Meet Charlie Claus from Switchback Coffee Roasters in Colorado Springs, CO

Charlie competed in Cherry Roast 2017

Name and Role: Charlie Claus, Barista at Switchback Coffee Roasters

Experience: 7 years in coffee

What keeps you in coffee: I’m here for the people, 100% I love that whether I’m handing someone a really crappy cup of coffee or the best cup of coffee ever, you can have a conversation, an experience with someone. I think that’s what keeps me going is the people.

Customer experience: I like providing and creating relationships, so to me, its not customers. I’m in Colorado Springs, everyone I see, unless stated otherwise, lives here. So these are my neighbors… This is a really small town and I want to be able to be friends with people. And yes this is work for me and technically its a customer experience, but its more than that because it means something to me and it means something to them….I’m a human just as much as every customer that walks in is… And I think you know a lot of customers provide experiences for me too… Its nice to have an experience both ways.

Something in coffee that is not for you: Heavy whipping cream, whipped cream grosses me out, so hard. I dunno, I’m very vegan. So milk in general is kind of gross for me, but whenever people ask for heavy whip as their milk. It just settles gross and steams awful, I hate it.

Charlie from Switchback Coffee Roasters in Colorado Springs

Something in coffee you’d like to dive into: Roasting. don’t know anything about it yet, but I’ve done a couple of trainings with Evan and Sam and I really want to learn that relationship that they have with the coffee because it goes even deeper too – where we are sourcing it from and having that connection with farmers and people transporting it across the world just so that we can make the cup here. Another thing I really want to get involved in is the community, more than I am now. I want to be able to bring people together on a larger scale.

Routines or Rituals if any: If anything I have more routines with certain customers that come in every single day. Like everyday this woman [Madeline] comes in, she has a walker so everyone fights over opening the door for her, we’ll just hang out and talk to her for a minute. We have a regular [Mike] that comes in every single morning and we’ll just talk about how much he hates the music or dumb things like that. I think thats just a ritual for me, actually having genuine conversations and not just being robotic and skimming over things.

Cherry Roast: Absolutely incredible. 10 out of 10 experience. I loved it. People were great, the event was great. It should always happen, I loved it.

Come to Switchback for: I think not only visually is it extremely pleasing, but walking in its very comfortable and cozy, tons of windows, plants, lights. Usually there is someone like screaming hello at you which is really nice. So as a customer, even someone just walking in, right off the bat its amazing… Time and time again so many customers have told me too that even though we do have some of the best coffee they’ve ever had, we also have some of the best connections that they’ve ever had.

Something very Switchback: We call the Black Eagle, the Beagle, just cuz its fun. I think the biggest running joke, my favorite quirkiest thing about Switchback is our sinks. Cuz we just handwash all our dishes and we have 3 tiny little sinks so at all times you can see someone just busting out dishes back there. We just have a lot quirky things, you can tell its a neighborhood shop.

Charlie has 7 years of experience in the coffee industry

Shout Outs: Abbi Forgath because I think she is an incredible woman and she deserves all the things, all the regards. Two other people, Eliza Lovett because she is incredible and Taylor Ashley. He is so great, he is probably the one of the only reasons that I am still in the Springs. He was the first person that reached out to me in the coffee community and the community at all. I used to sit at the Wild Goose and him and I would talk together and I’d be like “I don’t like the Springs” and he’d be like, “just stick it out, you’re doing great!” He really helped me throw myself into this community and its amazing.