The Vail Valley’s most hygge couple opened a quaint cafe in EagleVail. Alexandra Gove and her husband, Koen van Renswoude, owner of the home goods shop Hygge Life, just expanded the store’s footprint to include a cafe. Hygge Life has a grand opening event for the cafe on Saturday, June 15. Guests can stop in to sip on a $1 cup of coffee or munch on a pastry any time of day.
Hygge Life started out of a van, the Hygge Bus, while Gove and van Renswoude traveled Europe in their early days as a couple. Almost 10 years later, they’ve since launched an extensive online store, hosted their own hygge-inspired wedding up at Tigiwon Community House, opened up a brick and mortar shop and now will offer the community a little more of the ultimate meaning behind their brand.
Hygge (pronounced HOO – gah) is the Danish word for cozy, and now there’s a perfect place to experience it without having to leave the mountains.
“Hygge is a verb in Danish,” van Renswoude, who is from Amsterdam, said. “So you can say ‘let’s hygge.’ Now you can practice it here.”
The space has become a welcoming corner of the Hygge Life shop, and it isn’t designed for guests to hold business meetings or sit for hours on their laptop. In fact, the tables are purposely too low for working on a computer, so guests are invited to sit and chat with friends or spend some quiet time reading the newspaper.
“We were recently back in Copenhagen and Amsterdam and you just see that the culture there is so much more present around a cup of coffee,” Gove said. “They sit and chat and just enjoy the time.”
She also noticed on their recent trip overseas that the cafes use candles all day, every day, year-round.
“Even if the sun is glaring into the windows, the candles are still lit,” Gove said. “It really makes for this warm, comfortable atmosphere. And that is what we are going to do here — we are always going to have candles lit, in the summer and the winter. It’s coffee by candlelight.”
They have also created a south-facing patio to complement the cafe. Sheepskin-covered furniture sets the open-air scene, complete with a window into the cafe for ordering.
“We are sprucing up the patio this summer so that will be a really nice place to hang out and have a coffee. Even if you’re just biking though and you want to stop and get a drink, that’s perfect,” Gove said.
Van Renswoude said they will likely apply for a beer and wine license in the future and they are planning on offering events throughout the year.
Coffee drinks and tea will be served, along with fresh pastries from The Rose in Edwards, including their apple tart and shortbread. The cafe also has a kids’ specialty: the babyccino, a cup of steamed milk. Gove and van Renswoude sourced their beans from Huckleberry Roasters out of Denver, which they’ll pair with a rotating variety of some of their favorite European roasts.
“We have people who come in to the shop just to say hello and hang out for a bit. We really like that and we want people to feel like they can do that more often,” said Gove. “Our bigger dream is to have a hotel and a cafe and shop somewhere. That is the distant dream, so this is like another little stepping stone in that direction.”
If you go …
- What: Hygge Life Cafe Grand Opening party.
- Where: Hygge Life, EagleVail.
- When: Saturday, June 15, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Cost: As little as $1 for a coffee.
- More information: Visit hyggelife.com/pages/events.