I remember last August: I had been working in the Denver Tech Center for about six months. Six months of treating clients to countless coffee and lunch meetings.
I always felt obligated to opt for the typical “Green Mermaid” coffee shop, where the incredibly overcrowded, stuffy and corporate atmosphere just never felt like my home shop.
Now, I grew up in Colorado Springs, and much like every other Denver neighborhood, there is a plethora of neighborhood coffee shops that just feel like home. The Denver Tech Center was severely lacking in that area.
Six months into the job, I was longing for that same home shop feel where I could go to escape my office. I began texting friends, begging for some insight into where the secret coffee shops were, but they all came back with the same suggestions of the corporate shops or a text saying:
“let me know when you find one because I have been looking for the same.”
It was September when I began to see hope for a home coffee shop. I was at the barbershop, and there was a frenzy of workers hammering, sawing, and drilling right next door. The rumors were that a coffee shop was to fill the vacant spot that once housed a cell phone store.
I was excited. It took two months for my patience to pay off in the form of the coffee shop called Espresso Americano. Definitely worth the wait.
You may drive by this little unassuming shopping center on your way into work, or pass by Espresso Americano on your way to Illegal Pete’s, a not-so-distant neighbor, but I assure you that you are missing out on a secret gem within the DTC area.
The first thing you will notice as you walk into Espresso Americano is the staff is so friendly.
Not even a week after I had decided to make Espresso Americano my home coffee shop, I had become known on a first-name basis. I had to learn the story of this place. Aaron, the store manager and original start-up team member, explained to me that Espresso Americano is a household name in Honduras.
When the company wanted to expand to the United States, Denver was the obvious choice. They started with the store located at 5322 DTC Boulevard. The company quickly followed up with a location at The Landmark Shopping Center, and is in the process of opening stores on 16th Street Mall, as well as two other locations in Colorado.
The entire company is owned by one family.
They also own the farms that grow a good majority of the beans used in their coffee; they own the mills, the roasters, the packing operations, as well as the shipping processes of all the coffee. This family truly wants to ensure that they are putting the best coffee in front of each and every customer who walks in that door.
When asked what was their biggest struggle in gaining a foothold in the DTC area, Aaron said,
“Breaking people’s habits. Chances are most commuters will pass at least one other coffee shop on the way to work, so it’s a habit for them to make a stop.”
When I asked him what finally broke that habit for most of their regulars, he simply responded, “Our espresso.”
Caleb, the first supervisor hired here in America, sings similar praises for the espresso. I asked him about his favorite drink to make, and he said, “Any iced drink with our espresso in it. Serving it cold just unlocks an entirely new flavor profile.” Aaron prefers more complicated drinks that show off his mixing prowess, but opts for the dark roast drip coffee when he gets a chance to sit down with a cup of his own.
As I interviewed Aaron, Caleb, and Sal (Operations Manager), they stated that they all wanted to create a welcoming aura about the shop that enticed people to become regulars. They want a shop feel that is more relational than it is transactional, unlike the other shops in the area (which, to me, feel entirely transactional).
The décor of this shop echoes those intentions.
It is hip, without being trendy. It has a great open floorplan, with a cozy wood feel, but the ceiling carries the open industrial look. The tile work and coffee bean photos on the walls, the wooden shelves, and the granite counters all make you feel some type of way as soon as you set foot in the shop. It keeps you wanting to come back.
As you approach the counter, there is a pastry display case that displays all of your temptations. If it is a sweet treat that you are craving, I suggest you try their Limoncello Cake.
If you are craving savory, opt for the Denver Quiche or one of their breakfast sandwiches. Every one of their food items that I have tried have left me blotting up the crumbs with my thumb. I cannot seem to get enough!
I could go on and on about this coffee shop or brag about how I was one of the first to find it, but alas, I am painfully low on my cappuccino and must make another trip to the counter.
Whether you are a fan of coffee, teas, or espresso drinks, I can assure you that there will be no disappointments in their selection. If you have any additional questions, perhaps you will have to just go and ask the friendly staff for yourself.