Not Your Average Cup of Joe

Step inside Sambalatte, 750 S. Rampart Blvd., Suite 9, and it is instantly clear that this is not another Starbucks. Here the beans are ground to order, and each cup of coffee is served in porcelain china, topped with a design in the froth and served with a sweet treat on the side. And it’s reasonably priced—$2.50 for a 20-ounce coffee, $3.25 for a 20-ounce latte and $1.75 for 2-ounce espresso.

Owner Luiz Oliveira says his business model is simple: gourmet flavors at good prices.

Iced coffee is prepared in a three-tier tower that can only produce 25 cups in three hours. As ice melts on the top tier, the water makes its way through a glass coil and over fresh-roasted coffee beans, finally collecting in a decanter at the bottom.

Espresso is also a complex task, brewed in what looks to be a chemistry set complete with a Bunsen burner and beakers. (The setup is actually a siphon-and-vacuum coffee maker that uses expanding and contracting gases—in this case, water vapor—to brew the coffee.)

Laborious? Perhaps. Delicious? Absolutely.

Sambalatte draws its name from two Brazilian cultural institutions—dancing and coffee—and blends them with Italian-style artisanal coffee-making, while emphasizing fair trade, sustainable and organic practices.