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Coffee and Churros: Welcome to Lorca

By Susanne Carter

Lorca founder and owner Leyla Dam says she grew up in Spain "getting chubby off of churros and drinking cortados at a young age," where she "developed an unhealthy obsession with both." Leaving a career in architecture in 2010 to begin a second career in entrepreneurship, she traveled to Sevilla to learn the art of making churros. In 2011, she began working at an artisan coffee bar to learn the craft of coffee. One year later, she opened her own specialty coffee shop in downtown Stamford, CT which serves both of her obsessions.

Lorca is a small but very light and bright shop with a cheerful atmosphere and seating for about 20 people. Local artists' works adorn the walls and there's a cubby full of communal books, cards, and toys for people to entertain themselves. "It's a real community space where people come not only to do work but to get away from the office and reconnect with other people face-to-face. You never know who you'll run into," says Dam. "I've seen so many friendships sprout over a cup of coffee in a small space and those regulars are now constantly chatting with one another."

Lorca serves breakfast and lunch as well as various specialty drinks and pastries, including churros, alfajores, St. James cake, chia truffles, and pastries. Dam wants her customers to view coffee as more than something to guzzle down each morning. "I want people to look at coffee the way they do wine," she said. "It's something they should savor." Her own favorite coffee comes from Ethiopia and combines the flavors of jasmine and lemon. "If you're totally lost when you come in and can't figure out whether you like Honduran coffees or Kenyan coffees, we are thrilled to help you find your favorite," she said.

Some of the newest flavors at Lorca include Kenya Gatuyaini, a fully washed and sun-dried coffee with a tang of red berries, grapefruit, and brown sugar; Colombia Finca El Recuerdo, which has a smooth taste of tropical fruit and cane sugar; and Pacamara Reserve Finca El Injerto, known for its creamy body with hints of white grapes and nutmeg.

Lorca hosts a Tuesday night knitting club where people come to knit, chat, and drink tea. The shop also hosts a monthly book club discussion group. Additionally, Lorca sponsors a bimonthly local artist series. The shop hosts an opening event for each artist who exhibits his/her work there for the next two months.

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