Coffee Rites: Carolyn Daughters, Brand Strategist & Teacher
 
 Carolyn sharing coffee rites in her writing loft.

Carolyn sharing coffee rites in her writing loft.

Carolyn Daughters is one of my favorite people in Denver, and it's a multi-bonus as her friend that she loves good coffee, knows English grammar better than Strunk & White, and can help even the saddest piece of writing (be it lowly email or ragged novel draft) find its heart and speak to the world with clarity and conviction.

Despite our toddler choosing this particular day to channel her inner wildebeest in the comfort of Carolyn's home, we were still able to talk with Carolyn for a few moments about coffee, Colorado, and the interlinked crafts of writing and marketing strategy. 

 

How did you become a Coloradan?

Back in 2002, I lived in Charlottesville, Virginia, and my good friend Laurie lived in Colorado. I’d visit her often. One of my favorite things to do was climb mountains. Growing up, we weren’t a hiking family, and I was in my 20’s the first time I went on a real hike. On my visits to Colorado, Laurie and I hiked long and hard and earned our 360 degree views. At the top, I felt so small. It was humbling and aspirational. I saw Colorado as this amazing place where people greeted each other and waved as they passed. People left work at 5. Back in DC, we’d work until 8 or 9 and order in dinner. We worked weekends. Colorado was a culture shock. It felt different, laid back and relaxed. I felt freer and lighter here. So I moved here.

 Carolyn and Laurie.

Carolyn and Laurie.

HOw did you become a writer/editor/marketing strategist/teacher?

Back in the 90’s, I worked at the Pentagon as an editor and writing instructor. It was my first job out of college. Later, I did proposal work, marketing, and PR for another company, then led a team of tech writers at INRI (Northrop Grumman) and a large team of writers at Lexis-Nexis. I also spent 4 years in grad school at the University of Virginia. For the past 15 years, I’ve worked full-time as a freelance writer, marketing strategist, book editor, and writing instructor. These experiences have enabled me to jump into most any kind of writing work.

These days I do a lot of small business marketing and brand strategy, corporate writing instruction, and fiction and nonfiction book editing. Many traditional writing courses focus on grammar and punctuation, but I focus on the art of argumentation. I mean, what’s the use of knowing how to use a comma if you can’t structure your thoughts in a compelling way? (Of course, once you’ve built a strong argument, you should figure out how to use that comma …)
I have two key communication rules. First, almost everything we write is intended for an audience. Emails, reports, blog posts, website content, novels, ... We’re almost always writing for others, so it makes sense to take their needs into account. Second, you don’t have to write a “winning” argument for that argument to be effective. Instead of going to war with readers, engage in a dialogue. Sometimes it’s enough to get someone to see your point of view or think about something in a different way.

 The view of downtown Denver from Carolyn's home.

The view of downtown Denver from Carolyn's home.

WHAT KIND OF PROJECTS DO YOU TYPICALLY WORK ON?

I create a marketing strategy for my clients to help them communicate with their target audience and grow their business.

Lately, I’ve been leading a lot of corporate marketing and branding workshops and writing workshops in Colorado and around the country. 
Companies with unclear messaging often need foundational structure and support.

The workshops I lead help clients focus their message and get the entire team on the same page. From there, I create a marketing strategy for my clients to help them communicate with their target audience and grow their business. That strategy identifies their value, key differentiators, and competitive advantage. I basically help them increase awareness about their business and convert prospects into customers.

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SHARE THE MOST INTERESTING STORY FROM YOUR LINE OF WORK.

One of the most rewarding things I do is help companies solidify their identity and communicate their value to their target audience as effectively as possible. I recently led a two-day marketing/branding workshop for a client, and at first the 12 team members in attendance couldn’t understand how the workshop could last more than 1-2 hours! However, during our two days together the team shared their ideas and passions, and together we built a marketing strategy that the entire team stands behind.

The teams I work with always have a lot to share, and it’s my job to guide their conversations and capture ideas and insights that help to shape the company’s direction. Brand sessions sometimes feel like therapy sessions for the attendees. Most attendees leave inspired with a renewed focus on contributing to the success of the business.

