In an inconspicuous corner of Denver’s bustling Sante Fe Drive, a breezy garage-style entryway opens up to the sound of steaming milk and roasting beans — it’s Copper Door Coffee Roaster’s newest location — where java excellence meets fabulous service.
“We’ve been looking to expand for over a year and a half,” said owner and entrepreneur Hannah Ulbrich. “The coffee experience is so personal that I had to find the perfect location, the type of place that feels right in your gut.”
Ulbrich’s first Copper Door location was Denver’s first female-owned roastery. Since her first location, Ulbrich has noticed a change in the tides for women in the industry. “I do feel that there has been more awareness of the great females in roasting,” said Ulbrich. “It’s not just beard and suspenders anymore.”
From roasters to growers, female’s in the coffee industry are internationally skint. “In many of the countries from which we source our beans women aren’t allowed to own land,” said Ulbrich. “We can see this bleed into the misrepresentation of women roasters in the U.S.”
Ulrich is apart of multiple organizations that aim to support and promote females in the industry – internationally. From owning land to grow the beans to owning a business to roast the beans and female baristas. Thanks to their pursuits the imbalance is lessening by the day.
“I do feel that there has been more awareness of the great females in roasting,” said Ulbrich. “It’s not just beard and suspenders anymore.”
Along with the efforts of women like Ulbrich, social media has played a roll in increasing not only awareness but also participation of women in roasting through campaigns like #ShesTheRoaster.
This expansion was nothing but a shell when they first began renovating. Ulbrich and her team transformed the desolate urban space into their newest location for locals to kick back with a craft coffee.
“Denver loves coffee,” Ulbrich explained. “So with this expansion, we brought in a new roaster that can roast 60 pounds per hour and gives a more complex flavor to the beans.”
Venturing toward the back of Copper Door’s new location guests will find a plethora of labeled bins holding in the aromas of the freshly roasted beans. From deep cherry and chocolate to vanilla and oak, the smell unleashed when the bins are opened is nothing short of intoxicating.
Regardless of hypnotic aromas and top of the line roasters it can be difficult to stand out in a city with new shops popping up every day. The coffee movement is becoming as much a part of Denver as mountain views and Bronco’s apparel. But, Copper Door stands out in the crowded coffee community by offering java lovers the opportunity to learn about the drink they’re sipping. At the new location, they will host “cuppings” — an experience much like wine tastings where patrons can explore the hidden notes of each Copper Door blend.
“For a follow-up to our grand opening we will be hosting a free cupping at 7 a.m. Friday, October 13,” said Ulrich. “It will be an opportunity for locals to experience our new location, explore coffee in a new way and munch on some fabulous snacks from local food trucks.”
As Denver grows by the day, accessing downtown coffee shops has become increasingly difficult with limited paid parking and traffic. The Copper Doors new location does not have this ailment, making it convenient and accessible to those looking for a quiet place to study or relax.
“We have great free parking at this location,” said Ulrich. “That’s a benefit that I think people will come to love.”
Ulrich has made it her mission to fill the shop with people who, like a cup of coffee, are welcoming and warm. Copper Door prides themselves on a knowledgeable staff that will go out of their way to educate, inform and cater to each guest.
“You can make a good person a coffee expert,” said Ulrich. “But you can’t make a coffee expert into a good person.”
Copper Door is located at 1st and Santa Fe. It is open from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
All photography by Kyle Cooper.