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In Denver, Queen City Collective Series Matches Fine Coffees with Fine Local Art


A Queen City Collective Coffee sweatshirt featuring an original work from Denver artist Jon Jon Kalisz. All images courtesy of Queen City Collective Coffee.

Denver roasting company Queen City Collective Coffee is attempting to highlight the uniqueness and character found in a new line of limited-release coffees through equally charismatic local artwork.

Queen City recently launched the third release in its Artist Series, and the company is calling for submissions from more Denver artists, whose work is featured on the labels of special-release coffees in distinct packages, and on some merchandise. The coffee business has partnered with Denver-based creative agency FRNDS to broaden its support for the artists through additional visual storytelling.

Becca Reitz earth and water

A print from artist Becca Reitz.

So far the series has featured the work of Denver artists Jon Jon Kalisz and Hiero Veiga. The current featured artist is Becca Reitz, whose Queen City collaboration rolled out late last month as the label on a microlot of the traditionally Ethiopian Wush Wush variety from the Gutierrez family of Finca Monteverde in Colombia.

Queen City founders and brothers Scott and Luke Byington said that cultivating artistic communities and supporting local artists has been at the heart of the business since it opened in 2018.

“We make sure the coffees released in the Artist Series are fresh and unique lots,” Luke Byington recently told Daily Coffee News. “Cup profile certainly informs our curation strategy. We want the coffee to be something that stands out from your normal coffee routine. Maybe that’s a wild Wush Wush floral bomb, or a bright and crisp Kenyan lot, or a super jammy dry-process from Nicaragua. Regardless, we always use fun coffees in the Artist Series to make the entire experience, from design to the cup, a memorable one.”

Hiero Veiga

A bag featuring art from Hiero Veiga.

Queen City beans are profiled on a 1.5-kilo Proaster before production batches are roasted on a 10-kilo Proaster in the company’s dedicated roasting facility located a couple blocks from the Baker neighborhood Queen City retail bar. Luke Byington oversees the roasting while Scott Byington sources the greens.

Both of Queen City’s retail coffee shops have remained open through the pandemic for takeout service through walk-up windows, and the Five Points shop also offers outdoor seating. Byington said the company is holding out hope for a third location to open sometime in 2021.

Queen City Colletive Coffee

At the Queen City Collective Coffee roastery.

“COVID-19 is obviously a looming issue when it comes to planning the future of Queen City,” said Byington. “We want to continue to grow while not placing ourselves at too much risk given the uncertainty of the pandemic. COVID-19 has certainly reinforced our commitment to genuine community and relationships across the coffee supply chain.”

To be considered for an upcoming Artist Series collaboration, Queen City and FRNDS invite applicants to contact them via direct messages on their respective Instagram accounts.