On Monday, August 10 Corvus Coffee opened its third location in a growing strip mall in Littleton. The new venue continues the brand’s tradition of coffee excellence, adding an on-site reserve roastery and an entirely new bakery concept dubbed Fox and Raven. Originally founded in 2010 by Phil Goodlaxson and his wife Autumn, Corvus has been committed to delivering top-quality, single-origin coffee since its early days selling exclusively at the Cherry Creek and Stapleton farmer’s markets. Inspired by Chicago’s Intelligentsia Coffee and Goodlaxson’s mentor — Jeff Babcock of Zoka Coffee — Corvus has long been pushing the city’s craft envelope. This year alone, Corvus sourced beans from 15 different farms in Latin American, East Africa and Sumatra.
The decision to open in Littleton arose from Goodlaxson’s longstanding desire to deliver artisan coffee to audiences who aren’t necessarily already on the bandwagon. “Our goal is to take people who are curious but skeptical,” he said. Taking these principals to their logical extreme, Corvus recently launched its Reserve Club, introducing highly limited, equally expensive variations that usually sell out within hours of their release. Head roaster Jeremy Tosh introduced the concept, with the onsite mechanism — capable of roasting 10 pounds per batch — being added to supplement a program that is expected to see three releases per month by the end of the year. A regionally-inspired subscription service was also introduced this month.
Naming the bakery component Fox and Raven was done to intentionally give the space its own identity. “I like building brands,” said Goodlaxson. While both Fox and Raven and Corvus could each easily soar on its own accord, the two are intentionally complementary. An interwoven philosophy shared by Goodlaxson and head baker Claire Czarnecki revolves around the magic of working with single ingredients. “How good can that one simple thing be versus how good can a recipe be?” said Goodlaxson. “Coffee is naked, wine his naked,” he continued. Fox and Raven produces a rotating range of bread and pastries, milling onsite with local grains including rye, spelt, buckwheat, turkey red and scout 66.
Before evidencing a closely-linked culinary ideology, Czarnecki made a strong impression on Goodlaxson in the form of a thoughtfully-prepared “bribe.” “She came in and interviewed and brought a bunch of really good baked goods,” laughed Goodlaxson. Coming from a science background, Czarnecki began baking after becoming disillusioned with a career in oil and gas. After an apprenticeship at Babettes Artisan Bread in 2018, she was hired in 2019 for Frasca’s bread program, where she worked under head pastry chef Alberto Hernandez.
Her locally-oriented philosophy and on-site milling have rightfully received a cosign from Dry Storage bread baker Daniel Gray, with miller Colton Steiner actually helping to set the millstones in Fox and Raven’s kitchen. While the bakery clearly provides an outlet for Czarnecki’s natural talent, much of her approach is still informed by her more technical background. “My recipe book looks like a lab notebook,” she smiled.
Favoring a pastry style that leans towards the savory, even Czarnecki’s sweeter creations clearly hold balance paramount. “Every bakery has their twice-baked almond croissant and I refuse to let that happen here,” said Czarnecki. Loaves are composed with equal delicacy, revealing an artisanal commitment that would make the Noble Grain Alliance proud. “When I think about bread and way it’s consumed, we’ve gotten so far from bread being actual food,” said Czarnecki.
Daily selections have thus include seasonal focaccia, an almond-miso zucchini cake and a plum tart with miso-vanilla pastry cream, elephant heart plums and candied cacao nibs. A demi-baguette sandwich with brie and saucisson a l’ail acts as an elegant savory accompaniment to one of the location’s many lattes. The menu is set to change both whimsically and seasonally.
Corvus Coffee is located at 5846 South Wadsworth Blvd. Suite 3500, Littleton. It is open every day from 6:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
All photography by Adrienne Thomas.
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