Village Roasters Celebrates 40 Years of Service!

Before large chain coffee shops like Starbucks went national, there was Lakewood’s own Village Roaster coffee boutique. They opened up shop almost exactly forty years ago in 1979, and they’ve been helping Denver wake up ever since. Now with three separate locations in Lakewood, they run through 1,000 lbs of coffee per week to keep their corner of the world happy.

Many of their customers order their coffee black. If you do order a latte, they’ll steam up some Royal Crest Dairy milk and layer it into their freshly roasted espresso. You know this electrifying combination is a success because it has inspired 60-70% of their clientele to be loyal for over 20 years. There aren’t too many companies (other than Royal Crest Dairy) with that kind of fan-base in Denver.

What makes Village Roasters so great? Coffee lovers could surely discuss the quality of their suppliers and roasting temps, down to how they train their baristas in the art of the pourover. Like all of the best coffee makers, consistency is everything. But what it all comes down to is passion.

“You’ll take one bean and roast it a few different ways. Then you’ll find a sweet spot. And you’ll say for this bean, the most flavors come from THIS kind of roast. That’s what we’re looking for. Sometimes, that’s a little bit lighter; sometimes darker, and it’s about dialing that in.” Eric Bakken, who co-owns the shop with his wife, Eva.

Excitingly the passion for coffee is leading into new territory for the couple. From nitrogen-infused coffee, carbonated teas and a test batch of kombucha that is fermenting out back, Village Roasters is tapping into a centuries-old global tradition. Some of these beverages are actually new but many only seem new to us. Kombucha dates back to at least 200 BC China.

“I [Eric] have a deep appreciation for Turkey, where you can find tea and hot water everywhere you go…To China where every single building has a hot water maker, usually by the bathrooms that anybody can use, like water fountains here in the United States.”

Village Roasters is one of the few cafes to sell herbs and spices as well as teas. The variety gives customers the ability to mix, match and experiment. Right now they import 200 lbs of tea monthly, including rarities like their European fruit tea blends.

“There’s an opportunity for Americans and our customers to choose healthier beverages, homemade and handmade beverages. There are so many options. We aren’t necessarily talking new-fangled ideas but drinks that have been around for 4,000 years. And the evidence keeps coming in with the same conclusion: ‘This is great for you.’”

Village Roasters celebrates its 40-year anniversary on Saturday, March 23rd. The company keeps detailed records of every single batch it has ever roasted, so they’ll dig out the yellowed, 40 year-old note pages from March 26, 1979 that were marked “Batch #1” and recreate the precise roasting conditions. Customers will be able to taste exactly what it was like to be a Village Roasters customer back then.

That morning, we’ll bring them a few jugs full of fresh Royal Farms Dairy milk – our little contribution to historical accuracy.