Twin Brothers Opening Ruzo Coffee in North Boulder | Westword
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Twin Brothers Opening Japanese-Inspired Coffee Shop in North Boulder

The twenty-year-old entrepreneurs were born and raised in the neighborhood where their new business is set to open on February 24.
Ruzo Coffee owners and twin brothers Matthew (left) and Jordan McDaniel.
Ruzo Coffee owners and twin brothers Matthew (left) and Jordan McDaniel. Ruzo Coffee
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“We’re really excited, because this is the first opportunity we have to contribute to our neighborhood,” says Jordan McDaniel, who co-owns Ruzo Coffee with his twin brother, Matthew. The twenty-year-old entrepreneurs were born and raised in north Boulder, where the coffee shop will open at 3980 Broadway on Saturday, February 24.

The space was most recently home to Logan’s Espresso Cafe, which operated for more than two decades. According to Matthew, the landlord decided not to renew that business's lease after a personal fallout with its owner.

Jordan adds, “Matthew and I and everybody involved have had an interesting time speaking to the neighborhood, as some people are kind of grieving the loss of this other coffee shop that they've known for 21 years — but at the same time welcoming us.”

Although this is their first business endeavor, the brothers are familiar faces in north Boulder. For three years during high school, Jordan was employed at a Chinese restaurant while Matthew worked at another business in the same strip, Amante Coffee’s Uptown location, where he honed his coffee-making and managerial skills.

Jordan recalls that regulars would get himself and his twin confused. “'You work really hard!'" he recalls one man joking. "'You work at the coffee shop in the morning and you work here in the evening.'”
click to enlarge A grab-and-go refrigerator and snack rack on the Ruzo Coffee counter
The McDaniels’ Japanese-American heritage influenced the shop’s menu and interior.
Ruzo Coffee
While that wasn’t the case, the McDaniels have indeed been busy. The two continued working in the food industry while pursuing higher education. Jordan earned an associate’s degree in business management while living in Oregon, and Matthew attended Front Range Community College with plans to continue studying political science at Metropolitan State University of Denver. But both were always keen on opening their own business. When a friend told them about the closure of Logan’s, they jumped at the opportunity.

“They say to capitalize on your situation,” says Jordan. “The coffee shop was one of the first opportunities in our lifetimes that we had to be able to start a business. We recognize what the market wants out of a coffee shop in north Boulder, but we [also wanted] to put our personal touch on it.”

The brothers are a quarter Japanese and, according to Jordan, they aim to highlight their heritage in some aspects of Ruzo Coffee. Its logo was inspired by the Japanese flag, and other Japanese motifs appear throughout the shop, as well as on its menu.

From 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, drip coffee and standard espresso drinks will be offered alongside matcha lattes and bottles of Ramune, a Japanese soda known for its fruit flavors and unique marble seal. Shelves of snacks appear next to the grab-and-go refrigerator, stocked with Japanese favorites like strawberry Pocky sticks, wasabi peas and rice cakes along with red bean mochi and fresh pastries from Broomfield-based Japanese bakery the Enchanted Oven.
click to enlarge A white coffee cup with a sleeve featuring the Ruzo Coffee logo — a geometric bear backdropped by a red sun
Ruzo Coffee’s logo was inspired by the Japanese flag.
Ruzo Coffee
“One item that we're really looking forward to getting from The Enchanted Oven is matcha crepe cake,” says Matthew, adding that the weekend-only special isn’t available anywhere else in town.

He continues, “We want to make [Ruzo Coffee] a community space. We've thrown around the idea to have some after-hour events like book clubs and coffee classes."

They also hope to work with local artists and perhaps even host charity partnerships, Jordan adds. “Really, we see the space as a way that we can contribute to our community that we grew up in, and we want to do that in an energetic way that not every business has done,” he says.

The brothers anticipate that the shop’s clientele will largely be neighbors and local junior high students. Centennial Middle School, which the McDaniels attended, is within walking distance.

Personal connections have helped streamline the process of opening the business. Sarah Jeffers, Ruzo Coffee brand manager and Matthew’s fiancée, spearheads branding and marketing efforts; Jordan’s close friend’s father served as the shop’s general contractor; and the twins' father connected his sons with accountants and lawyers — contacts he has through his freelance computer specialist career. “It would have been a lot harder [to open Ruzo Coffee] if we didn't have my dad to put us in contact with such great people,” says Jordan.

“We wouldn't be here without the team,” affirms Matthew.

Ruzo Coffee will be located at 3980 Broadway Street in Boulder and will be open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily starting Febraury 24. For more information, visit ruzocoffee.com.
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