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Jamie Spears

Co-owner of the Acoustic Coffee Lounge

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With the tunes of Miles Davis' Kind of Blue and the sights of a clean, modern minimalist interior, the Acoustic Coffee Lounge kind of makes you feel cool the way only good coffee shops know how. Nestled in a quiet shopping strip on Centennial Boulevard, the Acoustic Coffee Lounge is a dream come true for owners Jamie and Jason Spears. Originally hailing from Texas, the Spears came to Colorado to study engineering at the Colorado School of Mines, and now have combined their six years of experience in the coffee shop industry to finally open their own place -- a locally owned and operated, independent coffee shop offering a mix of entertainment from film screenings and art openings to live jazz trios and Native American flute music. I spoke with Jamie and Jason over a cup of java.

How did you get into the coffee biz? Jamie: We both worked and managed coffee shops a lot. ... Jason: We spent more time in coffee shops than college.

Do think you can compete with chains like Starbucks since you're located out of the downtown area? Jason: We thought this location was the most open as far as not having tons of other coffee shops or anything like this. I mean, you've got a Starbucks on every corner downtown right now, and we wouldn't be able to compete. Jamie: And all the high-tech companies bring in a lot of people and it just seems like the crowd is perfect.

How would you explain the coffee trend of the '90s? Jason: I think it's an alternative to bars for one thing. Wine exploded in the '80s, I guess, and I think it's just sort of following that. There's a lot more coffee than just Folgers and gas station coffee. Jamie: And for sure Starbucks can take credit for the huge boom. I mean, they capitalized on sweetening up a latte and making it sellable and people just went crazy for that. Every coffee shop in town has Starbucks to thank and we do too. They made it familiar.

Why is it that music and other forms of art go together so naturally with coffee? Jason: Caffeine pretty much stimulates your mind. The stereotype coffee shop has professors sitting around a table having amazing discussions because they're all wired on caffeine. It helps you think clearly, and I guess when you're thinking clearly you can focus on the music. It's also the relaxation -- when you go to a bar you relax and listen to music and when you go to a coffee shop you relax and listen to music too.

Are there certain personalities that go with different coffee drinks? Jason: Cappuccinos are usually older people, probably in their 50s or older, or younger kids about high school age ... that don't know much about coffee. Everybody knows the word "cappuccino" for some reason; that's the word that's associated with coffee outside of Folgers. They order a cappuccino just because that's the word they know. And it's the same with espresso -- it's usually older people that know what they're drinking and they're connoisseurs of it, or young kids that want to look cool ... Jamie: It's funny, in this location we serve more straight espressos than any other place I've ever worked ...

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