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The taste of Guatemala: pastries from scratch, fresh coffee from a Belgian press at Rifle’s new Kape Panaderia cafe

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Erick Perez Sr. prepares a Belgian press for brewing coffee.
Ray K. Erku / Freelance Post

When it comes to drinking coffee, there is no deviating from the tradition in Guatemala.

“You have a friend or a family, you go there at 4 in the afternoon, knock on the door and you come in and drink coffee with bread,” said Erick Perez Sr., owner of the new Café. Kape Panaderia in downtown Rifle. “It’s all the time. It’s like a tradition.

For Perez Sr. and his son, Erick Perez Jr., their coffee tradition now lives on in a different way.



Instead of a late afternoon shake at 4 p.m., the father-son duo get up every day at 4 a.m. The dough should be prepared from scratch before spending the next hour in the oven to rise. Once it takes shape, the Perez spend another hour or so shaping the liquid forged flour into crisp, flaky pastries.

Erick Perez Jr. helps customers with a package of baked goods.
Ray K. Erku / Freelance Post

Sweet or savory, the scent of authentic Guatemalan delicacies like quesadilla, cuernitos and azucaradas permeates this rifle workshop. Get there at 10am on a Saturday, and you’re lucky to find a crumb of it on the front racks.



“It’s been passed down from generation to generation, so from my great-great-grandmother the recipes have been passed down and passed down, and that’s kind of what we serve here,” said Perez Jr .. ” It really is a kind of home food. “

Amid family-friendly pastries tempting hungry morning rushes, Kape Panaderia coffee emulates a more-retail quality experience, born from its humble beginnings in Huehuetenango, Guatemala, the hometown of Perez Sr.

The front area has no tables. The front counter is a more modest kitchen table than the service counter. The bakery at the back is a simple room with a few cupboards, portable stainless steel shelves, and a dusty wooden table where the kneading takes place.

Boom. You are in it. You are outside. But that’s not the case if you decide to stop the Perez and brew yourself a cup of pure, 100% Guatemalan whole bean roast.

With a match spark, Perez lights a flint and places it under a copper maze known as the Belgian press. The complicated brewing process takes around 15 minutes, but what comes out of it is a brew heaven for most coffee connoisseurs.

If you still have 10 minutes to spare, have one of the Perez brew you a cold coffee from their large Japanese cold brew press. This trophy-sized coffee maker is made up of gigantic glass cups.

A pastry on display at Café Kape Panaderia.
Ray K. Erku / Freelance post

The strong, liquid product is then poured into a simple cup. You follow each coffee with sparkling water to enhance the aroma and flavor of the coffee.

“We’re so used to a generation of ‘grab your coffee in a minute and go’,” said Perez Jr. want to let them have that experience, and even watch the coffee dripping off the ice. It just takes time.

But when the time comes, that seems like a key ingredient in the whole operation.

Perez Sr. said his mother learned from her mother and started baking bread when she was 6 years old.

“We never buy bread anywhere else,” Perez said of his childhood. “And a lot of people liked it, which is why we decided to start the business here.”

On the coffee side, Perez Sr. was influenced by his grandfather.

“My grandfather, he started a business with coffee 80 years ago. That’s why we know how to choose coffee and everything related to it, “said Perez Sr ..” And we start to bring coffee from Guatemala. It’s really difficult.”

Perez Jr., 28, said his family initially moved to the Aspen / Snowmass area when he was 8, in 2001. From there he attended Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota, before obtain a master’s degree in business administration. from St. Thomas University in St. Paul, Minnesota.

With the dream of opening his own business, his father contributed to its realization.

“The idea came to my father about eight months ago, when he came back from Guatemala and said, ‘How about opening a bakery?’ “Said Perez Jr ..” Obviously he can cook, and my grandma always cooked for us, so we kind of started playing around with the idea. “

“Thank God we are here and we can do it now. “

Now that he’s opened the cafe, Perez Jr. has said he loves making people smile.

“There is something about seeing people smile when they walk through the front door that is priceless,” he said.

That’s why for Perez Sr. 4am departures and loyal customers are worth it.

A cup of cold brew coffee at Café Kape Panaderia.
Ray K. Erku / Freelance post

Plus, they have a little help.

“We drink coffee all day,” said Perez Sr .. “Before going to sleep we drink coffee.”

Journalist Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or [email protected].


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