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Grounds for change: A surge of coffee roasters in Salt Lake City

New attitude » Publik Coffee Roasters among the “third wave” of bean purveyors whose aim is to extol quality, while turning coffee into art.

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With so many offerings, the question arises: Has Utah’s capital city reached coffee saturation?

Absolutely not, said Jeff Burkley, co-owner of Joffees Coffees headquartered in Salt Lake City. "There are a lot more coffee drinkers in Utah and they don’t want 7-Eleven or Starbucks," he said. "They don’t want to give to the institution."

At a glance

Publik Coffee Roasters

Buy bags of freshly roasted single-origin coffee to take home or enjoy an espresso, cappuccino or latte in this newly renovated urban space.

Where » 975 S. West Temple, Salt Lake City.

Hours » Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Food » Toast with a range of toppings, from locally made jam to avocado, is available on bread made by Red Bicycle Breadworks in Park City.

Prices » Coffee and tea, $2 to $4.50; food, $2.25 to $8.

Park City » Publik Coffee Roasters also has a coffee shop next to the Kimball Arts Center, 638 Park Ave., Park City.

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In 2011, Burkley and his Utah co-owner, Mark Isaac, began selling Joffees Coffees in Smith’s Food and Drug stores, donating $2.50 of every $10 bag to the Utah Food Bank. Last fall, the company opened its first retail shop at 2121 McClelland St. in Sugar House, where 25 cents from every cup purchased is donated to charity.

Burkley said the coffees are sourced from Mexico and Thailand and roasted in Alberta, Canada, by the company’s third owner. Roasting at higher elevations — about 4,000 feet above sea level — creates "a smoother profile," he said. At higher elevations the beans can be roasted quicker at a lower temperature, helping to avoid overroasting and scorching — two of the worst enemies to coffee, he said.

The opening of these new roasting operations is a sign that the food and beverage culture is maturing, said Josh Rosenthal, who started Salt Lake City’s Charming Beard Coffee in 2012. Mostly a wholesale operation, the company recently opened its first retail operation inside the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business.

"Everything in Utah is elevating," Rosenthal said. From chocolate to bread or German bratwurst, "if there is an industry that can be treated artistically it will be."

And the additional competition improves everyone’s offerings.

"When the new guy comes in, it ups their game a little bit," he said. "All ships rise in high tide."


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