Road Trip to Eagle: Color Coffee Roasters Soars Over the Vail Valley and Beyond

“What started as a home coffee roasting project, has evolved into a quest to share our discoveries with the world.  The quest has been realized at our flagship location in Eagle.”

By Colorado Coffee Zine

The story of Color begins in Boulder, Colorado where a university at the base of the towering red Flatirons attracts thousands of students each year. Charlie Gundlach, recalls his routine cups of coffee back in college, forgettable yet effective vessels of caffeine. It wasn’t until he was a senior that he challenged this pattern and began to really appreciate the wide world of coffee. One place in particular, Boxcar Coffee Roasters began to transform his perspective.

“I was a senior at CU Boulder right when Boxcar opened in 2011 and that was pretty cool for me because that’s when I started to get into coffee and they were making really nice espresso down at the shop” Charlie says of his original introduction to Boxcar’s Pearl Street location. After many pleasant visits to Boxcar, countless servings of espresso, and graduation, Charlie headed to California, where an entry level job in the family industry awaited.

Clark Gundlach, Charlie’s father, had made a career for himself in the snowboarding industry, and boarding in one way or another had always been a huge part of the family’s life. Jokingly boasting of his dual citizenship in the states of  Vermont and Colorado, Charlie admits it seemed reasonable at the time to follow the boarding passion he had developed at an early age. “So I took the job with Quicksilver in Huntington Beach, California and worked there for about 4 months, and while I was working there I was also hanging out at Portola Coffee Lab which is a coffee roaster with cafes in Orange County California…Eventually I got hired there and decided the Quicksilver position wasn’t exactly right for me.”

Charlie jumped into a high volume cafe as a barista, later adopting production and delivery responsibilities at the roastery. Keen to get more experience behind the roaster, Charlie took a roasting course at the famous Klatch Coffee Roasters and began his roasting apprenticeship at Portola. It was that hectic year of immersion into the exploding southern California coffee scene that strengthened Charlie’s resolve to learn everything he possible could and to begin building his own vision of a coffee experience. Eventually, that meant leaving California and heading back to Colorado, and specifically Boulder.

The Color Logo Was Inspired by the Flavor Wheel
Flying a Kite in Eagle

After landing right back on Pearl St, Charlie started working at the same Boxcar that had first sparked his enjoyment of espresso. “I was working full time at the Boulder café for almost 2 years. That is another really busy café, you make a ton of drinks there. Boxcar is super on top of latte art, training, milk, customer service, hospitality…That’s a really well run café” said Charlie of his time with Boxcar Coffee Roasters in Boulder.

He continued to devote his time to learning more about coffee, roasting, opening his own shop and the long process of scouting out potential locations. His parents retired to Colorado and the family decided to bring the Color Coffee Roasters dream to life in a place they would enjoy living and working all year round, Eagle, Colorado. The Gundlachs considered starting small with either roasting or retail, but after coming across a location that accommodated every aspect of a day to night experience, they welcomed the opportunity to develop everything at once. “We kind of went for it and a lot of it was determined by the actual space. So this used to be a brew pub. There is a giant walk in cooler back there that they had set up for kegs…the café already had four drains, they had a full bar here and it was already set up for retail and its kind of too big for just a roasting operation. So our destiny was kind of chosen in a lot of ways.”
Less than a year later, Color Coffee Roasters holds wholesale accounts across Colorado and also in California, Illinois, and Rhode Island. The day to night cafe offers a series of creative and freshly prepared eats as well as a range of alcoholic beverages. Charlie continues to meticulously research the latest in coffee roasting and coffee brewing, going as far as challenging you to deny Color’s batch-brew coffee prepared by a state of the art Bed Wetter is as good or better than a pour over. Join the Color Coffee Roasters team on one of the regularly scheduled trail runs or stop by as a destination coffee explorer.

Color Coffee Roasters
Portola Coffee Lab
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