In alignment with its mission to bring the flavors of the Americas to Denver, Origo Brands launched a new line of coffee direct from Guatemala — Avenidas. The latest import represents owner David Cisneros’ mission to highlight the best of Latinx products to the Mile High City.
“Hispanic and Latin products are premium, even if they aren’t always treated that way,” Cisneros said. “We want to take a modern look at how these products can be viewed and understood.”
Avenidas is certainly a notable offering in the pantheon of Denver coffees. The beans are all sourced directly from Guatemala, straight from their partner Hans Marsch who manages his family-owned farm started by his mother in 1964. Most of the beans are grown in the venerated Antigua region, known for its fertile valleys and excellent coffee beans. Other single-origin offerings include high altitude varieties from Cobán and Huehuetenango, which give customers a chance to take a little tour of the country through the flavors of one of its most celebrated exports.
The varietals come in light to medium roasts, and this is where the pair’s 20 years of experience with coffee shows. “Dark roasts are used by cheap importers like Folgers to hide imperfections in the bean,” Cisneros explained. And he’s right — you can taste the difference in each region easily, with the lower altitude Antigua beans taking on a smooth and mellow flavor and the high altitude beans from Huehuetenango providing a much darker and more intense flavor profile.
What sets Origo apart from other brands is its commitment to all steps in the supply chain. The coffee is grown by a partner in Guatemala, quickly roasted and sealed on-site before being shipped directly to Denver. This process — called “embodegado” — is designed to get the freshly picked bean roasted and sealed as quickly as possible to retain its character before shipping. Owners Cisneros and Eric Anhold see this as an organic approach to creating a direct line between the coffee fields and your cup at home.
Their attention to detail extends beyond just the coffee as well. The company sees the relationship between Guatemala and their consumers stateside as a balancing act and to that effect have worked hard to preserve the environment the coffee grows in. Through a partnership with Trees for the Future Foundation, they have planted over 500,000 trees to help preserve the naturally biodiverse environment in which their coffee grows. The goal is to reach 1 billion trees planted.
Origo is nothing if not purpose driven, with Cisneros more than happy to point to a 2020 study released by Harvard Medical School, “Moderate amounts of coffee are the best,” as an example of how their products are bringing not only bold flavors but healthy options to Colorado. And that focus on health extends south as well with Origo donating to the Fundación Albergue Hermano Pedro to help provide children in need with healthcare options in Antigua.
Besides coffee and its humanitarian efforts, Origo has been hand selecting other high-end Latin products to bring to Denver.
“There are so many great things being done in Colorado with food, some of the best food in the world is Hispanic and we want to be a part of that,” said Cisneros.
Their first offering was Chantigo Agave made from all-natural, single estate-grown agave cactus and imported from Jalisco, Mexico. You can find this in both the classic agave syrup ($4.99) form and in the less common dried and powdered crystal variety ($5.99).
Next, they released a homemade product as a nod to Cisneros’ love of New Mexican cuisine — Monstruo de Gila BBQ Salsa ($5.99). Neither a classic American BBQ sauce nor the kind of salsa you would expect to accompany tortilla chips on your table, this salsa is a roasted green chili sauce meant to accompany the meat and veggie dishes of the Southwest. In keeping with their ethos that the chilis are harvested here in the southwest, roasted locally in Hudson, CO, and blended to bring out the Hispanic influence on Colorado’s cuisine.
“There’s no reason to bring a product here unless it’s an origin product. If we can grow it here, we’ll buy it here,” he said.
The earthy tones of the salsa pair fantastically with steak tacos or drizzled over roast zucchini with a little lime.
The brand is epitomized by two images: the hummingbird featured on their packaging — which is native to the coffee fields of Guatemala and pollinates the plants that produce these delectable beans — and their food truck logo. “The food truck is a symbol of taking the origin to the customer,” Cisneros said.
It’s undeniably American in the universal sense, uniting the flavors of our continent from Antigua to Weld county.
Origo strives to bring the best of the Americas to Denver and their latest offering — Avenidas coffee — does just that.
You can find Avenidas Coffee in 6 oz ($7.99) or 12 oz ($15.99) bags at Choice Market, Cost Plus World Market, and online at avenidascafe.com/shop.
All photos courtesy of Origo.