Brand sessions sometimes feel like therapy sessions for the attendees.

WHAT RECOMMENDATIONS DO YOU HAVE TO SOMEONE LOOKING TO BECOME A WRITER/EDITOR?

I never planned to be writer. I never took AP English in HS. I was a political science major in college until a professor suggested I become an English double major. I write well because I’ve always read voraciously. And because for more than half of my life I’ve spent most hours of most days writing.
My teachers in school and professors in college always marked up my papers and pointed out areas for improvement. And I paid attention. My mentor at the Pentagon, John Beasley, took me under his wing. He pushed me to excel, constantly challenged my writing and editing decisions, and didn’t give praise lightly. What I’ve learned is that if someone smarter than you gives you advice – take it!

If you want to become a writer/editor, then spend your waking hours reading and writing. And revise, revise, revise. Write the ugly first draft and then give it shape and form. Make it beautiful. When I was teaching at the University of Virginia and CU Boulder, I required my students to revise every paper at least three times. When I edit fiction and nonfiction books, I mark up the pages and comment extensively, all with the goal of helping authors tell the best story possible. Smart, ambitious people can become excellent writers and editors – but their work ethic has to be spot on. They have to want it.

 Carolyn with colleagues at the Pentagon, including mentor John Beasley to her left.

Carolyn with colleagues at the Pentagon, including mentor John Beasley to her left.

WHAT BOOKS DO YOU RECOMMEND?

I love Strunk and White from a “how to write” perspective. From a fiction writer’s perspective, I love The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler. I believe it’s important to understand what good stories look like and how they’re told.

In my free time, I read 19th-century British novels, books by Jane Austen, George Eliot, and Dickens. I love the Modernists and Ezra Pound’s maxim, “Make It New!” I love colonial literature and fin de siècle novels that feature the New Woman. I also love good mysteries – Elizabeth George, Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle. I guess you might say I love books.

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What are your coffee rites? 

I start every day with coffee. I wouldn’t have gotten out of bed for the past 20-plus years without coffee. For me, it’s an early-morning pleasure. My boyfriend makes it for me about half the time, which is a bonus. I like a medium to full-bodied blend made with the espresso machine or French press. I’m loving the Woodsong Sumatra I’m drinking right now.

 One of many murals visible from Carolyn's balcony.

One of many murals visible from Carolyn's balcony.

If you could have coffee with anyone, who would it be? 

Barack and Michelle Obama. It’s a nostalgic thing, I’m sure. We would sit on my tiny balcony in RiNo (River North Art District, Denver) and sip our Woodsong Sumatra and take in the scene. We would look at the gentrification and the exodus of artists and people of color and the slapdash buildings seemingly constructed overnight, and we’d do more than just commiserate. We’d build an ambitious, forward-thinking strategy and then turn strategy into action. 
Barack and Michelle are idea people. More than that, they give a damn and get things done. They aren’t perfect, and they have flaws like everyone else. But I believe they represented and continue to represent the sort of hope that we need. That I need. There on my balcony, we would sip our coffee, and they would show the way.
 

Have a project in need of a brand strategist, editor, writer, or teacher?

Contact Carolyn through one of these channels:

Web
Facebook
Instagram
LinkedIn

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Do you have a business or endeavor you'd like to share with us along with your coffee rites? We'd love to hear from you. Contact us here

 
Coffee Rites: Michael Van der Linden of Linden Botanicals
 
 Michael Van der Linden at home in Denver with coffee, books, and teas.

Michael Van der Linden at home in Denver with coffee, books, and teas.

Before Brandon and I knew that Michael was planning to launch Linden Botanicals, we thought he just took the most amazing vacations ever, and we had serious travel-envy. We still do, but our travel-envy expanded into excitement when we learned his trips had been to source farmers and cultivators for his new business, Linden Botanicals. Linden Botanicals sells a selection of herbs curated with extreme care and research for their ability to optimize health and well-being.

