Denver’s Amethyst Coffee Company introduces their new roasting operations with playfully mysterious bags of coffee.
BY KAT MELHEIM
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Photography by Maria Levitov (unless noted)
Several weeks ago, strange packages started arriving in coffee mailboxes around the country. Filled with two bags of coffee and zero explanation, these boxes were stamped with the emblem “Mystery Roaster,” a new and unknown brand. The Instagram account @mysteryroasters was equally cryptic, featuring figures in heavy shadow, shot and cropped to obscure the identities of the people behind the coffee.
On November 15 at a surprise party, however, the mystery was revealed. After nearly five years in business, Amethyst Coffee Company in Denver has announced they are opening a roastery. This shouldn’t come as a shock to those paying close attention to both parties on Instagram; on their account, Mystery Roaster announced Amethyst as their first “wholesale client,” and Amethyst has been alluding to an upcoming surprise for the last month. That said, this announcement was still unanticipated by many. Amethyst founder and co-owner Elle Taylor says, “I’m quoted in a lot of articles saying I would never roast.” But sometimes things don’t go according to plan. And sometimes, that’s for the best.
In October 2018, Elle brought on a business partner, a longtime friend and pillar of the Denver coffee scene, Breezy Sanchez. With the added leadership, collaborative power, and creative energy, Amethyst has been able to grow at an incredible speed. Within the past 14 months, Amethyst opened three new locations—in Lakeside near Sloan’s Lake, inside Realm’s shared photo studio space, and most recently in Edgewater at the new Edgewater Public Market.
More cafés meant more demand for coffee, which got this duo thinking about a roasting operation. “Logistically and financially, it makes sense to roast for ourselves as we open our fourth café,” Breezy says. “But on a bigger-picture level, I want to continue growing our company culture into bigger applications. Growing the company only provides more opportunities to employ beautiful humans and help them grow as people.”
When nationally ranked barista competitor Sam Neely approached Elle and Breezy with a proposition and a plan for a roastery, it was an opportunity they could not pass up. Elle explains, “Sam outlined how they perceived our brand with no provocation and told us how they respected what we had built and how they planned to expand it and make it more fully realized. To hear that you’ve built something that reaches people in exactly the way that you had hoped it would is pretty rad. Five years ago I couldn’t conceive of roasting because it felt too overwhelming. But now that we have the staff and the support and the scale, it just makes sense.”
For the past few months, Elle, Breezy, and Sam have been busy building this roasting operation. Because of timing and logistics, they had to start roasting in October, but couldn’t talk about the new development until last Friday. Thus, they created Mystery Roaster to span the interim. Now that the mystery has been solved and the surprised revealed, you can enjoy Amethyst Coffee Company’s offerings in one of their four Denver cafés, through their website, and with their growing list of wholesale accounts across the country.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kat Melheim is the founder of Coffee People Zine, an art publication dedicated to community, creativity, and coffee. Barista, roaster, and all-around coffee person, Kat is based in Denver, and often traveling. Find her on Instagram at @coffeepeoplezine, @coffeekathryn, and @roasters.apprentice