Barrio Urbano Partners with Espresso Italia to Bring Mexican Coffee & Breakfast to the Yard

Barrio Urbano's new coffee blend tastes like - you guessed it - Mole.
Barrio Urbano's new coffee blend tastes like - you guessed it - Mole.

This week Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza answered the question we were all asking about her new Barrio Urbano breakfast concept: who will provide the coffee?

See also: 5 Gifts For the Coffee Lover: Chow Bella Gift Guides 2014

The answer might surprise you. Esparza plans to partner with local Italian-style roasting company Espresso Italia.

We spoke with Patrick O'Malley, Espresso Italia's founder, about the partnership. He was excited to tell us about the Barrio Urbano blend, which he says was inspired by some of Chef Silvana's signature flavors.

O'Malley and Esparza's friendship goes back years. The two were brought together originally by their mutual participation in Phoenix's culinary scene.

"I found a coffee from the Nayarite region of Mexico that I brought in especially for Chef Silvana. {It is blended with} another coffee that I worked (sourced) directly from the Mayan ancestral farmers at the Estrella Lencia cooperative in Honduras," says O'Malley.

That special coffee from Nayarite immediately made O'Malley think of Esparza. "It's her heritage, Mexico is sort of where her heritage comes from, so I kind of like that. But she just really wanted to announce a really nice coffee. I think we've delivered it. At least I hope so. She seemed to like it."

The Honduran coffee is citrusy and sweet, with notes of dulce de leche and tangerine, while the Mexican is more subtle and savory. "We came up with a blend that has natural tones of mole - peppers, chile, chocolate, cinnamon, nutmeg, it's a really amazing coffee."

This partnership with Barrio Urbano isn't the only big move Espresso Italia has in store; at the end of the month, they plan to expand into a three-thousand square foot space next to Four Peaks Brewing Company in Tempe. Here they will offer training for the Coffee Quality Institute's Q Grading exam (essentially the coffee equivalent of becoming a Master Sommelier). Espresso Italia also currently has the only Specialty Coffee Association of Europe authorized barista training program on this continent; their new space will function as a giant classroom for coffee preparation and roasting classes. And it'll be a cafe too, so thirsty folks can sit back and watch the coffee magic happen.

We can't wait to see how this partnership between Espresso Italia and Barrio Urbano shakes out.

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