Michael's story of how and why he decided to launch his business is as interesting as his travelogues, and we're thankful he took an afternoon to sit down with us for coffee, tea, and conversation.

How did you become a Coloradan?

I was a transplant. I came here from Connecticut because my kids came out here first. They said it was great, and now I’ve been here about six years. 

 Michael finds Phllanthus Niruri growing in the Amazon in Peru on a sourcing trip (2016).

Michael finds Phllanthus Niruri growing in the Amazon in Peru on a sourcing trip (2016).

 Brewing Woodsong Coffee beans for espresso at home.

Brewing Woodsong Coffee beans for espresso at home.

When and why did you found Linden Botanicals? 

Linden Botanicals was founded out of a passion for helping people optimize their health. I had Lyme disease 10 years ago. It took four years to get over it, with three years of antibiotics that did nothing. I found Phyllanthus Niruri, a plant from the Amazon rainforest known for aiding kidney health. Lyme disease can affect every system and get into your central nervous system. Phyllanthus Niruri originally helped me with a kidney stone (Phyllanthus Niruri’s other name, Chanca Piedra, means “stone breaker”), so I did a lot more research and learned it could also be helpful for the Lyme disease – there are more than 1,000 studies done on this plant.

You can make the tea like you would drip coffee using the powdered plant. Tea has a number of health benefits and I use it daily. For example, I drink a mix of Phyllanthus Niruri, Terminalia Chebula, and Cistanche Tubulosa before going to the gym. Terminalia Chebula is good for your joints; it helps support cartilage. Cistanche Tubulosa is a good support for bones and muscles. I use a ½ teaspoon of the mixed extracts in a cup of blueberry juice. You could use water or another juice, that’s just my preference. 

 Michael displays loose leaf tea from his shop.

Michael displays loose leaf tea from his shop.

Where are your herbs sourced from and how did you choose which to sell? 

We chose very carefully and set out to keep our selection narrow, only choosing plants with research and science behind them. We have nine plants, and Phyllanthus Niruri was the first one we selected because of my experience with it. The rest were selected after careful research to be sure they are effective and safe. I wanted plants that would repair the body’s systems. Where the plants come from and when they’re picked all make a difference, too. You want to be sure you’re getting the real plant that’s the best quality of its type. Phyllanthus Niruri comes from Peru, in the Amazon. Cistanche Tubulosa is found in Mongolia. Terminalia Chebula is from a tree in India. Just like with grapes, the terroir matters for their phytochemical value.  

We visited the countries and growers we were interested in sourcing from before choosing. The point of visiting is to get to know the people collecting the plant and drying it. Having tea or coffee with a grower is a great way to get to know them. We wanted to be sure that the process would be fair for everyone involved with growing and sourcing the plant and that every plant grown was organic and processed in FDA-certified facilities. Some companies pay workers a fraction of a penny, so meeting with the entire supply chain is important to ensure workers are getting fair wages. In Peru, we explored the Amazon jungles to find Phyllanthus Niruri. In India, we went out into the fields and met members of women’s cooperatives. We’re trying to be conscious of the whole process while providing education to customers about the plants and their benefits. They’re not just tasty teas. Drinking teas from these plants is all about optimizing health.

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What’s your favorite travel story from sourcing the plants? 

Our recent trip to Morocco. That trip will result in some new products that we don’t have for sale just yet. Morocco is a good example of our sourcing philosophy. We went with an open mind to learn from the local traditions. The information we learned has convinced me to add argan oil to our lineup. It has a nutty flavor and can be used as a carrier oil for other herbs – our use will be very different from the hair products you may be familiar with. The trip was amazing. The people were all so friendly and inviting. Plus we got to ride camels out into the dunes of the Sahara Desert, drink Moroccan mint tea, camp in the desert, and see the Milky Way without city lights in the way. 

 Michael on camel back in the Sahara Desert, Morocco (2017).

Michael on camel back in the Sahara Desert, Morocco (2017).

 Michael at the Taj Mahal in Agra, India (2017)

Michael at the Taj Mahal in Agra, India (2017)

You’re an artist in addition to an herbalist. What kind of medium do you work in? 

