Breck Coffee Roasters raises $10K for firefighter Daniel ‘Skip’ Bergbauer’s family
Though Daniel “Skip” Bergbauer of the Red, White & Blue Fire Protection District died over the summer, his legacy lives on in one of his passions: coffee. Breck Coffee Roasters has been selling three blends in honor of Bergbauer and raising money for his family from the proceeds.
The beans used in the roast come from Bergbauer himself. He left behind roughly 3,000 pounds of green, unroasted beans in his garage after he died. An aerospace engineer before becoming a firefighter, Bergbauer was known to apply his scientific mind and make his own special blends for the local fire stations.
“He started with his little air popper roaster in the bay at the firehouse,” firefighter Dan Felt said. “We’d get up to go on a call at like 2 or 3 in the morning, and he’d be down there like a mad scientist roasting beans in the middle of the night because he’s just trying to figure it out.”
Bergbauer eventually owned multiple roasters for his hobby. He would roast the beans not just for the stations, but also for his co-workers individually.
“I put an order in for the month, and he’d roast me 5 pounds for my house,” Felt said, adding that he believed Bergbauer had plans to provide Front Range stations with coffee. “It was growing and evolving for him.”
Felt approached Breck Coffee Roasters in hopes that they would be able to make use of the supply. The company first roasted the beans for free for the station’s personal use. Then to help make a dent before the beans were no longer fresh, Breck Coffee Roasters bought some at market cost to use for the coffee shop’s existing blends.
Andrii Iwashko, chief operating officer and head roaster of Breck Coffee Roasters, estimated Bergbauer sourced from at least 20 farms in his wide inventory.
“He was a huge coffee connoisseur,” Iwashko said.
Breck Coffee Roasters roasted roughly 2,500 pounds of beans and raised $10,000 for the Bergbauer family by selling 500, 12-ounce bags of Skip’s Blend. The money will mainly go toward college funds for Bergbauer’s daughters, Nika and Sophia.
Three versions — Station 4, Station 6 and Station 7 — were created to cater to a variety of tastes. Station 4 was the dark blend, Station 6 was light-medium, and Station 7 was medium-dark.
“Medium roast is going to be your classic, more acidic coffee, but it has some of the fruitier notes,” Iwashko said. “Medium-dark is going to be your classic chocolate, peanut butter and graham cracker flavor notes. Dark roast is something you want to cut with some milk. It’s going to be a little harsher where it might come off as bitter for some people’s palates, but some people really do enjoy that coffee flavor profile.”
The blends sold for $20 each, with about $15 per bag being donated and the rest of the funds coming from the market-price purchase of the beans.
The fundraiser was the fourth installment of Breck Coffee Roaster’s More Than Coffee program. Iwashko previously had a business called More Than Clothing, where proceeds from shirt sales went to a specific, tangible goal instead of donating a percentage to a broad charity. He then brought the concept with him when he joined Breck Coffee Roasters.
“It just seemed like a no-brainier to try it with retail coffee bags,” Iwashko said. He said that while consumerism can’t be stopped, it can at least be made more beneficial for people and the planet.
Iwashko sees it as a way to help the Summit County community and the communities of the coffee farms. The business tries to do one fundraiser every few months, alternating between local and distant beneficiaries.
The first, “Copper Condor,” launched in 2020. Breck Coffee Roasters worked with its direct trade partner in Columbia to help provide the raw materials needed to build an additional classroom in the local school of the Fresna Village. It meant that families didn’t need to send kids farther for schooling beyond the fifth grade.
The second project partnered with Homes For Our Troops and was developed by Colorado veteran Joel Booth. Only 50 bags were roasted and $5 per bag went toward construction costs for Booth’s custom home. The third project raised money to buy soccer jerseys for kids in Guatemala.
For Skip’s Blends, Iwashko saw support from all over the state and beyond. He said this was the most successful of all the More Than Coffee projects, with the prior fundraisers netting only about $500 to $1,000.
“Never has it hit the five-digit mark, so it’s been an unbelievable experience to be able to raise that kind of money for part of our community,” Iwashko said.
Breck Coffee Roaster’s efforts are just the beginning. Felt estimates that at least another $10,000 has been raised for the kids’ college funds from selling Bergbauer’s equipment, the firefighters buying beans for personal use and other donations.
Some bags for sale might still be scattered around, but Iwashko said the project has wound down as Breck Coffee Roasters focuses on its fifth More Than Coffee entry. Iwashko said a specific beneficiary has yet to be determined but that the new fundraiser should start by the end of January.
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