LoHi residents rejoice as your coffee savior has arrived. This area in the Highlands was due for a new coffee experience. Recently opened Barista owned/operated Black Eye coffee on 34th and Navajo is definitely taking it up a notch as the Denver coffee scene continues to thrive.
For this coffee review we stopped by on a Saturday, lying low for a few hours as we observed and sampled some damn good coffees. First I have to say I love the logo and concept behind Black Eye coffee. So many different directions you could go with this but from what we understand (actually asked one of the owners) it was a thought culminated from an interest in older things but with a new concept. This thought pretty much sets the tone for the ambiance here as you walk into a vintage industrial like setting encased in a cool brick building. The name also describes a drink which consists of 2 shots of espresso added to drip coffee, but don’t expect that to be served here. They are focused on quality not quantity and it shows with each cup put forth.
If it’s a nice day the big rolling garage door will probably be open which invites those out meandering to stop on in or at least take a peek. Being greeted by the smell of fresh brewed coffee is always enticing as well and that’s exactly what’s going down. A really nice bar/counter area is setup to accommodate your inquiries and demands as a patron but a simple menu lets you know what is available that day and other offerings to try. To my right is a pour over station where one of the owners is consumed with manually brewing one cup at a time as the customers gaze with enthusiasm. Asking about the coffee I learn that they chose local Roaster Boxcar as their fresh coffee purveyor and that all “drip” coffee is brewed via French press (yes, free refills for the junkies). Sitting on the back counter is a 2 group Syneso Espresso machine which is pumping out timely; well crafted little shots that are served up with a spoon for that initial stir (Did not see any paper cups for espresso, perfect).
This place seems so much bigger then it is as it’s not cluttered with unnecessary knickknacks, just a clean open vibe. The walls however are enshrouded with art and vintage collections of all things coffee. Very cool. I’m really digging the long wooden table that runs through half the shop as it screams “be a community”, sit and share with one another. After all, that’s how and why coffee shops were started. A place to gather and be social with the locals while drinking caffeinated nectar. Today we have taken it a step further by creating an entire culture around this experience. Like foodies hit restaurants or beer advocates check breweries, so the coffee-geek in all of us seeks out the best places in town to experience coffee like never before.
Everything sounds good here and knowing I’m getting something freshly crafted by experienced hands only encourages me to order more. I start with a shot of Boxcar Stella espresso, a pour over of Ethiopian Yirgacheffe and a French press of the Boxcar Empire blend.
Black Eye Coffee review:
Shot of espresso: Used Boxcar Stella
Thoughts: I opt to notstir this time to see what distinct layers of flavor are present in this cup (stirring or swirling a shot initially is always optional as it is said to blend the flavor layers together). Appearance was like a dark oak color with tiny bubbles (gas) hugging the crema tightly. Getting the nose down into the cup reveals a really rich and complex aroma that’s quite pleasing. First sip and the taste buds are agreeing with the nose for once. Each sip reveals a bit more about this coffee’s past and I’m intrigued. This shot has a nice heavy mouth feel to it and the aftertaste is lingering on…and on. Really enjoyed this.
Bee house Pour Over:Used Boxcar Ethiopian Yirgacheffe
Thoughts: Ahhh the Birthplace of coffee. So much history in the soil over there…not going to say I taste it though. The aroma sent my olfactory senses into overdrive with its blueberry and nut like nose. A Perfectly clean, bright cup with a honey aftertaste. Thoroughly enjoyed.
French press: Used Boxcar Empire Blend
Thoughts: Smells damn good. A more full bodied blend here so using the French press to brew was definitely a good idea. Nice sweet and well structured cup with a long finish. Yes, I went back for seconds.
I wanted to start this post by saying something along the lines of not your local chain or Starbucks kind of joint but that defeats the whole purpose of Denver Coffee life. We’re not doing this to bash or be biased with anyone, just provide honest reviews/perspectives from an industry (coffee geek/snob) point of view. In so doing we hope to save some souls from the stale or burnt morning coffee ritual and point them to fresh locally crafted divineness. So read on my friends and let us know your thoughts or suggestions, we would love to hear from you.