Meet Eva, owner of Village Roaster in Lakewood, CO
The Austrian Honorary Consulate would like to introduce Austrians who are living abroad and tell a bit more about what they are doing here and how they ended up in the US.
Eva was growing up in Baernbach – which translates to “Bear Creek”. It is a little city in Styria/Austria and apparently also a park in Colorado close to Lakewood, which Eva realized when moving to Colorado. Before moving to Colorado, she lived in Saudi Arabia, where she worked as a postdoc in chemistry for almost five years. There she met Eric, an American citizen and, at the time, a Kindergarten teacher. They fell in love and decided to move to Colorado where Eva and Eric got married in the summer of 2018. Both switched careers and purchased a café and roastery close to Eric’s old home in Lakewood, Colorado.
History of Village Roaster – coffee, tea and spices
The Village Roaster was established in 1979. The store was opened by Gary and Maryellen Mencimer. At the time, it was one of the very few coffee roasters in the country, bringing in specialty coffee from all over the world.
Image: Jim Curtis, Maryellen Mencimer, Kate Curtis, Gary Mencimer, Eva Pump and Eric Bakken
The main store at Alameda Avenue and Garrison Street was expanded in 1993 when the espresso bar opened. In 1994, Maryellen’s sister Kathleen and her husband Jim Curtis purchased the business and further expanded to three different locations: the main store on Alameda Avenue, a café at St. Anthony’s Hospital and a coffee cart at the Lakewood Cultural Center.
Image: Espresso bar at the Alameda/Garrison location.
Eric and Eva took over in 2018 and still roast premium coffee on premise in small batches to ensure freshness. This is what makes Village Roaster so special as Eva explains:
“The coffee beans are carefully chosen. We work closely with our supplier and discuss the coffee market a lot. The process of evaluating the quality of the coffee beans and the taste of the coffee is called cupping. We cup all our coffees to make sure that we really like the coffees that we purchase.”
Image: (1) Green Coffee from Sulawesi (Indonesia), (2) Probat sample roaster for evaluating coffee samples (around 100 g), (3) cupping of coffee samples to ensure quality and freshness of the beans and (4) the SCAA flavor wheel indicating taste profiles of coffee beans.
But not only the quality of the green coffee, but also the craft of coffee roasting is important to give the best experience to the customer. Since Eva and Eric arrived, they have been working on improving the coffee roasting process and roast profiles. Eva likes this process since she can draw from her experience as a chemist:
“Every bean needs a certain roast profile depending on origin, density and water activity. Once you find the right profile for a certain bean, you don’t want to change it. With this digital tool, the roast profile is visualized as the coffee is roasted. There is a lot of science behind this process.”
Customers can purchase a cup of coffee or fresh roasted coffee beans by the pound. Over 30 different coffees are roasted all week long. In fact, about 4000 pounds of coffee are imported and roasted each month of coffee from all worldwide growing regions: Africa, Asia, Indonesia, Central America, South America, and yes, Hawaii.
Image: Bins filled with (1) fresh roasted coffee beans from all over the world, (2) candy jars and (3) spices to be weighed out for the customer.
The store stocks a full range of coffee makers, filters, fine loose teas, bulk spices, and everything needed to prepare your favorite drink at home.
Eva follows up:
“We love the concept of the store. It is not just a coffee shop, but also a coffee roastery, a specialty tea and spice store, a gift store. There is something for everyone. It reminds of a Greissler in the old days, where customers find a wide variety of fresh food and delicatessen. Foods are weighed out in front of you rather than being pre-packaged. In our case, we offer anything related to coffee, tea and spices. Some people come back for their daily cup of coffee, some people come for their pound of fresh roasted coffee beans, some people love to browse around to find little treasures. We even carry Manner Schnitten.”
Image: Little treats can be purchased at Village Roaster.
The store also focuses on sustainability ever since they opened, a concept which becomes more and more important nowadays. Eric mentions:
“At Village Roaster, we try to encourage customers to bring back their own cup or containers. We give discounts if customers bring back their cups for their coffee drinks and containers or reusable bags for packaging fresh coffee beans, teas or spices and compost our used coffee grounds.”
Come by Village Roasters – see address below or order your bulk coffee and tea online.
9255 W Alameda Ave Unit L
Lakewood, CO 80226