The Cholua Brothers struck it rich and they can’t wait to tell the world about their Mother Lode. Colorado is legendary for its mining tales, some of which are unbelievable and others fairly reasonable. Dane and Jake Cholua are really brothers, but the jury is out on whether or not they actually found a mine that gushes coffee beans.
Yup, that’s their story. You can find it on line complete with pictures on their web site. The story line is that they came to Colorado from Poland and began mining various claims in the Gilpin County area, when, one day, disappointed once again at finding the big gold vein they sought, they chopped into a rock wall and coffee beans cascaded into their hands. It was a great day, they agreed, because it led them to a whole new career, one that paid off.
Last Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 19 and 20, the brothers opened their door in the historic barn in the historic neighborhood outside of Black Hawk and introduced the public to their jackpot: Coffee roasted at 10,000 feet.
Dane couldn’t wait to share his story with curious customers. It’s all about the altitude, he says. The Cholua family ancestors go back to Poland where the men were miners and came to Colorado to strike it rich. Now the Brothers are fifth generation miners, having arrived in Colorado as teenagers and growing up in Black Hawk.
Part of the large family’s celebration was the consumption of their coffee syrup, a 100 year old recipe, which evolved into a liqueur; rum-spiced syrup. They gave the high octane treat to friends who clamored for more. They wanted more of the coffee itself because of its smooth, crisp clean mountain air and Rocky Mountain aroma that is brewed into it.
“Roasting our coffee at high altitude is what gives it its smooth taste. You know how a pizza crust is burned on the edges, tastes charred? That’s what happens to most beans in the roasting process. When you roast at high altitude, it doesn’t burn, doesn’t have that bitter, burned flavor,” Dane said to the customers that were lining up at the counter.
The Cholua Brothers worked on perfecting their roasting technique for the past two years and four months ago, they introduced their product at the Gilpin County Fair. They knew they had a hit on their hands and went forward with finding a location to sell their treasured beans. Their goal was to stick with history.
Once again, they hit the jackpot, finding a historic landmark barn in the renovated Black Hawk district. The jumped on the restored building and turned it into a high-ceilinged, rustic, old timey venue with mining history dripping from the rafters.
They say they make the coffee in a mine, the location of which is a secret.
Cholua Brothers will be open on Saturdays throughout the winter and during the week in spring. Last weekend they offered sample of three kinds of coffee and sold it by the pound bags, $17.50, giving away $5 off coupons. Their offerings consisted of French Roast, a full-bodied coffee with a dark rich flavor as bold as Colorado; Medium Roast, with a bright flavor ad deliciously smooth natural taste and Naturally flavored, inspired by their coffee liqueur, hand-blended with natural flavors creating mellow overtones of vanilla, hazelnut and caramel.
Their coffee liquor is made with their high altitude coffee, meticulously blended with pure cane molasses that may be used to make White Russians, B-52s, Colorado Bulldogs, Mudslides or any hot or chilled coffee drink. The Liqueur will be available in fall of 2014.
Suzi Boyle of Brighton just happened to be caught in the Gilpin High School Homecoming Parade traffic from Central to City to Black Hawk when she saw the grand opening sign and zipped into the parking lot.
“I was in the parade and dying for a cup of coffee and saw the guy standing there in the street and just had to stop,” she said. She took one sip of the flavored coffee and said, “Oh my God, I love it and bought a pound to take home.”
After the weekend the brothers said, “Our turnout was absolutely wonderful. We were so welcomed by the locals and townspeople and we are thankful to them for visiting us. We can’t even say how lucky we feel to be received that way.”
To show their appreciation, Dane and Jake are going to hold several Appreciation Events throughout the year to thank the local for their business. Cholua Brothers will be open for Halloween and are inviting the community to come into the store to have their photo taken in front of the in-store mine backdrop. They will hand out candy for trick or treaters and will be open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
This is a true miners’ story and the Cholua Brothers plan to be harvesting the mother lode for a long time.
Mining caffeine at high altitude