Barista Magazine

JUN-JUL 2018

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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Page 32 of 107

D E N V E R MY OWN PERSONAL JOURNEY into coffee began in 2012, when a diagnosis of celiac disease threw me under the beer bus and I became desperate to fi nd a similarly complex, handcrafted beverage. Never a fan of wine (gasp) I fell deeply for specialty coffee, and spent six weeks exploring and learning across Turkey. Sans milk, sugar, and any regard for my resting heart rate, my foray has turned from fascina- tion into a working hobby. I live on the less populated Western Slope of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, and like many others, often turn to Denver for a proverbial toke of culture. When I fi rst started exploring the burgeoning Colorado coffee scene, Denver offered only a smattering of specialty-coffee roasters. Quality shops were few and far between, and Craig Conner of Pablo's fame was considered the father of it all. Craig and friend Kris Kluver opened their fi rst shop in 1995 inside the Denver Performing Arts Center. Hailing from "nowhere particularly exciting in the Midwest," as he puts it, Craig always knew he wanted to work for himself, though he had no interest in the restaurant or bar scene. He went on to inter- view loads of professionals to get a lead on a possible work path, and today Craig says that only the coffee guys were encouraging. "They told me the customers are great and you can bring value to the prod- uct," he recalls. "I was so young I never took the time to be nervous. It was a do-or-die situation with no opportunity to exit." Craig and Kris sold their houses and maxed out their credit cards to get Pablo's up and running. When he opened the shop, Craig was sleeping on a couch in the back and showering at the hotel across the street. Now the sole owner of the company, Craig has two locations in ad- dition to the new headquarters on East Colfax, which opened in April complete with a bright and airy lab and commercial roastery. Known for a steady stream of blends as well as rotating seasonal single-or- igins, Pablo's has a regular following for a reason. Whether you hit up their spot at the junction of Sixth and Washington, or the textural, Opposite page, top: The "Love This City" mural by Pat Milbery, Jason T. Graves, Pat McKinney, and Remington Robinson of So-Gnar Creative Division was created for Visit Denver and is located at the triangular intersection of Park Avenue, Broadway, and Arapahoe Street. Not only has the Mile High City's coff ee scene exploded, public art has become a mainstay in developing districts across Denver. Locals and tourists regularly visit areas like Five Points and the RiNo Art District to experience the ever-changing "canvases" across the city. The group recently fi nished a giant project in collaboration with Denver Public Schools for "Be er World Day." Their other creations can be found on buildings, bars, and coff ee shops throughout Denver. Below: Chris Gullicksen readies an order at Crema Coff ee House. Crema was founded by Noah Price and Jonathan Power, who later opened the beloved The Populist restaurant in 2014 just down the street. Noah then opened the food-truck favorite, Finn's Manor. Crema off ers amazing food including their coveted bruleed grapefruit and assortment of rotating pastries and salads. This page: Roman DeShong and Elle Jensen assist an Amethyst Coff ee regular at the shop in the Golden Triangle. Elle and her team have been busy working on summer menus and a café build-out. In May, Amethyst's featured guest roaster was Melbourne, Australia, and Portland, Ore.-based Proud Mary, and fresh summer beer options are ready at the helm. The se cond Amethyst location is set to open in June. And if Amethyst isn't busy enough, the team is working on a tasting room at the shared event space, Realm, set to open early fall 2018. 33

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