Almost any medium, but I’ve been concentrating on visual musicabstract animation. The skills I developed in algorithmically assisted art have led me to some interesting ideas for public artworks, which, by being fully interactive with the audience, would take on a life of their own. My favorite piece is always the one I’ll be working on next. 

View another of Michael's pieces here, and note this is our daughter's favorite, as she's dancing to it as it plays.

What would you recommend to someone new to herbal teas? 

Well, Phyllanthus Niruri is nearly always my prime recommendation. It supports so many key body systems that nearly anyone can benefit. Terminalia Chebula and Cistanche Tubulosa would be great for someone training for a marathon or just looking to supplement their exercise program to protect their bodies. I’d remind someone interested in starting to drink herbal teas that the teas should be combined with getting enough sleep, exercise and nutrition – eating well and cutting out things from your diet and life that make you sick. If those three things are in order, then the right herbal teas will help you.  

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What are your coffee rites? 

Every morning I make my girlfriend (and business partner) coffee in the espresso machine. It’s her incentive to come downstairs and get started with her day. I myself drink tea throughout the day; it’s something I grew up with and there’s a strong connection, for me, between tea and my mother. Her favorite was Earl Grey, which was also mine before Phyllanthus Niruri.  

 Michael on a boat on the Amazon in search of Phyllanthus Niruri (2017).

Michael on a boat on the Amazon in search of Phyllanthus Niruri (2017).

If you could have coffee or tea with anyone, who would it be? 

There are so many people to choose – the last person on Earth? Or 1733, Johann Sebastian Bach, so we could talk about the coffee that inspired him to write the Coffee Cantata. Its libretto is about a young girl trying to convince her father to let her drink coffee.
 

Shop all of the Linden Botanicals selections here.
Follow Linden Botanicals on Facebook.
Follow Linden Botanicals on Instagram.

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Do you have a business or endeavor you'd like to share with us along with your coffee rites? We'd love to hear from you. Contact us here

 
Coffee Rites: David Blatt of Mortified Colorado
 

Brandon and I first met David Blatt after attending the Mortified Colorado: Doomed Valentines 2017 show. Since then, we've been regulars at every Mortified event, always waking up the following morning with sore stomachs from laughing too hard. Last weekend, we sat down to have coffee with David and talk about Mortified and the upcoming the 2018 Doomed Valentines show. David brought Mortified, a comedy show and podcast that features adults sharing real stories and artifacts (comics, diary entries, school projects, etc.) from adolescence on stage for hundreds of strangers, to Denver after reading pieces of his own adolescent chronicles in San Francisco.

Mortified Colorado has been ongoing bi-monthly for a year now, with regular sold-out shows in Denver's Oriental Theatre. David took some time on a Sunday afternoon to sit down with us and his chihuahua, Bella, over coffee and talk about Mortified and his own creative journey. (And for the curious - David let me humiliate myself by reading my fifth-grade diaries on stage in April, 2017, and I'm still trying to live it down).

 David at home in Denver's Park Hill neighborhood.

David at home in Denver's Park Hill neighborhood.

 David onstage hosting Mortified Colorado. Photo by  From The Hip Photo

David onstage hosting Mortified Colorado. Photo by From The Hip Photo

How did you become a Coloradan?

I grew up in Colorado, right by Congress Park. I left in '98, after high school, for Oberlin to study Creative Writing. After graduating, I lived in Chicago for about seven years acting and writing plays and singing in a band, and then I was in San Francisco for another seven years, making music and going to acupuncture school. 

I decided to come back to Colorado after looking at the long-term picture. I still had family in Denver, a good crew of friends, and affordable housing options (an element of San Francisco that was becoming unsustainable). I wanted to spend more time with my dad, and learned there was no Mortified chapter in Denver, so it was the perfect opportunity to bring the show back to Colorado with me.

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How did you first get into Mortified?

