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Hermosa Coffee elevates quality as next evolution of Durango Roasters

Café maintains its community feel
Jackson Bullock, a barista at the new Hermosa Coffee in downtown Durango, works behind the counter. The café is the new evolution of Durango Roasters and serves foods from Sweet Addition.

The new Hermosa Coffee Roasters opened up shop on March 19. The café is the evolution of Durango Roasters, which was the former Durango Coffee Company ran by partners Scott Biaggi, Matt Pobloske and Teresa and Rod Peters. The Peters operate two coffee shops in Wisconsin, where they are from, and there is another Hermosa Coffee in Tucson, Arizona.

Some elements of Durango Roasters made their way to the new, narrow, 2,000-square-foot space, including the black-and-white portraits, the cream and sugar stations, furniture and the community feel. The cozy café provides a back area that is quieter for digital nomads and college students and connects to an outdoor patio. The inviting front room is more social and active. Teresa said she is excited about having two bathrooms on the main floor. Durango Roasters’ downstairs bathrooms were in a questionable location near mops, brooms and storage.

But Hermosa Coffee has more to offer than convenient bathrooms. The new café is an elevated version of its former self, with scratch-made food, a reinvented coffee menu, new roasts and an upcoming cocktail/mocktail program.

“We knew taking a 30-year-old company and branding it from a second wave to a third wave (operation) would be very difficult,” Teresa said. “And the only way to do it is to do it 100 percent.”

Second-wave coffee movement started around 30 years ago when specialty coffee roasters began competing with commercial canned coffee. The third wave began in the early 2000s with brands like Intelligentsia, when roasters started contracting directly with individual farmers.

Teresa calls Hermosa coffee “third wave with a twist” because of the specialty items and cocktails on the menu, which are still being refined. She hopes the cocktail menu will be ready in April. She said she likes the elegant production of cocktail making and the complex, bold flavor profiles that match the coffee.

Hermosa Coffee offers some of the same roasts as Durango Roasters and some are completely different. The business is still refining the roasts, but Teresa said it will offer 20 or more varietals including blends, origin and specialty coffee from more than 30 different countries. They will offer a dark roast, too, which is not traditional with third-wave coffee.

“In third-wave, everything is a lighter roast. That’s where you can change the profiles and create a more complex coffee,” Teresa said. Lighter roasts have subtler flavors that come from the soil where the coffee is grown. Bags range from $13 to $16.

The espresso drink and tea menu are completely different. The new chai blend is less sugary and more natural tasting. They are serving a golden chai made with turmeric. Hermosa offers shaken coffee beverages and uses new organic, natural syrups and cacao chocolate for the mochas. Brewed coffee comes in small, medium and large sizes and ranges from $2.50 to $3.25. Espresso drinks start at $3 in either 12- or 16=ounce sizes. Cold beverages come in 16 and 20 ounces.

Teresa said they made it a point to make the beer taps more visible because many people didn’t realize Durango Roasters served alcohol.

“Our plan is to have evening venues, whether it be music, poetry, events outside on the deck or tapas,” she said.

They modeled the long, narrow bar like the one you might see in a cocktail joint. The amount of steps baristas now take is reduced 75 percent compared to the old location, making processes simpler. The fast but fresh food menu simplifies the ordering process, too.

“We knew we nailed it on the coffee because we roast our own, but when it came to the food and bakery, we knew we could do better,” Teresa said. “The only way we could do better was to do it from scratch.”

Teresa saw Sweet Additions owner Francilia Pena Ehrig at work at her Main Mall location.

“I paid a little bit attention to what she was doing. I loved how she was corresponding with her customers and interacting,” Teresa said. “She is very friendly, very passionate about what she does and extremely clean and neat.”

That observation led to a partnership. Ehrig makes Hermosa Coffee’s food fresh each morning. Ehrig serves Sweet Addition items such as pastries, sandwiches, salads and more at the coffee shop. Any sandwich can be grilled in three minutes. Pastries are around $2 to $4 and sandwiches are around $7 to $9.

Teresa gives credit to her staff for the transition. She said they are the reason they were able to accomplish creating a comfortable, inviting space with quality food and drinks. Hours are from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

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