Matt and Gracie Hammer with sons Gavin and Preston. (Photo: Vane)
Hammers promise “taste of elegance” in new espresso bar.
Matt and Gracie Hammer are bringing a taste of elegance to Mammoth this weekend when Black Velvet, their new espresso bar, opens in the Luxury Outlet Mall. “We want this to be the best coffee experience every time,” Matt said.
The Hammers are no strangers to the coffee business. They’ve been in the industry for 13 years, Gracie said, and started Black Velvet Roasting Company 3 years ago. Black Velvet has provided coffee to Nevados, The Side Door, Sierra Sundance, the Hospital, and several other businesses around town, offering in addition a Coffee of the Month Club, and a Locals Club with discounted prices and free hand delivery. “Our goal is to make the freshest, most consistent coffee,” Gracie said.
To that end, the Hammers are keeping things simple at their new espresso bar. No complicated blended drinks assembled out of customer eyesight, just the delicious basics: espresso, Americano, cappuccino, latte, vanilla latte, mocha, hot chocolate, and tea (all with the option of over ice). There are no brewers, Matt said, just pour-overs for the coffee.
For those who may not know, ‘pour-over’ is a new take on brewing coffee; baristas pour water slowly over the ground-up beans, which rest on a filter inside what looks like a ceramic or glass funnel, and into the cup below. The process extracts more nuance and flavor from the beans than traditional coffee-brewing methods.
This cup-by-cup approach to brewing will create greater customer and barista interaction, Matt said. He noted that the counters inside Black Velvet are set 5 inches lower than most coffee shop countertops “to open the space up so really the customer can experience the coffee as it’s being made.”
The coffee itself is of the highest quality: all hard bean and high altitude, which Gracie explained means the bean is denser and more flavorful. The Hammers’ aim is to select and prepare coffee so delectable that customers won’t need any bells and whistles. “I’m not opposed to people putting cream in their coffee,” Matt said, “but let’s try to educate customers so they can find a taste they like without it.”
In keeping with the simplicity and elegance of the Hammers’ approach to coffee, Black Velvet will offer only 1 size: 12 ounces. All coffees and teas will be organic and fair trade, and fresh organic, vegan, and gluten-free pastries will be provided Mimi’s Cookies.
Matt and Gracie have also ensured that there will be enough seating to accommodate customers even during the holiday rush. “We have over 1,000 square feet of seating area,” Matt said. This includes comfortable, “cushy” chairs, stand up bars with stools, and couches. The interior itself is a mix of “elegant and natural,” Gracie said, with white walls and black beams, naked wood for the countertops, as well as rustic touches like gold mining sieves over the light fixtures and a piece of mining conveyer belt equipment transformed into a coffee table.
The Hammers aim to open Black Velvet by Friday, Dec. 16, with holiday hours from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. “This is our passion,” Matt said. “We’re coffee connoisseurs,” Gracie added. “We love what coffee does. It’s community. It brings friends and family together.”