Local company, MiddleState Coffee is expanding from Little Owl Coffee in LoDo by building their own roasting and tasting room on 4th and Broadway.
Jay DeRose, MiddleState Coffee, and Seanna Forey, Little Owl Coffee, merged companies about two years ago. Little Owl is a retail shop, while MiddleState is a craft coffee roastery.
The new roasting room will be three times the size of the current 200-square-foot one in the backroom of Steadbrook, a men’s clothing boutique. DeRose also plans on opening a tasting room for free tastings to friends and bystanders. It will not be a full-fledged cafe, however.
“It’ll just be for people in the know,” he said in an interview with BusinessDen. “But I think there are going to be a lot of people in the know.”
As a former barista and co-founder of MiddleState, DeRose knows the importance of coffee done right.
Consumers will be able to go to the roastery and get knowledge of how to make coffee and why coffee is priced the way it is. There will also be someone from the coffee industry to make coffee and DeRose plans on having a sensory lab for coffee professionals to learn.
“If a consumer shows up it’s not full service. Consumers try out our equipment or come into learn about why specialty coffee is priced the way it is,” he said.
DeRose plans on storing unroasted beans in the basement of the room, then lifting the beans to the ground floor via dumbwaiter where they’ll be fed to a 1950’s German roaster in the middle of the room. Visitors would stand at countertops around the centered roaster.
The roaster plus an espresso machine creates a tasting room, which can comfortably fit 12 people at a time.
The room has passed inspections to roast so once DeRose gets the roasting machine in July, the roastery at 17th E. 4th Avenue will be in full swing.
“It’s kind of like our little lab,” DeRose said. “I have plans for the future to giveaway shares of equity to employees. I just want to take care of my employees really well. It’s hard to start your own business, I feel like when I find good people work for me, I just want to keep them around and reward them and more invested in the thing. I think Denver is lacking the opportunity for people to make a career out of it. But I know I’m not the only one.”