Pablo’s is Intense

by cunningstuff

The Beast within

Image courtesy of Pablo’s Coffee, all rights reserved.

My love for coffee started at an early age. I was always fascinated by my grandfathers, I was lucky to have two when I was young. One could drive a stake through the toughest ground and taught me to properly swing a sledgehammer, the other was a master welder for Southern Pacific’s Houston yard, and could weld any metal, anywhere, anytime, perfectly. The welder also did two things that fascinate me today with food, one was coffee, black and simple, the other was to eat jalapenos right out of a giant pickle jar, like they were chips. As a kid I would try to emulate him, but it wasn’t until I got a little older that I could handle the full flavor of coffee and the simple and earthy burn of a jalapeno. Coffee, I am absolutely certain, saved my life once. Living and growing up in Houston, well, the city is tremendously large, and it is nothing to be on one side of town and it take an hour to get somewhere, then take you two hours to get home. I had one of those trips, after a hard day’s work and  long night of party, when I was 16. It was 3 in the morning when I pulled up to a Whataburger and ordered two small coffees and one small milk, and a large glass. Gulped it down, and just barely made it home, but the milk seemed childlike to me, but that is how I drank it from then on until I was about twenty-five. I was a Muddy’s kid for a long time in the 90’s, hanging out in the back yard and drinking crowbars. Even in Houston back in the 80’s I would hang out at the Texas Artists Warehouse, and then there was the first Starbuck’s that was built in Boulder, and I had to give it try. A real barista gave me my first decent macciato, and from then on, it has been the drink for me. Now hold on coffeenistas, back then it was a real macciato, and she taught me the difference between a long and a short pull. The coffee sellout of the century had not happened yet, and the inclusion of syrups was pretty much just used for italian soda’s. Maybe circa 1993? Well now that I have forever doomed myself to be the guy who gave a good review of a Starbuck’s, let me tell you about the real deal.

Pablo’s is to coffee what Formula One is to racing. I have never had anything but an honest and straightforward answer, opinions and decent conversation about coffee at Pablo’s. There is no wifi here, you will not see fifteen people hogging table rights so they can tap away for hours at the computer. You will see people writing on paper, or people reading, and most people just engaged in conversation. In the land of please the damn sheeple of the united country of facebook, it is refreshing and lovely to find a place that values its coffee and its patrons to the point of doing something different and dynamic. Always, great local art that I will inspect for my ten minutes of peace when ordering my bimonthly macciato hangs upon the walls, and it is always decent art, not the sludge NYC is pushing this month. The selection of hand roasted and picked coffees is unparalleled in any other coffee-house. I currently have in my freezer three types of Pablo’s, the El Salvador, the Two Stroke Smoke, and the Blue Krishna Balinese.

The Two Stroke smoke I found at a coffee-house, now long gone, called Scooter’s. I worked across the street at a 7-11, and every other morning or so, as work ended, I would stop in and have a macciato before going home. The barista was a nice lady who would talk coffee with me for a few, since it was never busy, and she used to work with Pablo’s on roasting day, so she told me a story* behind Two Stroke Smoke.  Apparently, after finding time to have a smoke, of the medicinal kind, the roaster dropped a bag of Zapatista coffee and Tanzanian Peaberry into the roaster. Zapa has unique properties, and it is a bit of a hag when it comes to roasting, but the mistake was not noticed until the roasters smelled the smoke off the beans and noticed it smelled like his scooter after getting too much use.  Tasting it confirmed a new mix, and the long running favorite dark of Pablo’s was found. * DISCLAIMER- Its a story folks, a nice one told by a nice lady, and decent enough to share with you. I have never confirmed it, because I like it and it fits.

The Salvadoran is clean and honest, and the Blue Krishna is very subtle, and almost fruity. I tend towards the house coffee when ever I walk in, and I never really ask what is going in my macciato. Speaking of which, I absolutely must mention the new espresso machine. If you doubt the official stance of Pablo’s being the best of the best, you simply must come by and witness greatness in the form of a La Marzocco Strada EP. I had a long pull macciato and I can still taste it, the very essence of beauty in a cup with milk foam. I look forward to every visit I can make to the best coffeehouse with the best coffee in Denver. I have been a patron for more than a decade, and I have never, not once, been disappointed or had bad service. I have been when it is crowded and long lines, and still, there is a smile and a nod even when pushed to the limits of customer service. Do yourself a favor and find out why you liked coffee in the first place and go to Pablo’s.