We remember our first time like it was yesterday. It was a blazing hot Sunday afternoon in June and we decided to check out a coffee shop we had never been to before. We walked into Zendo and instantly perked up and started drawing inspiration from the art on the wall and the little nicknacks on the bar. Since every single seat inside was filled, we took our ice cold lattes from the sweet barista and went outside to the back patio. We sipped on our giant cups of coffee and dreamt of traveling and drinking coffee together. Thus, Daily Coffee Run came to fruition and well as they say, the rest is history…
But, that’s the exact effect that Zendo has on everybody, not just us. You can’t help but feel inspired and get creative while enjoying your cup of coffee. And before you lose your drive, Zendo re-inspires you with a fresh art installation each month. It is, after all, an art studio within a coffee shop. This month, the art is by the very talented Kathy Rael and her collection titled “Messengers.” It’s definitely worth it to take a seat inside and enjoy your morning among the beautiful art, instead of rushing out the door. We mean, you could take it to go, but why would you want to?
What we love about Zendo is that it’s creating a space for people to come and enjoy a cup of coffee, dream a little and make that dream a reality, whether that be a coffee shop in a once undesirable part of town or traveling the world to teach English. In just its short three years, Zendo has triggered the third wave coffee culture in Downtown Albuquerque and inspired others to take a chance on their own dreams, too.
The airy, minimalistic space is a photographer’s dream with its paint splattered concrete floors, white brick walls filled with art and the perfect amount of natural light beaming from the sky lights. And the art just keeps on rolling into each space, such as the bathroom and the outdoor patio. The mural on the patio was painted by David Polka (check out his work here) and brings a vibrant backdrop to the neutral patio shared with Sidetrack Brewing.
On our most recent Sunday stop at Zendo, we found a few seats at the bar and ordered two giant lattes – an Aztec and a regular. But, judging by the various orders before and after us, it doesn’t seem like you can go wrong with anything on the menu. They even have a “New Offerings” menu that has unique and interesting concoctions like The Regis, which is a double shot of espresso over iced San Pellegrino and topped with homemade whipped cream or the red cappuccino which is rooibos tea, steamed milk, cinnamon and honey (and has ten times more antioxidants than a cup of green tea – whoa!). And if you don’t know what you want, the baristas are more than happy to suggest a drink and customize it, depending on your palette.
For instance, the Aztec latte which usually consists of white or dark chocolate and cayenne pepper has a major kick towards the end. Although it’s delicious how it comes, we customized our drink with a little cayenne pepper and a little cinnamon and it was just the right amount of everything.
But, if you’re looking for a no frills drink, a regular latte gives the perfect amount of flavor without having to add any sugar or different spices. And Zendo has various sweets to accompany your drink, from salted cashew cookies to sour cream coffee cake made exclusively by Burque Bakehouse, or even a piece of fruit, if that’s more your style. Either way, they’ve got you covered when hunger strikes and you’re in the middle of studying for an exam or feeling too inspired to leave just yet.
Oh, and the art doesn’t just stop at the the walls, either. The extremely talented baristas know a thing or two about latte art. See for yourself and visit Diego, an awesome dude we met through Instagram and is killin’ the latte art game. He brought us a mocha latte that was so perfect that we almost didn’t want to drink it…almost. Anybody who’s ever tried doing their own latte art knows that it’s a lot harder than you think and takes a lot of practice. So, you definitely have to show him and all the other baristas some love and tell ’em Daily Coffee Run sent you!
As you’ve probably assessed, at this point, we were well-caffeinated but that didn’t stop us from ordering a cortado, because, why not? A cortado by itself sends you into the caffeine jitters, so if you have an aversion to sleep, try our concoction of lattes and cortados at 3pm to keep you awake until 6am. Yeah, that will make Mondays way more bearable.
Jokes aside, Zendo is doing more than just giving people a space to be creative. It’s a coffee shop that is among the ones blazing the trail for other coffee shops in Albuquerque. It’s setting the standard and encouraging others to help revitalize the city and make Albuquerque great again! (Editor’s note: The previous statement is not in any way, shape or form a political statement suggesting we’re for or against either party – we’re team America. Thank you!)
Truly, we can’t wait to see Albuquerque on the map within the next five years or so and it’s all because of business owners, like Pilar Westell, believing in the city and offering a friendly space for the movers and doers to collaborate. So, if you’re needing a bit of inspiration, visit this cute art and coffee shop in downtown ABQ and espresso yourself!
Wanna grab some coffee?
If you visit Zendo, we’d love to see what you ordered, so feel free to find us on Instagram and use the hashtag #dailycoffeerun, so we can marvel at your coffee or tea! And while you’re at it, let us know what you think, either by Instagram, Twitter or connecting with us here! Again, we can’t thank you guys enough for your support and love! Coffee lovers are awesome people!