What: Inventive coffee options and a friendly atmosphere
Where: 1111 Broadway St., Suite 101, Denver
Neighborhood: The Golden Triangle
When: 7 a.m.- 4 p.m., every day
Pro: Creative concoctions made with high-quality coffee for the customer looking for coffee roasted out of state and a unique atmosphere
Con: Most outlets are located on the ceiling, making it slightly more difficult if you’d like to get work done.
Amethyst Coffee Co., a brand new coffee shop located on 11th and Broadway, evokes a welcoming yet unordinary vibe. There’s a deep purple cloth that accents the light fixture in one corner of the space, the ceiling-to-floor windows and completely white walls create a light and airy feel, and two women are running the show – unusual in the “boy’s club” coffee industry. But the out of the ordinary feel is not at all worrying for Owner Elle Taylor; rather, it’s the kind of space she’s aiming to create….
The 25-year-old discovered her passion for coffee while pursuing a songwriting degree at Berklee College of Music in Boston. “I just found that I really got sucked in,” says Taylor of her discovery that she was passionate about being a barista. Despite the seeming lack of obvious correlation between her degree and her new passion, she feels that her degree isn’t entirely unrelated. “I had to learn a lot about being in front of people and defending what you do. People will ask, ‘Why don’t you have this or this or this,’ and well, we chose to do it this way,” explains Taylor, “Not everyone will love it and that’s ok.”
As someone who is uninterested in roasting her own coffee, Taylor also found that when she informs someone she works as a barista, people they ask what else she does. “There’s not really the space to talk about being a barista forever,” says Taylor, “I want the idea of a professional barista, someone that doesn’t want to roast coffee and buy grains and do all of that…[I want to] make that a thing.”
Taylor is passionate about her work, and if that means she gets notoriety as a female running her own coffee shop, that’s secondary to her success as a barista and business owner. “The recognition for being a woman comes from being good at what you do,” says Taylor. In addition, she loves the people she has worked with to get to this point, and they are what make it, not only worth the effort but successful. In regards to her coworkers Annie Leak and Brady Guinn she says, “Building something comes from the people you build it with, and there’s nobody else I’d want to start this with.”
Taylor strives to provide customers with options that are difficult to find here. She explains that Colorado has so many wonderful roasters, that good quality out of state coffee can be hard to find. While she always keeps Commonwealth Coffee on hand, she makes sure that there is always an out of state “guest roaster” available. To manage the different coffee options she wants to provide, she doesn’t pour an entire bag of beans into a grinder, but rather pours a single serving at a time.
At Amethyst, customers can choose any espresso as a pour over, a cold brew, mixed with milk, but the ladies at Amethyst have also created a new espresso-based drink to try: The Shakerato. This is espresso and flavored simple syrup shaken over ice in a cocktail shaker. The result is an aerated drink that resembles tea more than it does coffee. It’s an interesting drink that’s perfect for the coffee connoisseur who wants to try something new. It wouldn’t be the drink for a customer looking for familiarity or a typical coffee taste, however, and Taylor is looking to address this. “We’re slowly learning how to bridge that gap between doing something really creative and satisfying for us, but also doing something that can be really comfortable and approachable,” she explains.
One of the more approachable items on the menu is Taylor’s variation on a mocha. Typically this customer favorite is made with chocolate syrup, espresso, and milk, however at Amethyst Coffee Co. the mocha is made with espresso and chocolate milk. The result is a subtle chocolate accent that pairs nicely with the espresso without being too sweet. It’s a refreshing take on a coffee classic. In addition to the beverages, Amethyst offers delicious macarons and croissants made by Melissa Yanc and the small batch pastry production team at Sugar Vision.
The space has just as much thought put into it as the menu, emanating a very different vibe than many other coffee shops. With very simple decor, most of it woodworking designed by Justin Pollom of Twig Woodwork, and purple accents in reference to the name, the space does not have the earthy vibe present at most coffee shops. “I wanted it to have an inherently feminine feel,” says Taylor in reference to the name as well as the mood of the shop.
Taylor loves dressing nicely to work, often wearing dresses, and has created the hashtag #baristachic. “As much as it is a joke, it’s not a joke,” she says, explaining that she wants coffee culture to be accessible for people who want to dress nicely and for women who would like to express their femininity. Female baristas have come to Amethyst and mentioned how they felt they could wear a dress if they worked there – something they don’t feel comfortable within the typical masculine space of many coffee shops. “That was really interesting to hear because I never really thought about the spatial implications of that idea, and how you present yourself,” says Taylor.
All photography by Lindsey Bartlett.