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 V.23 No.40 | October 2 - 8, 2014 

Restaurant Review

Blessed Are the Humble

New coffee shop offers neighborliness, Pop-Tarts

Karen Strange preparing pour-over coffee.
photos by Eric Williams
Karen Strange preparing pour-over coffee.

Microbreweries may be getting all the press, but have you noticed there’s a renaissance in another local brew-oriented business? Coffee shops are springing up all over town in numbers that we haven’t seen since the pre-Starbucks 1990s. There are a half-dozen in Downtown alone, another handful in the University/Nob Hill area and many more scattered all over town. If hipsters start wearing flannel tied around their waists again, Kurt Cobain’s imminent resurrection won’t be far behind.

One of the most eye-catching of these new shops is Humble Coffee, which popped up a few weeks ago in the no-name neighborhood between Carlisle and Washington on Lomas. Taking over an oddball space that has seen its share of tenants over the years, the bright orange-painted coffee shop is an offshoot of neighboring Baker Architecture + Design. Much like the also-architect-owned Duggan’s Coffee, Baker’s attention to space and detail really comes through at Humble, where minimalist decor combines with tasteful fixtures like granite countertops and beautifully grained wooden tables.

The pie tart is what Pop-Tarts dream of becoming.
Eric Williams
The pie tart is what Pop-Tarts dream of becoming.

Interestingly, Humble seems to be getting an early jump on their marketing swag. Several Humble-branded products hover on shelves near the register: t-shirts, portable cups, toddy bottles. In other words, the name of the shop may be “Humble,” but they are certainly confident that customers will soon want to tout their loyalty.

Eric Williams

And why not? The coffee is excellent, with all the usual espresso-based concoctions on hand. One new-to-me offering is a cold-brewed toddy. It’s a smooth-flavored beverage—the cold brewing process precludes much of the bitterness expected from coffee—while still retaining that back-of-the-mouth heaviness that we addicts crave.

The one you have to try is the pie tart. Basically, it’s an all-natural version of the Pop-Tart, that standard of junkified breakfast from our collective youth, with one major difference: It’s actually good. Like really good.

There are a variety of baked goods on hand as well, mostly produced by local newcomer New Mexico Pie Company. Bran muffins, pastries and more are held to a high standard, but the one you have to try is the pie tart. Basically, it’s an all-natural version of the Pop-Tart, that standard of junkified breakfast from our collective youth, with one major difference: It’s actually good. Like really good. The crust is shortbread, the icing is real sugar, and the innards are all-natural fruit pie filling. I don’t know if it’s any better for you than the Pop-Tarts of yore, but it sure does taste better. If you need something a bit more hearty for your brekky, Humble also offers a selection of breakfast burritos from Simply Albuquerque.

Surprisingly, for a just-opened place, Humble seems to be doing pretty brisk business, with a steady stream of customers stopping by on weekday mornings. Not only does this bode well for its future prospects, but it gives the place the pleasant neighborhood feeling that’s an essential component of any coffee shop.

Much like my feelings on the local brewery scene, I’m always happy to see another purveyor of a favorite addictive substance open up. Lucky me, this one happens to be right on my route from office to home again, and there’s no doubt I’ll be stopping in for a toddy and a pie tart on a regular basis. Hell, I might even buy one of their t-shirts.

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Humble Coffee Company

4200 Lomas NE, Suite C

Hours: 6:30am to 3:30pm Monday through Sunday
Price range: It’s a coffee shop. It’s pretty cheap.
Vibe: Enjoy your morning, and buy a t-shirt.
Coming soon: Locally roasted beans
The Alibi recommends: Cold-brewed toddy, pie tarts


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