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Connecting Colorado to Ethiopia, Lucy Coffee Opens a Cafe in Aurora

Lucy Coffee Aurora CO 1

The new Lucy Coffee shop in Aurora, Colorado. All images courtesy of Lucy Coffee.

Ethiopia-focused roasted and green coffee company Lucy Coffee (Instagram link) recently opened its first retail cafe in Aurora, Colorado, completing a full circle of coffee and cultural connections.

The new shop envelopes guests with coffee-brown ceilings and walls, natural wood tables and floors, and brown leather upholstery on modern chairs and couches.

Lucy Coffee Aurora CO drinks

A coffee-toned mural showing a map of the Bean Belt with a producer’s hands and a cup of Lucy Coffee fills an entire wall. Centerpieces on larger tables display parchment coffee alongside green and roasted coffees. 

“I want the people to see how the process went, for coffee,” Lucy Coffee Co-Owner Mickias (Micki) Alamirew told Daily Coffee News. “The color is a very calm color. Everybody that comes inside feels like this is very warming, like you want to sit here.”

Lucy Coffee Aurora CO

Once inside, guests can browse a diverse fresh food menu that features Ethiopian Chechebsa and Ful plates, as well as panini, egg sandwiches and salads. The coffee, meanwhile, remains 100% Ethiopian, grown on a single farm in Ethiopia’s Yirgacheffe region. 

Lucy Coffee Founders Micki and Mehret Alamirew met as members of the Ethiopian expat community in Aurora in the 1990. They started the company in 2018 as a roasting operation, then less than a year later bought a 50% stake in the coffee farm.

Lucy Coffee Aurora CO menu

“We try to help the people in that area,” Micki Alamirew said. “Sometimes in Africa it’s hard [for producers] to find a buyer or a client, so they have to sell their coffee to middle-people like a broker, but now because we’re in, they get a fair trade, and we try to teach them the proper way to cultivate the coffee.”

Occupying approximately 3.5 acres at 2,100 to 2,200 meters above sea level, the farm produces coffee for raised-bed natural processing and washed processing, while a honey-process offering will be coming soon. Lucy Coffee has invested in equipment and training on the farm, with a particular emphasis on building incomes for women and for workers with families.

Idido coffee

The company has also funded improvements to schools and community infrastructure around the farm.

“I’m fortunate enough — I live in America — I’ve got everything,” said Micki, who travels to Ethiopia once or twice a year. “Down there it’s tougher. The lifestyle is different. The local officials have asked us to fix the road, fix some school equipment and stuff like that, so we’ve done that so far, but we want to do it on a larger scale. We started on a small scale, now we’re getting a little bit bigger, so we’re trying to give back as much as possible.”

Micki, who previously owned and operated a car service in Aurora, roasts for Lucy on a Joper roaster in a Denver roasting facility. He hope to eventually integrate the roasting operation into the 1,800-square-foot cafe space. Lucy Coffee also imports and sells green coffees from the farm.

Lucy Coffee Aurora CO food

Alamirew said he hopes his experiences aid him in being a mentor for others aspiring to open coffee businesses or cafes, while Lucy provides a wholesome space for immigrants to gather, network and relax.

“I want the coffee shop to be a connection place for immigrants, and I want to break the barrier between the African culture and the American culture,” said Alamirew. “The coffee ceremony, the coffee culture is very different. Even though we all drink the coffee, the way we drink is different. I want to bring both sides to the table, shorten their perspective and minimize the gap, so we can help each other out.”

Lucy Coffee House is located at 14048 East Mississippi Ave. in Aurora. Does your coffee business have news to share? Contact DCN’s editors here