Huckleberry Roasters stands out as one of Denver’s brightest coffee lights. Every detail—from an eclectic, sun-filled cafe to exceptionally roasted coffee—displays Huckleberry’s intentionality and passion. Since 2011, owners Koan Goedman and Mark Mann have worked hard towards providing a welcoming place for Denver locals to gather over good coffee.
Beginning last summer, Huckleberry’s vision for community involvement expanded even further when they brought on David Fasman as the current director of education and quality control for Huckleberry. Working in the coffee industry since 2003, Fasman’s love for coffee steadily progressed over the years until it became a full-blown mission—he wanted to make coffee a bridge to connect people.
“It was on a trip to the Middle East that I had my ‘a-ha’ coffee moment,” Fasman says. “There was a souvenir shop at the border in Jordan and inside the store, an older man with a patch over one eye was sitting next to an open fire. He was balancing what I now know is an ibrik over the open flames. He asked if I wanted some coffee. I smelled it and my eyes opened wide—sweet notes of cardamom and cinnamon filled the cup. To this day, it is the best Turkish coffee I’ve ever had, and from that moment I knew there was something special about coffee. It’s a product connected to individuals, not just an agricultural product.”
Fasman saw an opportunity to strengthen the connecting power of coffee through establishing a public workshop within Huckleberry. The idea came when he noticed a burgeoning interest among the public to learn more about the specialty coffee industry and brewing better coffee at home.
“Throughout my years of guest service, I have continually encountered guests who loved coffee, but knew very little about it,” Fasman explains. “The science behind coffee can be overwhelming for the average coffee drinker, and I was constantly thinking about ways to educate guests on coffee without their eyes glazing over. I came to the conclusion that for most individuals, practical application and hands-on activities keep them engaged and are the perfect combination for demonstrating coffee theory and information. I wanted to create a place where the Denver community could come and engage with coffee on as many levels as possible.”
Finally, in December of 2016, Fasman’s vision turned into reality when Huckleberry’s Coffee Workshop officially opened to the public. The Coffee Workshop is outfitted with an impressive spread of coffee equipment: a two-group La Marzocco Linea PB, and grinders including a Nuova Simonelli Mythos Clima-Pro, a Mazzer Kony E, and a Mahlkönig EK 43. Fasman and his colleagues offer five core classes here, covering everything from making an impressive pour-over at home to learning latte art. Seed to Cup is the Coffee Workshop's most basic building-block class and is offered once a month at no charge. Participants learn relevant points about coffee, like its history, supply chain, coffee processing, caffeine and decaffeination, and a basic understanding of roasting, sustainability, and certifications—while of course also tasting various coffees. The Coffee Workshop also features a wide array of brewing devices so students can learn and practice on equipment similar to their own at home.
When it isn’t being used for classes, the Coffee Workshop is a dynamic space that Huckleberry uses to also train wholesale accounts, do quality control, retail training, competition training, and seasonal drink development.
“It’s a place for our baristas to learn and share our passion for coffee with the community,” says Fasman. “I want the workshop to be a place where no one is afraid to ask questions or have opinions—and most of all, [where they] leave feeling the same passion for coffee that we have at Huckleberry.”
Tiffany Duncan is a freelance writer based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Read more Tiffany Duncan on Sprudge.
Photos courtesy of David Fasman and Koan Goedman of Huckleberry Roasters.