Loyal Coffee opening soon
You know the game's become more serious when your title has elevated from "barista" to "director of coffee and training."
That's now Tyler Hill's official designation at The Principal's Office, and his name should be familiar to those who've paid attention to the third-wave movement in the Springs. Hill placed fourth in the U.S. Barista Championship Western Conference finals earlier this year and finished 12th at USBC nationals. As evidenced by a recent Sprudge article, he's helping legitimize the local bean scene. Our previous claim-to-fame ("Raising the Barista," March 11, 2015) was when Springs native Charles Babinski, now co-owner of Los Angeles' Go Get Em Tiger and G&B, won the USBC and finished second at the World Barista Championship.
Outside of competition-circuit commotion, Hill returns to the spotlight soon, this time sharing the shiny circle with five friends — all seasoned local baristas. They're the ownership group behind Loyal Coffee (408 S. Nevada Ave., loyalcoffee.co), tentatively set to open in early August.
Joining Hill from the P.O. is Eric Nicol (formerly of Colorado Coffee Merchants) and Seth Fuller (an Urban Steam alum). Bevin Cammell (also of CCM) currently toils at SwitchBack Coffee Roasters/Fifty Fifty. Abigail Baum and Christopher Mueller hail from The Wild Goose Meeting House.
All six will be hands-on to staff Loyal Coffee, while other specific roles will include sub-duties. For instance, Cammell and Fuller will spearhead the outfit's new roasting and barista-training facility, which will open inside the Ivywild School (under the P.O.'s patio) later this fall. On that note, Hill gives a shout-out to Blue Star Group's Joseph Coleman for huge project support, including letting the guys keep their jobs for as long as they need in order to transition smoothly. He's also sanctioned the sale of Loyal Coffee beans at P.O. (available now), currently being guest-roasted at SwitchBack, which Hill also cites as an amazing community ally.
As to the nerdy coffee gadgetry details that at least six people who read this column will care about, Hill says they'll roast on a 15-kilo Probat drum roaster, and pull shots from a La Marzocco Strada EP. Loyal Coffee will also employ a Modbar Pour-Over System and Curtis batch brewers. Batch brewing is something gaining momentum on the high-end service side, using highly automated systems to ensure efficiency, speed for the grab-and-go crowd and, most of all, consistency. None of which removes necessary barista skill, but makes for a third-wave version of a Starbuck's, in a way.
Loyal Coffee also will serve liquor, with simplified hooch offerings like classic cocktails as well as digestifs, amaros and the like. Hill says, "We're a coffee company first for sure, but we love our booze."
Also look for pastries and charcuterie items purveyed from outside, as well as a toast-based menu. Hill calls upcoming Lincoln School baker David McInnis' breads "spiritual," and they'll help compose easy gourmet sandwiches or just appear under butter or fine jams and the like.