A friend wanted to go for his birthday. I thought it might be an awful night, but then laughed harder than I'd laughed in a long time. I went home and dug everything out, the journals, the school essays, letters, the works. I read in the Bay Area shows for five years, and then the idea of bringing Mortified back to Denver tipped the scales on my decision to return home. I went to the training for producers who want to take Mortified to new cities, and on November 4, 2016, we had our first show in Denver and sold out. 

It was a charmed start; CPR did a piece on it, and then Jamie Laurie (Jonny5 of Flobots) was a featured reader in our February show, which helped with promotion. We sold out Jamie's shows, and it's grown steadily since then. It also helps having a good relationship with BookBar, which is located close the Oriental Theater. The BookBar staff have helped connect me with local authors and helped grow the Mortified community. Nicole (the owner at BookBar) has been awesome, and it's a fun way to get to know people throughout the city. Readers divulge things they normally wouldn't, so it's kind of a sacred process.

 David performs onstage in between readers during a Mortified show with house band Hot Lunch. Photo by  From The Hip Photo

David performs onstage in between readers during a Mortified show with house band Hot Lunch. Photo by From The Hip Photo

What are your coffee rites?

I enjoy coffee in small amounts, but can usually be found over my laptop with hot tea. On chilly mornings I like to brew something hot and snuggle on the couch with my pup, Bella. Also when I’m working on Mortified edits. And before bed. Throughout the day. I guess I'm never very far from a mug.

If you could have coffee (or tea) with anyone, who would you share it with?

That would have to be my mom, who passed about 12 years ago. I'd love to have another hour together so we could share some stories, and laugh, and she would probably want us to split a huge bag of potato chips. 

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When not curating readers or selling out tickets, David helps people find relief from pain and experience better health through his acupuncture and massage practice, Evolution Wellness. You can hear his music at ReverbNation.

The next Mortified show is Doomed Valentines on Saturday, February 10th from 8 PM - 10 PM at the Oriental Theater in Denver. Tickets, as you can tell, tend to sell out by day-of-show, so be sure to purchase yours now.

Want to dust off those diaries and be in the show? Visit GetMortified.com/Participate and select the Denver chapter. Brandon and I will be there, so we hope to see you in the audience or on stage!

 

 
Happy Winter Solstice! Celebrate with Light & Warmth
 
 We woke up to snow and honey lattes this winter solstice morning.

We woke up to snow and honey lattes this winter solstice morning.

 
 

Today marks the 2017 Winter Solstice and the start of Yule celebrations. It may seem odd to celebrate the darkest day of the year, but the solstice, like most holidays (including Christmas), is actually a celebration of hope; hope for the lengthening of light to come, of new life promised by the pending spring, and for the warmth that will return to the world in stride with the sun.

 
 
 The solstice brings the shortest, darkest day of the year, but is observed as a celebration of the coming light and warmth.

The solstice brings the shortest, darkest day of the year, but is observed as a celebration of the coming light and warmth.

 
 

The thing about hope, though, is it usually involves a period of waiting. Winter is that waiting period. The word “solstice” derives from the Latin words sol sistere, which can be translated as “sun standing still.” Traditional Yule celebrants like the Celtics (Amanda's ancestral people) believed the sun stood still for 12 days, and a yule log was burned to conquer the darkness, sustain light in the world, and bring luck for the coming year. 

The science behind the solstice revolves around the sun’s daily southward movement in the sky, which appears to pause on the solstice as we see the sun rise and set at its southernmost points on the horizon before reversing direction. It’s an annual astronomical turning point in the seasons.

 
 
 Our toasty, bundled tot loves the snow.

Our toasty, bundled tot loves the snow.

 Woodsong Coffee is the perfect stocking stuffer for Christmas and Yule.

Woodsong Coffee is the perfect stocking stuffer for Christmas and Yule.

