I preface everything I’m about to say in this article with this statement: I strongly dislike coffee. That being typed, Erica Koenig, barista at the Coffee Ranch, took my palette on a magic carpet ride and opened me up to a whole new world of rich exotic flavor.
With a shred under 11 years of experience, and being the only active competitive barista in the North State Region, Koenig was the perfect shaman on this transformative flavor quest. My journey found me first in New Guinea—home to a robust, savory, sumatran brew with hints of sweet potato and butternut squash. “What is this?” I asked myself, astonished and perplexed as to why I was actually enjoying straight coffee unadulterated by loads of aspartame-infused sweetener. The answer, I came to find, was that every other coffee I’ve ever had was swill compared to this.
Then I had the Ethiopian blend, a specific heirloom strand called Guji, which comes from the Sidamo province in the southern most region of the country. Its aroma was divinely citric, tasting of blueberries and finished with a hint of vanilla. This celestial liquid managed to best its Indonesian predecessor.
The interior of the behorseshoe’d Ranch was warm, with beautiful artwork by Alyssa Cose and welcoming wood paneling. I was greeted by the gleaming smile of co-owner Amanda Petrack-Zunich. A British transplant, Amanda made it a point to tell me how to properly make a cup of tea, and that the real thing is available for us unwitting Yankees to discover.
I finished my tour de café with an ethereal mocha, brewed with a high altitude variety exclusively roasted at Pablo’s in Denver and called Danger Monkey. The Coffee Ranch is the only establishment that avails this fine strain to the wanting American public outside of Colorado’s capital. One can purchase delightfully named Danger Monkey for a mere $14 per pound and two dollars are stricken from the price on Tuesdays. A smorgasbord of gourmet treats are deftly plied and ready for consumption. The spread ranges from bacon and spinach quiche to billowy lemon meringue with various types of delectable cookies littering the edible spectrum betwixt the two.
Come summer’s end, a “back 40” is to be erected in the 1/3 acre plot behind the cafe, complete with a dog run, horseshoe pit, and community tables, thus truly making the place a “coffee ranch.”
I have been baptized and born anew as a coffee believer thanks to the efforts by the fine members of the Coffee Ranch. Next time, I’ll make sure to don my ten-gallon hat, bolo tie, and assless chaps.
Coffee Ranch is open Monday through Sunday, 6AM-5PM.