In restaurant conception, it’s always good to have a coffee advocate. In the case of the historic Hotel Teatro in downtown Denver, that advocate was Jake Linzinmeir of the Denver-based restaurant consultancy Blau + Associates, who brought in local Method Roasters early on during a major restaurant redesign.
Method is supplying coffee not only to the new Rocky Mountains-inspired restaurant, The Nickel, it’s also been helping establish the coffee program at The Study, a more traditional coffee bar across the also redesigned lounge. Method co-founder Alex Rawal says Lininmeir approached the roastery in the hopes of finding a coffee partner who fit in with the restaurant’s concepts of seasonality, locality and quality.
“We kind of fit into their larger program of bringing in local craft vendors. They’re also doing that with a lot of their spirits, for example” Rawal tells Daily Coffee News. “We’ve been able to do a lot of training with them — not only on the barista side, we’ve been showing them our operation, too. We’re a lot more than just a coffee supplier, we feel more like a partner. For them to be as open as they have been about moving toward good coffee, that has felt great to us.”
The Study coffee bar has one Linea PB 2-group espresso machine, and the menu — still a work in progress — reflects a collaboration between the method team and the hotel beverage director David Cruz. “We definitely pitched a lot to them and the majority of it got taken in,” says Rawal. “We’re rolling out a manual brew bar, starting with Chemex, then we’re going to expand that with some Bonmacs and Aeropresses.” Eventually, the bar may roll out tapped cold brews using an existing hotel wine kegerator.
Hotel Teatro represents one of the largest wholesale accounts for Method, which began roasting commercially in 2013 in a shared space with two other food companies. Rawal suggests the number of quality roasters in the city, combined with the number of quality restaurants being developed, is creating a kind of new frontier for hotel coffee in Denver.
“We have found a lot of success helping beverage directors think about coffee as the crop that it is,” says Rawal. “It is always a struggle, but I think Denver is a great market for a company like ours. We’re surrounded by great roasters, which on one hand is competition. But I think the mentality here is that if we’re all going good, it’s going to open up a lot more opportunities for all of us.”
Rawal attributes part of the growing coffee community in Denver to some coffee professionals who returned to the area after gaining experience farther afield, mentioning Andy Sprenger of Sweet Bloom Coffee Roasters and roasting veteran Chris Schooley, who now calls Fort Collins home.
“Personally I think Chris Schooley is a key to this whole community,” says Rawal. “His experience in the industry, and his willingness to share it, you can’t really put a value on that.”