Once Urban Steam Coffee Bar and Cafe opened in 2012, it took only nine months before it was tearing down walls and expanding into the space next door. People loved the gourmet coffee experience poured by owner Kelly Bubach. With liquor license in hand, a bar was built, services were expanded, the kitchen grew stronger and a complete experience was born.
A few years later, though, and Bubach says Urban Steam’s main love — coffee — has been overshadowed by its other offerings.
“A lot of people don’t even know we roast, and it’s kind of sad,” he says to the Report in his shop. “So we’re trying to get that back on the radar; that we actually roast awesome coffees and we’re very proud of our coffees, and food and booze are just secondary to what we do here.”
Towards that end, Urban Steam is expanding once again. The space next to it features a few offices, which will be shared with Colorado Springs Young Professionals, but otherwise it will be built out into what Bubach informally calls “the coffee lab.”
“What would be over there would be a complete roasting operation: very utilitarian, very clean,” the owner says. “We would put our old espresso machine over there for tasting, testing, playing. Put a small, six-, eight-seat pourover bar there, so when people come in and they wanna hang out, and don’t want to sit at the bar here with the shitshow that goes on here on weekends, they can overflow to the chill side and just hang, learn about coffee, sample some different things.
“More of a laboratory set up over there. Very laid back. All of the food would be available over there, but it would be just very open and some couches, a nice pour-over bar, a little reading library on coffee, cocktails, whiskey, food — all my books.”
The expanded bar should open sometime around January 1, and be completely cooked by mid-spring. The hope is to also quadruple roasting capacity from 125 pounds a week to roughly 600 pounds, thus allowing for more wholesale customers as well and things like green-bean sales.
All this would be joined by formal educational seminars on the nature of the bean.
“I always wanted to do education. From simple — where coffee comes from, the history of coffee — to the future of coffee, to sustainability in coffee, to brew methods, to the chemistry behind coffee and how to get a better cup at home. Things like that. Just really focus on the whole coffee culture in this country.”
A new menu full of small plates should roll out in the next six months or so. Later, Bubach hopes to open a food truck serving pour-overs and espresso, and start a high-end coffee catering business for those seeking a more boutique experience.
Regardless, coffee is coming back to the spotlight.
“People come in here all the time for breakfast and lunch and have water or juice and it’s a little frustrating,” Bubach says. “People don’t realize we are a boutique coffee roaster and coffee bar, and our focus is coffee and coffee quality. And we love that more than anything.”