Koan Goedman, one of the top-notch baristas at Crema Coffee House, has always wanted to own his own coffee shop. But after a trip to Coffee Fest in Seattle last year, he began pondering the idea of a roastery, too. "I started talking to the Diedrich's roasters, who were there with a bunch of samples," he explains. "The idea of becoming a roastery started popping up in my head a little more."
Not long after, Goedman joined forces with Mark Mann, a freelance web developer he'd met working at the original Aviano, and Derek Penny, who came up through a Dazbog franchise and currently works at Denver Bicycle Cafe, and the trio established Huckleberry Roasters last spring. "We decided to go for the roasting thing, and through a friend of a friend, we found a roaster," Goedman explains. "We took a trip to L.A.: We left on a Friday, came back on a Monday, and three days later we were roasting."
They were doing the roasting in Goedman's garage, and the packaging at Mann's house. Still, they started to get some traction, selling beans to Crema and, occasionally, Two Rivers Coffee in Arvada. And this summer, they finally started looking for a real home. "We spent spring and summer trying to find a proper retail space where we'd have both a roastery and a traditional cafe," Goedman says. "We couldn't find a space that appealed to us."
They lucked out, though, when the owner of the warehouse at 28th and Larimer streets approached them, asking if they'd like to take one of the smaller addresses for their business. The partners jumped on it, setting up their roasting facility in a room that Goedman says is about 11 feet by 17 feet. "It seemed like a nice, manageable, intermediate next step," he says. "The space is dedicated to the roasting, cupping and development of the coffee."
Now they're developing buzz and trying to figure out the next step, be it a retail space or wholesaling to restaurants and other shops. In the meantime, though, they've opened up their facility to the public, to engage coffee drinkers and educate them about the art of roasting. "Even for people who are specialty coffee drinkers, the idea of roasting is not something that they're super familiar with," Goedman explains. "We want to generate conversation about it. It's good for Denver's coffee culture."
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Huckleberry Roasters offer tours of their facilities from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and you can also stop by to pick up Huckleberry beans -- or have a cup of coffee brewed by one of many methods. "Yesterday we did aeropress, today we're doing pourover and tomorrow we'll probably do a siphon pot," says Goedman. "We're more than happy to make people coffee. Hopefully, it encourages them to buy some."
Out and about, you can find Huckleberry brewing at Crema -- which also retails bags of beans -- and Two Rivers still features it frequently, too. Soon the Denver Bicycle Cafe will add it to the lineup, and the partners hope to be in many more spots in the near future.