New York City gets tons of attention—it’s loud, in your face, exploding with life and stuff to do and of course, great coffee to drink. But that’s no reason to overlook the greater Tri-State area, where there’s absolutely love coffee experiences waiting for you to enjoy, serving their communities and making killer coffee along the way.
That’s the scene in Stamford, Connecticut—40 minutes from the Big Apple—where Leyla Dam Jenkins’ family-run Lorca Coffee Bar have been serving up outstanding coffees from the likes of Sey Coffee, Onyx, and 49th Parallel while featuring Spanish-inspired treats and snacks. The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum is a nearby stop, and we’re so glad to be featuring Lorca Coffee Bar on today’s edition of Sprudge Maps Spotlight.
As told to Sprudge by Leyla Dam Jenkins.
Introduce yourself to our readers—tell us about your cafe!
Lorca Coffee Bar is a Spanish-inspired cafe with churros, alfajores, cortados, tres leches coffees, and other Spanish bites. We’ve been open for nine years and couldn’t love our local community more
What equipment do you use in your shop?
Which roaster or roasters do you serve?
What is the neighborhood like where you’re located? What’s some other cool stuff nearby?
We’re located in downtown Stamford in Southern Connecticut, about 45 minutes from Manhattan. We have the beautiful Mill River park with a carousel, ice skating rink, and beer garden within walking distance, a couple of great breweries, Philip Johnson’s glass house that does tours, some amazing restaurants including Teff and Cafe Silvium, and the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum about 15 minutes north of us.
Did you close during a mandated Coronavirus shutdown, and if so, for how long?
We closed for about a month and reopened as a contact-less local grocery store. We also started bottling and selling our drinks in bulk as six-packs for people to take home for the week. We froze our empanadas for customers to bake at home, and made it work for a few months in that manner until customers were comfortable with coming in for their daily coffee. We had just finished expanding the shop to double the size at the end of February and had our grand reopening only to shut our doors a week later.
How has Coronavirus impacted daily work at your cafe?
It’s been tough hiring and maintaining talent. Since we are in a small city, baristas are few and far between. We’ve also had supply chain issues and have had to cut back on our pour-over programs because of being understaffed.
What’s something cool or unique about your cafe you want folks to know?
We have a lot of unique food that we make in house like empanadas and special cookies. The shop was designed by me, Leyla, and built by my brother so it’s a real family operation. We both work here as well. We have an artists series that my brother Cris curates in our gallery. He also painted the mural and light paintings for the cafe
Is there a community organization or charity you’d like to shout-out as part of this feature?
I’d love to shout out the Women’s Business Development Council. They’ve been integral in mentoring me in running the business side of things, they’ve helped us with a grant to help us upgrade our oven, and I volunteer there to mentor people who are starting up a small business and need help with their business plans, expansion, funding, etc.
Photos by Lorca Coffee Bar, used with permission