Colorado Springs has it all in the way of places to shop and eat. Chain stores pepper the city from North to South selling familiar goods like clothing and dog food and Starbucks coffee. But we also have the specialty boutique stores, independently-owned and locally run offering unique, high-quality goods which you cannot get anywhere else. I’m talking about Colorado Springs-based shops like the Wimberger Bakery which bakes its finest German breads right here, or the Ranch Foods Direct meat market which offers hormone and antibiotic free, Colorado-raised beef…or one of my personal favorites, Colorado Coffee Merchants which locally roasts and sells the best coffee I’ve ever tasted.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
Founded in 2004, Colorado Coffee Merchants opened for business in a quaint stucco building on Filmore Street located in the central, and what-used-to-be more industrial part of town. The owner, Eric Umenhofer, claims his store and success was completely unintentional. A former firefighter, he had a passion for good, well-prepared coffee. As a result, he and some of his work friends developed a hobby of roasting their own coffee beans. Eventually, they landed this location, a commercial building where they could install the giant roasters with tall metal stacks venting through the roof and roast to their heart’s content. They had no idea this “hobby” would draw such local interest. And before long, they had a cult following of committed coffee drinkers insisting to buy some. What began as a hobby evolved into a thriving coffee shop, offering single serves or beans to go as well as scrumptious eats from local vendors.
WHAT MAKES THIS COFFEE SO GOOD?
I am told it’s the combination of the air roasting method plus the finest quality imported beans from trusted growers all over the world which makes this coffee taste so darn good. The coffee brand is called Umpire Estate Mountain Roasters. The beans are imported in select batches from places like Guatemala, Ethiopia, Italy, Mexico and even France.
A GOOD FEELING
Step inside and you’re immediately warmed by familiar smiling faces, the heavenly smell of good coffee and rustic atmosphere. This local store is always buzzing with loyal customers greeted daily by the staff or owner himself. Yah, he knows everyone by name. How he remembers everyone I don’t quite know. But I guarantee you’ll feel welcome. And if it’s roasting day, you just might leave with your clothes and hair smelling of great coffee!