Yellow Arrow Coffee brings a bit of the Camino de Santiago to Breckenridge
If you go
What: Yellow Arrow Coffee
When: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
Where: 103 S. Harris St., Breckenridge, in the Breckenridge Grand Vacations Community Center
Cost: Coffee drinks range from $2 for drip to $4 for a large latte or $5 for drinks with extra flavors; tea is $2 for a cup or $5 for a pot; breakfast ranges from $2 to $6, and lunch from $4 for a cup of soup to $6 for a rice bowl (everything is gluten free)
Kids menu: No, but everything can be made kid-friendly
Dining options: Dine-in, carry out, catering within the community center
More information: Visit http://www.yellowarrowcoffee.com, or call (970) 453-9093
A trail like the Camino de Santiago takes time to impart its wisdom. It gives you miles upon miles to ponder things such as the stars in the sky and the earth under your feet. For Gwen Edwards, traveling that well-worn path led to much more than a quiet mind and a full heart.
Edwards had been residing in Hawaii, working as a food blogger and personal chef, and was in search of a new home when she started her pilgrimage across the Spanish countryside. Along the way, she met and befriended Karin Litzmann, owner of the Speakeasy Theatre, who was traveling the same route.
“She told me about this space just offhand,” Edwards said. “And it was perfect for me, as far as what I wanted to do. I always wanted to have my own place to run myself, just a small place.”
The stars aligned, and Edwards packed up her home in Hawaii to move to Breckenridge and open her new place, Yellow Arrow Coffee.
The coffee shop is situated on the lower level of the new community center in Breckenridge. A handmade metal banner adorns the stairs descending to the outdoor entrance, the letters spelling out Yellow Arrow Coffee. Edwards chose the name as an homage to the yellow arrows that mark the Camino de Santiago, and a map of the trail hangs on one side of the shop surrounded by photos from her travels.
“The vision for it is to be a really cozy, kind of a vintage-style place,” Edwards said, pointing out tables she had made from antique doors. “Pretty much everything here is up-cycled or recycled or antique. I have end tables made out of books and old trunks, and all the chairs are old kitchen chairs that I painted.”
The exposed stone of the building’s foundation surrounds a corner lounging area; the red upholstered couch and chairs were reclaimed from the old Speakeasy Theatre. Across the room, a toddler-sized table and chairs is set with a plastic tea set, so kids have their own place to sip and socialize.
“I really want people to feel this is a place they can come study, have meetings and just hang out,” Edwards said. “Being part of the arts district and library, it’s important for me to be part of the arts and culture aspect. I have rotating arts on the wall, with different artists once a month, and there will be book signings the first Thursday of every month.
“I have a writing group that’s meeting here. The knitting group was here yesterday. My vision is for it to be part of the community — people can really feel like they can use this place to get together.”
FOOD AND DRINK
Edwards sources her coffee from Novo, a small, family-owned company that does all of its roasting in Denver. Customers have been ordering a lot of specialty lattes, Edwards said, and she makes all of the syrups for her coffee drinks using organic sugar to impart more flavor and less sweetness. The tea comes from a distributor in Colorado Springs.
“She’s one lady, a really small company,” Edwards said. “I get the tea in bulk, and she does some of the blends and I do some of them.”
The names of the tea blends are based on phrases travelers say to encourage one another on the Camino de Santiago: cinnamon-orange is Fire in the Heart, rose-chamomile is Wind in the Hair, Earth Under the Feet is a blend of mint and lavender, and the mango tea is dubbed Water in the Veins. The tea names each have a second, personal meaning for Edwards, as well.
“We would pick mint and lavender along the trail and make tea out of that,” she said. “Wind in the Hair, my mom and I, when we would go camping in Oregon, we would drink rose-chamomile tea, and it’s windy out there; it reminds me of that. Water in the Veins is a tribute to Hawaii, which is why I chose the mango for that.”
On the sustenance end, Yellow Arrow carries gluten-free pastries from Bun in the Oven, a company that Edwards said shares her vision for using organic, high-quality ingredients. Edwards is adding quiche and savory oatmeal to the breakfast menu and offers lunch items such as homemade soup, rice bowls and sandwiches on gluten-free bread, which will rotate on a regular basis.
“The rice bowls, those are always changing,” she said. “Right now, I’m doing a Mexican-style one. I had a California roll rice bowl, with crabmeat, avocado, cucumber, seaweed. It’ll be a unique thing, something you can’t get elsewhere.”
WELCOME TO TOWN
Since opening on Sunday, Jan. 11, Edwards said it’s been rewarding and surprising to see how supportive people in the community have been of Yellow Arrow.
“People are stopping by every day, asking how it’s going and how they can support me,” Edwards said. “They are really excited to have this space down here as part of the library. That’s been an unexpected thing that’s been really, really great. I feel like starting a business is a lot of work in the beginning, but I feel really supported by everybody.”
Edwards said she has gotten positive feedback from local authors eager to schedule book signings and artists excited to display artwork, which says a lot about the community’s welcoming and cooperative vibe, something she’s happy to be a part of.
“The reason why I’m doing this is because going to a coffee shop is my favorite thing to do personally,” she said. “So it’s really important to me to create an experience when people come here, a place they can relax and read a book, maybe do some writing or whatever it is they do. That’s why I’m doing this; it’s my favorite thing, and I want to give that to other people.”
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