“Flavor as big as Russia!” So proclaims one ad for Dazbog, Denver’s most peculiar chain of independent coffee shops.
Dazbog Coffee (a phonetic spelling of the Russian dast bog kofe—”May God provide coffee”) is the proud creation of Anatoly and Leonid Yuffa, whose families, as the company website proudly states, “fled Russia to embark on a new and better life of freedom, democracy, and opportunity.”
This post-Soviet Jewish story, shaped into an unabashedly capitalist success narrative, is part of the coffee shop’s official self-description. And there is more: among their coffee blends are the Hermitage (named after the Yuffas’ native Petersburg’s most famous landmark) and the KGBlend playfully named after the USSR’s secret police. Dazbog’s appeal is to a kind of Cold War nostalgia mixed with a touch of émigré triumphalism over turning parts of their home country into a successful brand.
And the coffee, lest we neglect to say so, is up there with Denver’s best.