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Bevalo - Community and Coffee in DowntownKendall Card - March 2, 2009 at 4:55PM
I'm sitting in Bevalo for the second time in as many weeks, listening to a casual hip hop blend drinking "Unity" tea. A lightly sweetened blend with a hint of organic licorice root, it's good enough that while in downtown Salt Lake today I had to give heed to my craving and stop by.The more I sit here soaking in the peaceful atmosphere, the more I realize that Bevalo is well on its way to becoming one of my top spots. The fact that it has reliable WiFi is a plus.Located on 2nd South at 123 East in a stand alone building with a brick facade that's more reminiscent of colonial Boston than downtown Salt Lake, Bevalo has been open a short 5 months. During that time, I've heard about them more than once and actually had a friend show his ski photography here, but it wasn't until last week that I first stepped inside.A very clean and welcoming layout, it sports a lounge area up front (complete with coffee table and Scrabble game) with seating down the side and into the rear. Art and photography, on display by a local artist, adorns the walls adding to the unique and uncluttered feel.But there's more to the story than a few paintings, chill beats and an unique location. One of the things that Bevalo stands behind is Direct Trade Coffee, a practice that ensures that the coffee they serve is grown and roasted ethically by people that they know and by processes that they can embrace.Take for example the Finca Vista Hermosa coffee growers in Guatemala that is the source of many of Bevalo's coffees. A 3rd generation grower established in 1957 where all of the coffee is hand picked by workers paid a fair wage, this organic coffee grower is the source of some of Salt Lake's finest coffee served at Bevalo. Knowing the source of your beverage (or food, or any product) and the processes that took it from seed to the cup is a philosophy that Bevalo is keenly interested in and founded upon.In fact, check out the photo tour of Finca Vista Hermosa on their website.Back to my afternoon at Bevalo, a film maker from the Utah Film Commission just stopped in to take some photos, having heard that Bevalo would be a good fit for their film. Scouting it out he commented on how nice and chill the place is.Before that was a woman stopping in for a latte. After some pleasantries were exchanged, Andrea (the owner) asked if she had just had her hair cut. "Oh yes, I did cut it the other day, thanks for noticing", was the reply. Coffee shops are about community and it seems that Bevalo is well on its way to being a great fit for downtown Salt Lake.