MsHurricane Lives Here

Something to Savor

Posted on: February 11, 2010

Photo by Lenny Maiorani

For the past month I’ve been working as a barista at Crema Coffeehouse. I’ve had this job before, yeah, in college, who didn’t. But this time it’s been different. Denver’s coffee elite have opened my eyes to a whole new world. Something I’ve been drinking nearly every morning of my adult life now has been shown in a completely different light.
From day one at Crema, Noah Price was enthusiastic about teaching me, and anyone else who is willing to listen, everything he knows about coffee. Then I met Herb at Novo Coffee, and he shared stories with me about his sons traveling the world in search of getting closer to each cup of coffee. Craig and Nick at Pablo’s Coffee showed me cupping techniques and we shared our impressions of the coffee we tasted, and the aromas and flavors we discovered within each cup. I talked to Jason Cain, also with Pablo’s, about how right when you think you know everything about something, you realize there is still so much to learn. In this last month, my respect for those little beans has grown.

A couple days ago, between cups of coffee and shoveling the sidewalk, I asked Noah a few questions about coffee, Crema and his passions.

Jen Nordhem: Name? Age? Hometown? How long have you been in Denver?
Noah Price: 27 years old, from Telluride. I’ve been in Denver for 2.5 years.

JN: Your Dad owns a restaurant in Telluride, La Cocina De Luz, you worked there as a kid, right?
NP: Yup.
JN: Did you ever see yourself owning a similar establishment when you were a kid?
NP: No. I always said, “Dad you’re crazy! I don’t know why you do this, you never get anytime for yourself. I’m getting as far away from the food industry as I can.” And then, about 6 months ago, I was like, “Dad, I think I’m going to open up this coffee shop.” And he’s like, “Ah, so you’re getting into food service.” And he laughed at me.
JN: What is your favorite part of owning and operating Crema?
NP: I think it’s being able to interact with people and take care for people. To provide them with a good product that they usually can’t get anywhere else and to be inviting. It’s like inviting someone into your home and taking care of them. That’s what I really enjoy about it.
JN: You said you are “giving them something that they can’t get somewhere else” what do you offer at Crema which others places lack?
NP: When I was designing the space, I wanted to make sure it was inviting, warm, and as not corporate as possible. Some place that people can feel comfortable at. Like a lot of Mom and Pops, but at the same time, they don’t take as much of a scientific approach to coffee as I would like. And to also look at it as an art form and a craft. Something that you can actually take beyond just that cup of coffee, and have it be gourmet. I think that’s something that people look for.
JN: Both gourmet and comfortable. So being gourmet, while not being pretentious?
NP: Right, I want to make sure that, while I take coffee very seriously, you don’t have to be a coffee connoisseur to enjoy it. Because everyone loves coffee, but everyone loves a better cup of coffee more. People from all walks of life drink coffee, the main thing is to be approachable to everyone. To not be like “Oh you don’t know the proper things about coffee, you don’t know you you’re talking about.”


JN: When did you first fall in love with coffee?
NP: The first time I drank a good cup of coffee was in Costa Rica. I was actually on a coffee plantation, they made me a fresh cup of coffee. They put a lot of sugar in their coffee so I was like, this is so good it’s like desert! It had this really wonderful, unique flavor, like chocolate, nuts and it was really great. And from then on I liked coffee, but for a long time it was just coffee with a lot of cream and sugar in it. Then a friend of mine opened up a coffee shop back in Telluride and he used to own a shop in Portland. Then I really realized what the potential of coffee could be like.


JN: What are your favorite roasters?
NP: My favorite roasters are Novo Coffee, because they’re awesome, their ethics and attitude towards coffee are just super professional and I like the way they stand behind their coffee. I also like Pablo’s a lot. Pablo’s is great, they have a super good energy and they know exactly what they want in their beans. The one thing that I really like about different roasters is they’re looking for different things. Novo does all these really great single origin light roasts, and Pablo’s does something that’s a little darker, but they also do single origins, and then other coffee roasters do great blending. It’s always about working with different roasters and finding out what you want to serve. It’s fun working with Novo and Pablo’s and then I’m also working with my friend at Telluride Coffee Roasters. They do a really great job at high altitude roasting.
JN: Is there any particular origin or roast that’s your favorite that you’ve found?
NP: You know, I havn’t found a favorite roast. Yet. So far the closest is Pablo’s Ethiopian, which is just great. Milk chocolate, licorice, and blueberry, really complex. I like something that’s really complex but not too overbearing in any certain way. Something that’s really well balanced. Something that they can drink with cream or without. For espresso, my favorite by far is Novo Coffee’s Espresso Novo. It’s the best espresso I’ve ever tasted.

JN: Aside from coffee or food, what are your passions or interests.
NP: Snowboarding has been one of my passions for my whole life, being in the mountains, riding trees and skiing. And since living in the city, I’ve just gotten hooked on cycling. And it’s the only thing that reminds me of skiing through the trees, riding through traffic.
JN: Right? Totally!
NP: It’s so much fun. My favorite thing about snowboarding is the community around it. With everything I do, it’s all about the community and the people you can share it with. Whether it be coffee, snowboarding, cycling. When we do our Tuesday night ride it’s awesome because it’s lots of like minded people that talk about art and ride bikes and love coffee. It’s just a really interesting mix of people, and it’s really fun because you can ride with people and then go off and do your own thing. Which is very similar to snowboarding which is fun. And then you get hang out and talk about stuff, it’s like the chair lift, you stop and chill, or even ride along someone and have a conversation. You’re getting great exercise and you feel alive afterwards! That’s the best thing, feeling alive.

You can find Crema Coffeehouse at 2862 Larimer in Denver, Co from 7am-7pm Monday through Friday, and 9am-5pm Saturday and Sunday. Come say hello tomorrow morning while I work!


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