El Paso, Texas is at a tipping point. I’ve only been living here for about six months, but locals clued me into this fact within my first few weeks of being in town. In the last decade El Paso has joined the likes of Phoenix and Albuquerque as oases of culture and forward thinking in terms of art, music, and business in the southwest. While El Paso hasn’t reached the heights of hipsterness that you’ll find in Seattle or Portland, it has several hangout spots and restaurants where wearing tight jeans, carrying the latest technology, and listening to music you’ve probably never heard of feels very familiar.
While El Paso’s west side is largely considered the most trendy part of town, downtown has increasingly become an area of focus. The historic San Jacinto Plaza has been under renovations since July 2014 – a fact not lost on Miguel Veloz or Abel Baca, co-owners of the new El Paso Coffee Box.
The Coffee Box is right across the street from the mass of construction that will someday become the new-and-improved San Jacinto Plaza, on the corner of Mesa and Main st. I had the pleasure of attending the grand opening ceremony on April 29th, and Abel granted me a brief interview about why he believes The Coffee Box is important for El Paso.
The Coffee Box received a warm welcome from locals and media alike; I counted at least five separate video cameras from various news stations. After a brief speech, the masterminds behind El Paso’s newest coffee shop popped open champaign bottles and a DJ began spinning records in the background. It was following all of this fanfare that I was able to speak to Mr. Baca and ask him a few questions about The Coffee Box. Check out the short video below, then follow my interview with Abel below.
Abel: Yes, this is my first business.
Did you start this business because you wanted to add something to El Paso, because you have a passion for coffee, or for some other reason?
I started this business because I realized that downtown is growing and developing. I know that once the plaza opens and gets built that it’s a perfect location for something like this – that’s why this specific area attracted me.
Okay, so why coffee?
Why coffee? I know that most everybody young and old love coffee. It’s basically the most consumed drug.
That’s a good point! I can’t argue with that.
So as far as the design of your coffee shop – I’m curious because it looks a lot like TI:ME, the center on the west side. Was it inspired at all by that?
Our main focus was using recycled materials, and the design developed from that starting point.
As a coffee consumer, I’m a little partial to pour-over coffee. Have you guys considered doing that, or are you going to stick with the espresso for now?
Yes, we are considering it and will probably switch to that method of brewing in the future.
If you’re interested in finding out more about The Coffee Box, you can visit their website, like their Facebook, or follow them on Instagram. They use locally roasted coffee from BLDG 6 coffee roasters, and I can personally say that it’s great stuff. Stay tuned for a full review down the line.
The Coffee Guy