The Troy, New York-based roasting company that goes by the name Alias Coffee recently opened its second retail location, establishing a new identity in Albany.
The new shop spans approximately 1,300 square feet, offering guests numerous settings in which to enjoy their drinks.
“Different sets of furniture create sections that clearly stand apart from each other,” Alias Coffee Owner Hernan Lopez recently told Daily Coffee News. “The colors and fabric patterns are warm and compliment each other. We have a community wooden table in the middle of the space which separates the room in two.”
Lopez worked with Maria Thompson of the boutique furniture, fixtures and equipment (FF&E) firm Sugar Shed to help establish a manifold interior inside what started as essentially an empty shell.
Dark ceilings, wood from the community table and color from an accent wall contrast with expanses of gallery-like walls in downtown shop, where customers flow in from a number of nearby commercial and residential buildings.
Behind the wooden bar, baristas using a Slayer Steam espresso machine extract the chocolate and berry notes Lopez tends to seek out when sourcing and roasting coffees.
“I roast light and medium to highlight the delicate nuances that these beans offer. I like to highlight their sweetness and brightness,” said Lopez, who primarily turns to importers Ally Coffee and Collaborative Coffee Source for specialty-grade and often organic green coffees. “It is very important for me to source from importers that pay farmers fair wages for the fruit of their labor — also from farmers that have favorable environmental practices.”
Lopez, who was previously a roaster and cafe manager for Stacks Espresso, launched Alias as a popup brand in 2020 before opening a brick-and-mortar cafe in Troy on Halloween of that year.
The 1,000-square-foot location in Troy’s Little Italy neighborhood is also slated to be the home of a forthcoming 15-kilo roaster. For now, Lopez roasts on an Ozturkbay 5-kilo drum roaster at a separate facility. The roastery supplies beans for both cafes, continued Alias’ pop ups and farmers markets sales, plus a small number of wholesale customers.
“There will definitely be an online portal soon where you can purchase my beans,” said Lopez. “The next step is to expand the roasting part of the business.”
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Howard Bryman is the associate editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. He is based in Portland, Oregon.