Few things are better than a cup of coffee in the morning, except perhaps a great cup of coffee roasted here in Westcliffe in the morning. Getting locals the best, freshest bags of roasted coffee is what Crestone Coffee owner Stephen Holmes aims to do with his new coffee roaster and coffee tasting room.
Of course, Holmes has been roasting coffee locally for over a year now, building relationships with local cafés, businesses, and individual customers. His total roasting experience expands over fours years. Many locals have already had Crestone Coffee if they have visited Frank Sumatra’s Coffee in downtown Westcliffe. Frank’s has prided itself on using Crestone Coffee exclusively since opening this past December.
But Holmes has quietly been working on building a coffee tasting room that is as fresh as his coffee.
Located at the corner of Main Street and 7th Street in Westcliffe, directly across from the school’s west parking lot, Crestone Coffee has added a tasting room to the roasting location, where customers can come in for a great beverage and some education on the wonderful craft coffees that are roasted on the premises.
Coffee, like all foods, is best when it is fresh. There is much debate in the craft roasting world about when coffee is at its peak, like a bottle of wine, but three to ten days after roasting is when coffee will taste its best.
And this writer can attest to how different fresh roasted coffee tastes, compared to bagged, store bought coffee that was roasted months, even years before.
But there is more than just the time of roasting; the quality of the beans is paramount to a great, flavorful cup of coffee. Again, like wines, coffee beans have a local flavor depending on what part of the world in which they originate. The terroir of green coffee beans will make each trip to Crestone Coffee akin to a trip around the coffee world. Ethiopian coffee has a strong flavor of blueberries for example.
There are hardly enough words in this newspaper to describe the depth of Holmes knowledge of coffee. But a trip to his shop, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. is worth every moment.
As a school opening special, Crestone Coffee is offering a free drink to all teachers and staff of Custer County schools.
– Jordan Hedberg