Greg Hofer is the owner and founder of Highland Coffee at 1140 Bardstown Road, Louisville’s oldest independently owned coffee shop. They’re a “hidden gem” tucked behind Urban Outfitters. Every day you’ll find six different coffee flavors including double French roast, dark roast, medium roast, decaf, flavored decaf, and a flavored variety. They also serve up homemade muffins, vegan pastries, desserts, and breakfast wraps.
Hofer says he’s a Los Angeles native, but his wife is from Louisville. When he came to visit in 1995, he instantly fell in love with the Highlands and planned to move. The coffee shop opened in 1999. “My family had been doing coffee out in LA [for] 15 years at that point. Shops were everywhere in LA, and I couldn’t believe that there was nothing out here.”
The caliber of filtration you get from Aero Systems is part of what makes Highland Coffee superior to what you make at home. It’s about heating the coffee to the optimal temperature to bring out all the flavors and aromas. It’s about proper bean grinding and dose. Everything is done “just right” to give you the best cup of coffee science can deliver.
Their shop has also offered “nitro” coffee for a little over two years. “It’s amazing stuff that is just starting to get national recognition,” Hofer explains. “It’s a brewing process that uses pressurized nitrogen instead of oxygen.” The idea is that oxygen begins to degrade the coffee. So this form of brewing adds to the flavor, texture, mouthfeel, and freshness. “The Ethiopian draft coffee that we have, it’s like a wine,” he explains. “It is so vibrant and crisp.”
As a local company, Highland Coffee never refuses a donation. Early community involvement was part of how they got their name out to local residents.