 
 

The change doesn't just impact the length of light we receive. The old proverb says: “As the days lengthen, the cold strengthens," and for us Northern Hemisphere dwellers, it's mostly true. The cold "strengthens" because the amount of solar energy arriving is less than the amount leaving. Once the sun starts shining longer and the ground warms up again, the chill will subside. Knowing it's about to be cold for a bit, though, isn't it lovely to have a holiday celebrating warmth and light? While hot chocolate had been my winter drink of choice for warming up for years, now that we have a toddler to chase and multiple jobs to juggle, coffee is my hot, sustaining beverage of choice. And isn't it fitting for the symbolism of the solstice? Coffee warms you up from the inside and provides a little extra energy to make it through the dark and the cold.

 
 
 Green beans waiting for roasting last Sunday. If you had coffee delivered from us last Monday, you're drinking these now!

Green beans waiting for roasting last Sunday. If you had coffee delivered from us last Monday, you're drinking these now!

 
 

We're big fans of symbolism around here. Brandon's family comes from the Germanic Alsace region of France, some of the original Yule celebrators, and my own family branches down from predominately Scottish and Irish immigrants, also solstice celebrants. While I've always been interested in the history of holidays, I wasn't so invested in seasonal observation until we installed a backyard garden. Once we were beholden to seeding instructions (greens in cool, fruits in warm, lavender seeds in fall to overwinter) and measuring soil temperatures to plant bulbs, I felt more aware of the seasonal shifts than I ever have before. I used to lament that the seasons felt like they were speeding by as I worked indoors 100% of the time, but after becoming a gardener, I realized that summer wasn't over just because school went back into session as we continued to harvest greens, radishes, and winter squash up to Thanksgiving, and that winter wasn't a "dead" season, it is a sleeping season of necessary rest and rejuvenation (my geraniums are thankful I've had this revelation; they're getting their first winter rest ever out in paper sacks in the garage).

 
 
 Freshly roasted beans cooling in the tray.

Freshly roasted beans cooling in the tray.

 
 

Now, the snow is falling on Commerce City as I type with coffee - of course - in hand, and I know that our soil is resting, the compost we spread atop our garden in fall is breaking down into the ground to replenish our homegrown food in the coming season, our bulbs and lavender seeds are loving their necessary "cold processing" before they're ready to wake up in spring (they won't grow without the cold), and the snow will saturate the soil with groundwater to keep the roots of our trees and our grasses alive. And us? We're enjoying the snow with our daughter, keeping warm inside as we decorate our Christmas tree - an evergreen, symbol of eternal life - and enjoy the early onset of darkness for the extra rest it provides before the coming spring. Maybe we'll even keep a little holly hung by our door year-round for luck.

 
 
 Brandon pulls a sample of beans out with the trier to see by their scent and color if they're ready.

Brandon pulls a sample of beans out with the trier to see by their scent and color if they're ready.

 
 

From the Boldenow family to yours, we wish you the happiest of holidays, whichever (or however many) you celebrate. If you're still in need of a last-minute gift to share some warmth, we are roasting beans tomorrow for pre-Christmas delivery for locals, so be sure to get your order in by tomorrow morning.

 
 
 Afternoons home in our house call for coffee by Brandon's preferred brew method - the Chemex.

Afternoons home in our house call for coffee by Brandon's preferred brew method - the Chemex.

 
 

If you need further suggestions, the team over at Fiction Unbound wrote a holiday gift guide comprised of our favorite books, and there's not a bad choice among them. Hot coffee, snow, books, and a celebration of hope and light? Yes to all, please. 

 
 
 Happy solstice and snow day from the Boldenows! My hat is a souvenir from our visit to Iceland three years ago, and it is indeed adorned with puffins. We aren't kidding when we say we're bird people.

Happy solstice and snow day from the Boldenows! My hat is a souvenir from our visit to Iceland three years ago, and it is indeed adorned with puffins. We aren't kidding when we say we're bird people.

 
 

 

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Espresso Catering at The Lyon's Farmette
 
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Last June we got to setup our mobile coffee cart for a lovely evening at the Lyon's Farmette. We love the Farmette so much we'd originally planned on getting married there on October 4, 2013. If you're familiar with Colorado and the past five years, you might be saying "Oh no," right now. The 500 year flooding event of 2013 occurred two weeks before our wedding date, devastating Lyons and parts of Longmont. We had to move our wedding, which was a minor effort compared to the monumental recovery that has taken place in the impacted areas since the flooding. 

