Within the caffeinated pace of the coffee culture, there is a place with a new way to brew that slows you down. Vajra and Cara Rich have opened up a roastery and coffee bar in a shared space at Cured Cheese Shop in Boulder where they serve espresso drinks and their own specially brewed “cowboy coffee.”
Living on Vashon Island off of java centric Seattle, Vajra and Cara decided to return to their native home of Boulder, where they were intent upon developing the perfect cup of coffee. Cara bought Vajra a 1929 German cast iron roaster for his birthday and the momentum toward starting a small batch roastery and neighborhood coffee bar began.
After much research and lots of caffeine, the couple invented a unique brewing process that results in a deep, rich, hot cup of “cowboy coffee.” Because the boiling point in Boulder’s mile high altitude is 203 degrees instead of the usual 213, it makes it challenging to steep richness into each cup. So they developed a unique heating system that keeps the grounds hotter during the brewing process to create the best infusion of the coffee into the water.
The ritual begins with grinding a precise amount of coffee into a custom made beaker. Water is added and sits 45 seconds to let the coffee “bloom.” The beaker is then nestled into a custom made heating element shaped to the base of the beaker for exact and even heating. When the coffee starts to caramelize, it is removed from the heat. Swirling five cubes of ice into the hot coffee arrests the steeping process. Then the steaming hot, robustly flavored “cowboy coffee” is strained into a cup, placed on a small tray and graciously served across the bar.
This is when it’s time to honor their carefully mastered process by slowing down and sitting back to savor one of the very best cups of coffee in this neck of the woods. There are many trying to imitate, but there is only one original. Head to Pearl Street in Boulder and sip for yourself!