Imagine starting your dream job. You have the perfect schedule, you are doing what you love, everybody loves your product and most importantly you and your family are happy.
Sounds pretty nice, right?
Well that’s how life is going right now for Laken and Stephen, the founders of Bearded Baby Coffee Roasters, in Breckenridge, Colorado.
Haven’t heard of them? That’s okay, because they are brand new, but man do they have the experience, heart, loyalty and determination. Oh, and their coffee rocks, too.
I remember when I first met Laken. She and I were both new to town and started chatting in a local ski and board shop. Even though we hit it off, I won’t bore you with that story, because the little love story between the Bearded Baby dynamic due is much cuter.
Both Stephen and Laken were working on Main Street in the little ski town of Breckenridge and Laken would walk across the street each day to get coffee (how ironic) from Clint’s Coffee Shop, where Stephen works.
“I would always go get coffee from him at Clint’s” Laken says, “One day he asked me out on a date and the rest is history”.
It may seem as though the story began here, but the truth is Laken and Stephen have always had a lingering passion for America’s most popular caffeinated beverage.
Growing up in Joplin, MO, Laken worked for a small coffee shop where she fell in love with the art of creating lattes. After being trained by a couple in Iowa, she really began to learn the ins and outs of not only roasting but also operating a coffee company.
Born and raised in Mount Jackson, Virginia, Stephen’s interest in coffee began when he worked at his first coffee shop, which ironically enough, was Clint’s. He moved away for a bit and worked at a coffee shop in North Carolina, called The Dancing Turtle. When he moved back to Breckenridge he continued to fall in love with coffee (and Laken) and today manages the deli at Clint’s.
It has always been a dream for this young couple to start their own small gourmet coffee roasting business, and in July of 2016 that dream came true. Just three months after the birth of their first daughter, Eleanor Paige, the young and ambitious couple purchased their first coffee roaster. This was huge—in more ways than one.
After the exciting addition to the family in April and the birth of the roaster in July, the real fun began.
“I started tinkering around with different roasts and handing out samples to the Breck locals to see what they liked best” Laken told me. “I have yet to hear any negative feedback on the roasts”.
Especially being a new company, I am not sure it gets much better than that.
“I love roasting at home”, said Laken. “Not only do I get to be with my baby all day but I get to be with her while doing something I’m truly passionate about, coffee”!
Okay, okay, I guess it does get better.
So, incase you don’t understand—Laken plays with a baby, roasts coffee and visits her man at a coffee shop everyday. I think she is winning.
“It’s safe to say she [Eleanor Paige] was our main motivation in beginning the business,” said Laken.
“I also thought bearded baby was a witty alliteration and after drawing a baby with a beard I thought it would be a funny and memorable logo”.
I think it is pretty obvious that coffee plays a large role in this family’s daily life. Not only do they have the experience and the passion, but these new business owners are two of the friendliest people you will ever encounter. Eleanor is a very lucky little lady.
Bearded Baby Coffee sources their beans from Royal Coffee, which is a family owned green coffee bean distributer, currently connecting producers and roasters, internationally.
“We buy raw, green coffee beans and have them shipped to us [and] then I begin the roasting process. It typically takes 12-15 minutes per batch to roast to the darkness of my liking”.
Today Laken is roasting Ethiopian Yirgacheffe and Java, which are two of the darkest roasts, similar to a French roast.
“It’s definitely an art, manipulating and perfecting each roast”, Laken explained.
This cute coffee roasting momma prefers the lighter roasts, such as their Full City Roast, which is Guatemalan. Through feedback from townies, she has found that most people enjoy their Vienna roasts, which are “light French” and come from Columbia and Tanzania.
“We also sell Brazil (Full City+ roast) which is a rockstar. Currently we just sell single origin coffee, [which can be] ground per request or whole bean”.
I currently have some whole bean Columbian and Brazil roasts in the mail for me, and it would be an understatement to say I am excited.
From falling in love with perfecting the latte, falling in love with each other, falling in love with their new family member and clearly falling in love with the precision of roasting, it is obvious that this new business is truly full of heart.
I think the most success comes from those who love what they do, and I see no shortage of that with Bearded Baby.
“It is important to me that all of our coffee tastes good and people like it before I feel comfortable putting it in stores” said Laken. “We already have offers from local business that want to sell our coffee so the idea of that isn’t too far away from a reality”.
It has been a year full of new beginnings for Laken, Stephen and the not-so-bearded baby, and I predict an exciting future for this clan. As the only family owned roasting company in town, it has got to be exciting to hear that local shops are interested in selling their coffee.
“Our future goals of the business include sourcing straight from coffee farms around the world, meeting the farmers and their families and bringing their coffee back to the states to share [with] everyone. I believe going to the farms first hand would be a remarkable experience and would give marketing our coffee that extra “with love” quality.
Like I mentioned before, it really is all about the love, and there is lots of it at Bearded Baby Coffee Roasters.
After speaking with Laken about the company’s future plans I can truly envision everything she talks about happening, and what a rewarding and exciting exhibition that will be.
“There’s something about small batch, gourmet coffee that adds a kind of uniqueness to the flavor and [there is also] the benefit of knowing you’re helping out a small “mom and pop” shop (literally)”, said Laken.
I don’t predict any trouble for this Mom and Pop. I know Breckenridge well, I know coffee well and if there is one thing I believe in most, it is that following a passion is well worthwhile, especially when your family is involved.
“It has always been a dream of ours to start a small coffee roasting business and I’m blessed to say it’s a dream come true”, Laken said.
I can honestly say that I am excited to see this dream blossom.
For more information about the company and purchasing coffee click here!