A bright spot, though, was that the Farmette is situated on the upside of a slope, and came out of the other side of the flooding alright. It continues to be one of the most beautiful wedding and event venues in Colorado. We were thrilled for a reason to go back and enjoy the Farmette's lush greenery, flowers, stream, meet some of the staff who have joined the Farmette since our wedding planning days, and of course, the Farmette chickens, goats, and llamas.

All of this to say that our espresso catering is an equally beautiful addition to any already beautiful setting, whether that's an outdoor farm or an indoor ballroom. Good coffee fits in anywhere (and can keep your guests talking and dancing all night long). 

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The Farmette's momma llama had just given birth to this sweet baby. Some human babies tried to sneak a taste of espresso, but we think hot chocolate is more their speed. Our espresso catering menu is customizable for your event. We'll work with you to create a menu of hot and cold drinks your guests will love.

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Pricing for espresso catering depends on the size of your event and the size of your preferred drink menu. We can use your favorite syrup flavors or make homemade infused syrups for lattes and cappuccinos.

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We would love to part of your special memories! Contact us to start the conversation, and please share a as much about your event as you can at this point in your planning process (number of guests, location, venue, the date). We'll email back or give you a call (let us know if you have a preference) with price estimates based on different sized drink menu options (for example, Option A might be just coffee and espresso drinks with two flavor options, or Option B might include hot and iced beverages and an array of flavors). Whatever your special day is - congratulations! And thank you for considering making Woodsong Coffee part of it.

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New Columbian Beans & Coffee Memories
 
 Fresh green coffee beans imported from Columbia through La Bodega for Woodsong

Fresh green coffee beans imported from Columbia through La Bodega for Woodsong

 Coffee memories: a hot cup and chocolate cake on a cold, sleety day while visiting Reykjavik, Iceland before we were three. 

Coffee memories: a hot cup and chocolate cake on a cold, sleety day while visiting Reykjavik, Iceland before we were three. 

It's here, it's here! Our Columbian green coffee beans arrived yesterday and Brandon didn't waste any time roasting a test batch. When I pulled in from work he came out into the garage in socks, handed me a cup of black coffee he'd just brewed from the test batch, and said "Taste this, I think it's going to be phenomenal." I don't think he's wrong.

Columbian beans will be up in the online shop shortly! Check back by the start of next week, or drop a note l if you want to be first in line to try it. Also be on the lookout: our decaf beans are scheduled to arrive *today.* This means I can drink coffee at ALL HOURS and I am so excited.

After the coffee had been tasted and the toddler and the lunch boxes and briefcases and all other manner of stuff had been brought from the car inside, we started decorating our family tree (key word being "started" - anything that takes more than an hour on a weeknight is not getting finished in one go), and I loved unwrapping these copper ornaments and tiny, knitted mittens my mother bought for our "Turkish Christmas Tree" the year we lived in Izmir, Turkey.

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The sense memory they invoke is Konak Market, where she bought them, and the winding halls and alleys of stalls and shops filled with everything from tiny mittens to produce to gold to garden tools, and the traditional Turkish coffee that would be delivered directly into a shop for you on a beautiful tray in delicate cups. I didn't drink coffee then (I was 14), but I remember my parents drinking it. I drank tea, and remember the tulip-shaped glass tea cups rimmed in gold and filled with apple tea, the grounds settling at the bottom.

All this to say that your cup of coffee isn't just a cup of coffee, and adds up to a whole lot more than the sum of its taste and scent. Coffee has certainly become a part of our family tradition and we hope you bring our coffees into yours.


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Coffee Table Book Recommendations: Champion Trees of Arkansas
 

Coffee table book Champion Trees of Arkansas by Linda Williams Palmer, available at the Tattered Cover Book Store.

We love this beautiful book by Arkansas author and photographer Linda Williams Palmer, and were lucky enough to have a signed copy sent to us by family in Fayetteville, AR. If you love the stories of the very old and very wise among us (like the century trees in this book), then we highly recommend this for your coffee table.


