EAGLE — Three years ago, Charlie Gundlach took over the former 7 Hermits Brewing location in Eagle Ranch to chase his dream of offering downvalley residents a truly remarkable coffee-drinking experience.
More than 1,000 days later, his Color Coffee shop has become a bustling hangout with a national reputation.
“It’s been a ton of work, and certainly not everything panned out exactly, but by and large we are very happy about where we are right now,” said Gundlach. “There is a great energy here in Eagle and we are happy to bolster the community.”
Like the community it serves, Color Coffee is poised to grow in the coming months with a new partnership in the works and building national buzz about the business.
A truly great cup of coffee deserves an equally delectable pastry compliment. Beginning this summer, those treats will be on the menu at Color Coffee.
Moxie Bread, a renowned bakery based in Louisville, is partnering with Color Coffee.
“We are going to build a bakery (at the Color Coffee shop in Eagle Ranch) and begin offering heirloom wheat baked goods,” Gundlach said. “It took us a while to decide how to approach it, but we are looking to have the bakery up and running by mid-July.”
Gundlach said Moxie specializes in French-style bread. Look for country-style sourdough bread, baguettes, croissants and more at the shop.
“We felt there was a lack of fresh baked goods options downvalley and we wanted to be in control of freshness,” said Gundlach.
Three years into operation, Color crews roast almost 1,000 pounds of coffee a week and serve 40 wholesale accounts. Their work has drawn some national attention.
Coffee aficionados nationwide listen to James Harper’s podcast called “Filter Stores,” an episode of which helped them discover Color Coffee.
“James is a great guy, and what he wants to do is share some of the untold stories of the coffee industry,” said Gundlach. “He was a start-up entrepreneur who needed money to travel. Now he has done six to eight podcasts.”
The podcast with a Color Coffee tie delved into the story of a farm in Costa Rica, which has weathered political unrest to grow its unique beans. Filter Stories wanted to offer some of the farm’s product to its listeners and Color Coffee stepped in to help.
“The idea was to have some of the coffee air-dropped, and we roasted it here,” Gundlach said. “It was not cheap to get 60 kilos of coffee shipped from Costa Rica, and we roasted it all in one day. Then we sent coffee to 20 different countries.”
“It was the first podcast of its kind where you could hear the story and taste the story,” Gundlach continued. “Essentially this story captivated James’s listener base to the level where he can fund his travels, and he recently received a notice from Apple UK that they had put his show on their main page of podcasts to listen to.”
Meanwhile back at the ranch
If opening a bakery and helping a national podcast wasn’t enough to keep things fresh at Color Coffee, Gundlach said his shop has also begun working with a new coffee delivery service and signed up to be a specialty retailer for Breville, the Australian manufacturer of quality home brewing coffee machines.
Color Coffee is now a roasting partner for Pearl Coffee Box, a Blue Apron-like service that sends subscribers various coffees each month.
“We are getting our coffee out to a bunch of new drinkers,” Gundlach said.
The Breville retail agreement involves partnering with the company at trade shows and new product launches and providing training to its customers across the region. Color Coffee one of its 10 USA specialty coffee roaster/brand ambassadors working with Breville.
Gundlach noted that previously, Breville home brewing products were only available from certain retailers, including Williams Sonoma, so selling the company’s home espresso machine will be a coup for Color.
“We don’t usually recommend a home espresso machine, because what you get at the café is so much better than what you can make at home,” said Gundlach. “But this product, priced under $1,000, is a game changer for the home espresso enthusiast.”
He added the Ritz Carlton at Vail will be placing Breville machines in its rooms and Color will work with the hotel to supply the coffee and offer brewing profile recommendations.
To learn more about Color Coffee, visit the business website at colorroasters.com or the café at 717 Sylvan Lake Road.