Colorado Springs has two more coffee roasteries — and they're roommates.
That bears a little explaining. New roastery Hold Fast Coffee Co. (2360 Montebello Square Drive, Suite H2, holdfastcoffeeco.com) will also host the roasting arm of Story Coffee Company (120 E. Bijou St., storycoffeecompany.com), owing to the fact that Story is in a tiny house set up behind the orchestra shell in Acacia Park. Both roasteries have serious local talent behind them.
Hold Fast is a collaboration between former SwitchBack co-owner/co-roaster Nate Bland and Peak Place general manager Vinnie Snyder.
"We knew there was an opportunity to roast for our café," says Snyder, "and having Nate Bland on our team made us confident that we'd be able to produce coffee that reflected our commitment to quality." The roastery opened earlier this fall, and right now their beans can be found at Third Space Coffee and Rosco's Coffee House, as well as Story and Peak Place. "Since we are a sister company with Peak Place, that will always be the best place to get the widest selection of what we are roasting, but we are selling retail beans on our website as well as in our wholesale cafés."
Story owners Carissa and Don Niemyer have been planning to start a roastery for two years now, but they were tight-lipped before opening. Carissa has judged the United States Barista Championship, so it's no surprise that she knows what she's looking for in beans.
"We're trying to put as little added to [the coffee] as possible, to buy it and let it say what it's saying," she says. Their beans will be available on-site and at Peak Place, with wholesale plans for the future.
Rather than train up as roasters, the Niemyers hired former Urban Steam roaster/barista Eliza Lovett, who is self-taught. She's already a capable roaster, and Carissa says "there's been training going on since then." Lovett joined Carissa, Bland and Snyder on a trip to Minneapolis a little while ago, when they scouted out Mill City Roasters for their roasting equipment and Café Imports for their beans.
"[Café Imports] strive[s] to provide some of the highest quality coffee in the world, while understanding long-term relationships with farmers," says Snyder. "The attention to detail and the care that goes behind each coffee is amazing."
So how did this partnership even happen? Snyder chalks it up to pure bonhomie.
"Long before either of us considered roasting we just felt a certain affinity with Don and Carissa and their vision for Story Coffee Co.," says Snyder. "Our favorite days are when we are both in the space tasting each other's coffee and giving feedback about how each roasting company could improve."
"[Snyder and Bland] have been fantastic to work with," says Carissa of the team-up.
Snyder notes that there are practical benefits as well, like how sharing shipments from Café Imports will reduce their collective carbon footprint.