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We Love Colorado & Coconut Sugar Simple Syrup
 

We've been in Colorado almost five years, and the fun of the past week alone illustrates why we decided to stay and raise our family here (we were thisclose to accepting a job and moving to Barcelona, Spain last year). Over the course of the previous two weekends we took our daughter to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, snowshoed with friends in Rocky Mountain National Park, listened to Gregory Alan Isakov play his beautiful songs with the Colorado Symphony (we're now in love with Christopher Dragon after watching him conduct from parquet seating, aka "The Dragon Pit"), shared meals with Mariella's grandparents, and of course, drank our way through cup after cup of coffee!

While waiting for our 2kg roaster to arrive, we've been busy (in addition to day jobs and parenting) visiting the incredible local roasters around Denver and Boulder. Last weekend we visited Ozo Coffee in Boulder and enjoyed an espresso in their warm shop on a snow-packed Saturday afternoon, (we'll be attending Ozo's roasting school in just over a month - we can't wait!). Yesterday we visited Commonwealth Coffee's bright and beautiful three-month-old cafe in their Park Hill roastery and had a delicious almond milk latte (I even got a second in a to-go cup to take along to an alumni meeting for the Denver Lighthouse Writer's Workshop Book Project).

Denver and Boulder's craft coffee culture is giving the craft beer scene a run for its money in terms of options and quality, and we hope to help fill the gaps in the Commerce City, Brighton, and Henderson areas for fresh, in-town roasted coffee beans. The shorter the distance from the roasting drum to your cup, the more flavorful and aromatic the coffee.

As I type, I'm taking advantage of a few moments of quiet provided by toddler nap time to enjoy an Ethiopian blonde roast sweetened with coconut milk and home-made coconut sugar simple syrup. Brandon is a purist who prefers his coffee black, but I'm part-sugar and need to be replenished constantly lest I dissolve.

We look forward to sharing our craft coffee with you in the coming months!

Hope you're warm on this snowy day,

Amanda


Coconut Sugar Simple Syrup

For sweeter, richer syrup:

  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 cup water

For less sweet, lighter syrup:

  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 cups water

Add sugar and water to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Allow to boil until sugar has dissolved (you can tell when stirring whether or not you feel any granules scraping around if its dissolved). Remove from heat and use a funnel to pour into an airtight container (Mason jars are great). Store in the fridge for up to a month and use to sweeten hot or iced coffee and tea, as well as cocktails!


SHOP WOODSONG


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Meet the Boldenows
 
WoodsongBoldenows

Woodsong Coffee was founded by Brandon and Amanda Boldenow, coffee nerds whose obsession with caffeinated beverages only grew after becoming parents (thanks, 3 AM feedings!). Brandon is a D.C. native, and Amanda is an Arkansas native. After meeting in Austin, Texas, they moved to Colorado in 2012 for work. They fell in love with the mountains, the front range, and the people, and decided to stay, making Commerce City their home. What started as an adventure in home coffee roasting quickly outgrew their kitchen, and is now in the process of becoming a small business micro-roastery.

Woodsong Coffee's mission is to create expertly crafted roasts from ethically sourced beans that translate into a delicious cup of coffee.

It's our goal to shorten the distance between farmer and drinker through transparency and knowledge, and to shorten the distance between roaster and cup through small batch roasts and quick distribution.  

Woodsong Coffee plans to sell its beans right here at woodsongcoffee.com, and hopefully at some of the amazing local coffee shops we know and love throughout Denver, Boulder, and across the front range. We also plan to sell quality brewing supplies and coffee accessories for fellow aficionados, nerds, and caffeine addicts.

We hope you'll check back for updates as we (impatiently) wait for our 2kg Mill City roaster to arrive, bulk up our coffee-nerd cards through roasting school, taste test all the beans we can get our hands on (hello again, 3 AM!), and prepare to start small batch roasts to share by spring of 2017. Thank you for joining us on this new endeavor!


SHOP WOODSONG


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