When Jeffrey Knott opened Blue Sparrow Coffee at Backyard on Blake in April, he officially went from big to little—470-square-feet to be exact. A few years ago, a degree in finance landed Knott an investment banking job in Manhattan. Only, Knott found he didn’t love it. “So, I grew a beard and came back West,” he says.
Almost overnight the New Mexico native, who fell for Colorado while attending college at Fort Lewis, went from investment banker to barista. He worked at Fluid Coffee Bar in Uptown and Thump Coffee in Capitol Hill, then he helped open Pigtrain Coffee in Union Station. Along the way, he recognized that he wanted to own and operate his own shop. And he started keeping track of the details he liked and didn’t.
The result is Blue Sparrow, the name of which refers to the shop’s minuscule size and its gorgeous blue counter and banquettes. The limited space demands that Knott keeps the focus tight, which is fine by him. “[The shop] is a big reflection of what’s important in coffee to me,” Knott says. “Quality is everything—from the equipment to the coffee itself.”
Aside from its tucked-away location, what makes Blue Sparrow different from other Denver shops? For one, Knott partnered with local roaster Sträva Craft Coffee and always has Sträva’s beans on the retail shelf and in the hopper—as well on tap in the form of two cold brews: a nitro and a hemp oil—infused CBD. As Knott finds other top-notch roasters from around the world, he rotates them into Blue Sparrow’s mix. A current favorite is Five Elephant from Germany.
This is not the shop to order a triple-shot, half-sweet, nonfat caramel macchiato, but Blue Sparrow also doesn’t take itself too seriously. Case in point: One of Knott’s favorite items on tap is the house-made blueberry soda. “It’s slightly sweet, slightly tart, and a beautiful color.” Bonus: For those attending 5280 Dines on October 22 at Backyard on Blake, Knott is creating a special cocktail for the evening featuring the soda.
3070 Blake St., Unit 180, 720-593-0180