinwheel Coffee and the Montessori schools are in the coffee business and the practice of teaching student’s real world skills. The fact that former students are now employed there are proof that the teachings are creating practical skillsets that benefit the students well into their lives after graduating.

Final Thoughts

You can test out the products of the students’ schooling, or donate to the program.  This is the kind of schooling that should be happening all over the US. Teaching kids real work skills is essential to know before graduating.

Address

3659 Navajo Street, Denver, Colorado, 80211.