Meet Heather McCullough from Novo Coffee in Denver, CO

Heather McCullough manages Novo's Glenarm cafe
Heather McCullough

Name and Role: Heather McCullough , Manager of Novo Glenarm

Experience: 7+ years with coffee in St. Louis, Boulder, and now Denver!

Colorado coffee community: The community is very supportive, from shop to shop even ones that are in the same neighborhoods. If its good craft coffee, we are all about spreading the good news of craft coffee and knowing that if one shop does well the one a block away is also probably going to do well. I love that about the town, that everyone kind of invests in each other.

Favorite part about working in coffee: The one thing that got me into coffee, that made me love it was the interactions you get with people. Thats where it all started. Just the community and getting to actually serve people, as a servant. I love that about it. Beyond that, getting more into craft coffee I’ve just really grown to love the creativity and there’s always something to learn…I love that about it.

How did you get on the competition train: So really my first competition was Cherry Roast last year and I just signed up to do it…That was a blast because along with being a competition, it’s a big party. So that was helpful and then I did really well at that. So that has kind of inspired me to keep going and bolstering my self confidence, everybody has that like doubter thing.

What is the best way to learn about coffee: I think it’s getting your hands into everything. Its being hands on, experimenting. I’m all about tasting terrible things and knowing why its terrible. Reading blogs and reading the science behind things, that’s the fun of coffee. That its creative and science, so I try to read a bunch of blogs. I talk to people who know more than me.

Something in coffee that grosses you out: Nothing has really turned me off, I’m not anti cream and sugar. It’s not my preference, but I think if that’s a way to get specialty coffee in someone’s hands and make them learn to like better coffee, go for it.

Behind your music selection at USCC Denver: You know I really wanted something kind of just to set the mood, and instrumental is nice for when you’re talking so I had Charles Bradley’s instrumental music. Last album, minus the singing. And actually, the day of competition he died. It was kind of cool that I got to pay a little homage to him with playing his tracks.

Coffee philosophy and coffee love: One of my driving passions in coffee is getting more people to like good coffee. I think that’s done through excellent coffee and customer service. My competition that I did for regionals was about finding approachable coffees and about finding ways to meet people where they’re at in their coffee journey and if someone’s used to a Starbucks Italian Roast, let’s find a way to bring them in here and meet them where they’re at.

Come to where I work for: We have a really great cocktail list, it’s small and curated that changes seasonally. So those are great. We have a really great cascara soda thing right now, with some lemon and agave.

Something in coffee that you haven’t tried: I want to learn everything, I want to know how everything works. It would be great to actually wrap my head around roasting. I don’t actually want  to do it, 12 hours a day….going to origin and seeing the processes happen, like natural process and washed process and what all those things look like would be really cool. But at the end of the day, I kind of want of want to keep seeing hundreds of faces a day. I’m weird like that.