Bilingual and Women-owned Café Offers Denver the Idea of Convivio Through Guatemalan Influences

In Guatemala, a “convivio” is a gathering where anyone and everyone is welcome to share, interact and savor delectable and culturally-rooted food and drink. In Denver, Convivio Café offers the same welcoming attitude as a women and immigrant-owned, Guatemalan-inspired café built around the central idea of convivio.

Photo courtesy of Brooke Leigh Photography

Kristin Lacey, co-owner of Convivio Café, first came up with the concept of this coffee shop when working as a barista through high school and college. She met her fellow co-owner, Vivi Lemus, in 2017 in Denver while working at a non-profit with farmers. The duo immediately hit it off based upon their similar upbringing and roots in Guatemala, so when Lacey pitched the idea of Convivio Café to Lemus, she was sold. They immediately began working on a business plan and established communication with their in-country producers to bring their concept of a bilingual café to life.

The business partners, or socias, formalized the partnership in December 2019 and registered the business in September 2020. Their journey began by working and selling coffee at community markets, pop-ups and online, but they later began constructing their brick-and-mortar location in August 2022. Finally, just at the end of last year, Convivio Café opened its doors to the Denver community on November 1, 2022.

Photo courtesy of Convivio Café on Facebook

This café serves farmer-roasted coffee directly from the source, and they make their own pastries and antojitos. They strive to source locally, support other small businesses in the city and showcase flavors inspired by their Guatemalan roots.

“Our goal is to connect seed to cup to community,” said Lemus. “We want to put a spotlight on the producers and farmers, those who make beautiful food and drink with their hard work and sweat.”

Beyond supporting farmers and local businesses, one of Convivio Café’s core values is diversity. The team at Convivio Café chooses to emphasize the idea that everyone contributes something to the convivio and that running into individuals who are different from us strengthens us, as a whole.

“We are women-owned, inspired in Guatemala and a fully bilingual space. What makes us different is the hospitality we want to share, the representation we provide for women and immigrants in the industry,” explained Lemus. “We want to be a space where we build community and celebrate the spirit of a convivio, where everyone is welcome, and we get to share a bit of Guatemala’s beauty, hospitality and warmth.”

While the co-owners believe that our city has many beautiful craft coffee shops and spaces, they note a frequent disconnect for Spanish-speaking immigrants from coffee-producing countries. Lacey and Lemus decided it was extremely important to create this bilingual space for others. “By choosing to make a bilingual space, we want to showcase the diversity Denver has to offer but also lower the barrier to access for Spanish speakers to the very product that comes from their homeland,” said Lemus.

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Looking towards the future, Convivio Café is extremely pleased with the community love they have received so far, and they hope to continue to grow. The co-owners explained that they would like to expand their menu, connect with community chefs and entrepreneurs that don’t have a brick-and-mortar location yet and continue to host community-building events over the coming months.

Convivio Café is a unique spot, mixing a love of farmers, women and immigrants to create a bilingual space for anyone and everyone in the community to enjoy. With a reimagined café menu, Lacey and Lemus incorporate cultural flavors highlighting the variety in their west Denver neighborhood. From traditional lattes to Guatemalan tostadas and frijoles, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Convivio Café is located at 4935 West 38th Ave., Denver. It is open daily from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is closed on Tuesdays.

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