In 1987, Jean Bernstein started offering small batch, micro-roasted coffee to all passers by in Albuquerque, NM under the name “Double Rainbow.” Jean’s obsession with coffee began almost 30 years earlier, in 1960. Today, there are seven “Satellite Coffee” locations across Albuquerque, and they are my favorite coffee shops when I visit my brother there.
If you’re in town or are ever passing through, I highly recommend looking them up and checking their coffee out. I visit the NE Heights location at 8405 Montgomery Avenue NE because it’s closest to my brother’s house. It was my brother who first introduced me to them, and their coffee is the highlight of every visit (please don’t tell him).
I’ve tried most drinks on their menu, which include the typical fare like mochas, lattes, americans, and black coffee. If you sit down inside, you can get a French Press made right in front of you. The atmosphere is delightful, and a portion of their proceeds go to local charities.
That’s all good, but the drink that really gets me going and is my guilty pleasure is the Black velvet. It was so good that the first time I tried it, I was in the drive through with the family in my big, white van but I had to pull around, park, and go inside to ask about the drink. The barista was kind enough to share the recipe and secrets of the drink with me. They’re actually always kind enough to talk with you about everything coffee related. I’ve never had bad service or a bad experience at Satellite.
I’m not going to share their trade secrets here, but I will let you know that you should certainly place the Black Velvet on your coffee bucket list, and get ready for a wild ride. It is a sweet, iced coffee drink, so only enjoy in moderation. That’s easy for me because I only visit the ABQ once every 1-2 years. And when I do, I’m all up in the Black Velvet. On a side note, the Albuquerque Zoo (and especially the Reptile House) is worth visiting as well.
Aside from the Black Velvet and their exceptional customer service, what set Satellite apart, in my eyes, was their fresh roasted whole bean selection that was available as soon as you walk in the door. Here’s a picture with a small sampling of what’s available:
Isn’t that awesome? You’ve got biodegradable bags you can fill with however much you want to try. You could try 100 grams of each roast if you wanted. They throw it on a scale for you, and charge you accordingly. If I recall correctly, each bean had been roasted in the last week and some within a few days of me taking this picture. But the roast date was plainly available and the baristas were even down to talk about the different beans and their flavors.
It is truly an incredible experience every time I visit Satellite. Really the whole family enjoys going, and the wife and kids have their own favorite drinks. Okay, the wife’s favorite is the Black Velvet as well. Check them out, you won’t be disappointed.