For a lot of college students, beginning the day usually involves having some coffee.
For freshmen, beginning a college career might involve finding out where to get that coffee in the first place.
The Daily Lobo sat down with five local coffee shops before orientation sessions and asked them to tell us a little about how they brew business.
The following list of coffee shops is organized in order of physical distance from Main Campus.
Winning Coffee Co., 111 Harvard Dr SE
This coffee house is preparing to celebrate its 20th anniversary, said owner Richard Van Schouwen. The current owners started out as shop employees its early days.
“We didn’t actually envision ourselves being business owners,” Van Schouwen said of buying the company when his previous employers thought about closing the shop. “The thing that concerned us the most was the loss of community. There’s lots of coffee shops around, and that’s cool, but this place is unique, because it’s a coffee house. Our core business isn’t really coffee or burritos,” he said, “Our core business is community and culture.”
Winning Coffee Co. has a ‘Brew of the Day,’ typically named regionally, after the coffee’s country of origin. A best-seller is the breakfast burrito, feeding countless broke college students, Van Schouwen said.
The shop is also utilized as a performance space and art gallery on a regular basis.
“This is a place where people can come and form friendships and get information about what’s going on in the larger community. People have started bands here or met their spouse here, that kind of thing,” he said. “It’s kind of like the hotbed of the revolution.”
Duggan’s Coffee , 2227 Lead Ave SE
The newspaper-themed “true mom-and-pop organization” owned by Kevin and Mary Scanlan has been up and running for three years now, Mary Scanlan said.
After leaving her home state of New Mexico for about 25 years to start a family in California, she said coming home and opening the shop has been a way for the Scanlans to reconnect with New Mexico.
Duggan’s, pronounced “Doogan’s,” has a small kitchen with a nine-item menu. Mary Scanlan’s father was in the restaurant business, and his menus were more like books, she said. Mary Scanlan said she’d rather patrons read through the day’s news than have to read through the menu.
“We thought, ‘We’re gonna make ‘em well, and they’re gonna be cheap. Our breakfast burritos, they’re huge,” she said. “If you’re a student, that’s gonna fill you up, and that’s our biggest seller, the breakfast burrito, the ‘Op-ed.’”
The coffee shop was named after Kevin’s father and given a newspaper theme, commemorating Kevin Scanlan’s father’s long career in print journalism.
Mary Scanlan said Duggan’s Coffee was founded as a community-oriented shop where people can come together and exchange ideas, even if they disagree.
“If somebody wants to have a place where they can feel safe and come and be part of a family, it’s us,” Mary Scanlan said.
Humble Coffee Company, 4200 Lomas Blvd NE
Celebrating it’s third birthday in August, this shop was founded on the idea of finding the best possible coffee and serving it simply, said General Manager Sarah Schoen.
Schoen said her efforts have been geared toward taking the shop in a direction most compatible with its clientele and its surrounding neighborhood. That direction, she said, isn’t anything fancy, but something simple.
“We just try to do our best by adapting to what our clientele want,” she said.
At the request of patrons, Humble’s food menu has grown a lot, Schoen said.
“We have a huge range of people who come in here. I would say the majority of them are people who live in this neighborhood,” she said. “When we opened, we were the only coffee shop around…This specific location is pretty underserved, because it’s just a little too far to go over to Nob Hill.”
Lattes do well for the shop, Schoen said, mentioning that baristas there pour latte art, making the drinks “very Instagrammable,” which accompany’s the shop’s “badass wifi.”
“The brand’s called ‘Humble,’ so we can’t try to be anything but,” she said.
Deep Space Coffee, 504 Central Ave SW
Roasting downtown since January of 2016, Deep Space takes a “thirdwave, scientific approach to coffee” in an artistic atmosphere, said Solve Maxwell, company shapeshifter.
“Coffee is super versatile, and it needs to be figured out,” he said.
At this shop, there are no dark, medium or light roasts, Maxwell said. Everything is roasted “to profile.”
The shop places some focus on espressos and attracts a lot of coffee geeks, he said.
The cream earl gray latte might be a crowd favorite among folks making their way to the shop from campus, said Maxwell, adding that Deep Space is proud of its cold brew. The shop only gets coffee beans from “micro-lots,” ensuring quality product and unique flavors, he said.
He made special mention of local artist, Thomas Christopher Haag, whose work is featured on a wall inside the shop, creating a photogenic atmosphere.
“It’s the heart of downtown,” Maxwell said of the shop.
Prismatic Coffee, 1761 Bellamah Ave NW
This shop opened in March of 2016, after its owners met while working at a bike shop for a less-than-admirable employer, said co-owner Grey Smith.
“We were kind of both at that point where we were disenfranchised with the idea of working for someone,” he said.
Following a few years of navigating the higher education system, talks of entrepreneurship led Smith and his business partner Loren Bunjes to consider what was missing from Albuquerque’s coffee scene, he said.
“We knew there was some room for it,” Smith said, recalling the decision to pursue a business venture as owners of a third-wave coffee shop in the American Southwest. “There was a hole in the industry.”
Smith used Albuquerque’s booming craft beer industry as an analogy for the potential for success that craft coffee has in this town.
No batch brewing occurs at Prismatic, he said. Every cup of coffee sold at the shop is a pour over, and the shop deals only in high-quality, “straight-up” coffee.
Prismatic purchaces coffee from parts of Central America, Africa and Asia, Smith said.
“It all comes down to what’s rated highly and what countries and regions are in season, because we want to roast fresh coffee and sell you fresh roasted coffee,” he said.
Johnny Vizcaino is the culture editor at the Daily Lobo. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @thedailyjohnnyv.