A multi-roaster coffee shop that’s a gateway, not a gatekeeper

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January Coffee, Boulder, CO
MATT MAENPAA

Whiskey, beer and wine aren’t the only things we like to drink in Boulder County. What about the coffee and tea purveyors that keep us calm and caffeinated? Without coffee, this writer would only stare blankly at the blinking cursor. 

It’s easy to pick a favorite shop to grab a cup. Maybe you like the roaster, or you want to support the locals. Maybe you just want to hit the drive through for something sweet and caffeinated on your way back from the gym in the morning. Or maybe you’re a big coffee nerd interested in the complex process of sourcing and roasting, looking to find the most unique and interesting new beans for your morning pour-over. Full disclosure, I’m closer to the latter than any of the former.

Boulder’s newest coffee shop, January Coffee, hopes to offer a happy medium for coffee nerds and everyone else with a blend of adventurous roasts and familiar coffee comforts. The interior is spacious and welcoming, with two floors worth of seating and an outdoor patio. The coffee menu itself is simple, with drip, French press, cold brew and standard espresso offerings supplemented by housemade syrups.

“Our motto is that great coffee is for everyone,” says January Coffee co-owner John Imig. “We want to be a neighborhood coffee shop for people that just want to come in and not think about their coffee without getting a TED Talk about where their coffee comes from.”

Imig, who opened the shop with his wife, Kristi Persinger, also wants a space for exciting new roasts and techniques as well. To that end, they’ve leaned on their shared experiences in the coffee world. Imig and Persinger combine decades of experience in the industry, having both worked for roasters like Intelligentsia, Stumptown and local companies like OZO Coffee.

MAENPAA January Coffee, Boulder, CO

The name, January Coffee, holds multiple meanings for the owners. January was the month they started dating, bonding over a mutual love of coffee and a desire to open a shop together as they shared Pinterest boards of coffeehouse concepts. January is also a nod to the Roman god Janus, patron of doorways, transitions and new beginnings, Persinger says. For the owners, January Coffee represents a transition from workers to ownership, but they are hopeful it can become a gateway for new coffee lovers as well.

Rather than roasting their beans in house, the pair are bringing in coffee from all over the country. The staple will be Arkansas-based Onyx Coffee Lab, Imig says, but two more roasters will fill out the menu. January Coffee currently offers roasts from two Bay Area producers—Ritual Coffee from San Francisco and Mother Tongue from Oakland—which will then rotate every few months.

“We want to have that range where there’s something for everyone, the coffee nerds and people who just want something reliable,” Persinger says.

To keep things balanced, the couple aren’t just picking favorites. The roast selection process comes from blind cupping of samples they’ve received. Some come from friends that they’ve made throughout the country, others from colleagues in the barista competition scene. Imig says they have their roasters picked out for at least the next couple years, but are always on the hunt for new flavor profiles.

“Every once in a while we want to try something new, so it’s fun to have different roasters coming through,” Imig says. “It keeps us engaged and our staff engaged as we try new coffees.”

The house espresso blend from Onyx Coffee Lab is a balanced profile, striking a line between a darker, earthy quality and some brighter fruit notes found in lighter roasts. Presented in a cortado—equal parts espresso and steamed milk—the result was smooth and delicate, without any overwhelming bitterness and no sweetener required, though your mileage may vary.

Seasonal specials are also on the menu, utilizing the unique housemade syrups and skills Imig and Persinger have honed throughout their years as baristas and bartenders. Espresso tonics and shaken drinks are coming down the line eventually, Persinger says, to keep things creative. 

The current special, “Roses are Dead,” adds a rose-cardamom honey syrup to nitro cold brew coffee and cold oat milk foam, garnished with dried rose petals. The result brings out the floral notes in the cold brew without tasting like perfume, with a rich texture that rolls across the tongue. 

Just over a month after January Coffee opened its doors, the couple have reasonable ambitions. Persinger and Imig hope to eventually expand to new locations in the county, eyeballing Longmont in particular to stick closer to home. In the interim, the plan is to encourage their staff to develop and hone their own skills.

With a location just east of 30th Street on Walnut Avenue, January Coffee is worth a trip whether you’re coffee aficionado or just need a tasty midday pickup.  

DETAILS: January Coffee, 1886 30th St., Suite B, Boulder

Contact the author at mattmaenpaa@gmail.com

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