New coffee house opens
Yampa couple combines love of coffee and art at Leisure Mountain Studio
Yampa — To Debbie and J-Jay Johnson, there is nothing better than a good cup of coffee, especially when it’s from roasting your own coffee beans.
“Roasting is like wine making. You have to have a particular taste for the flavors of coffee beans and have control of what you’re doing to roast,” J-Jay Johnson said.
The Johnsons, who have lived in Yampa off-and-on since 1994, recently opened Leisure Mountain Studio Gallery Coffee with the intention of providing their favorite town with their favorite beverage.
“This is our dream come true,” Debbie Johnson said. “Coffee and art. This is our passion.”
The Johnsons’ shop, which provides coffee, specialty drinks, pastries and homemade breakfast burritos, also has wall-to-wall art displays of J-Jay’s black and white porcelain creations and a space for local artists to display art.
“Every month we have a new artist bring their art in for our patrons to enjoy while they drink their coffee and socialize,” Debbie Johnson said.
The Johnsons opened a Leisure Mountain Studio Gallery Coffee in Dolores, but closed the coffee shop and gallery after they decided to move back to Yampa.
After overhearing someone talk about renting a building on Moffat Avenue, the Johnsons decided to open their coffee shop in Yampa.
“It was meant to be,” Debbie Johnson said. “It couldn’t have happened more perfectly.”
After moving into the old feed store that once occupied the building, J-Jay Johnson put in countless hours restoring the building, adding new floors, walls and a space for Molly, their coffee roaster.
“Molly came to us from Mocha Molly’s in (Steamboat Springs). It was their coffee roaster, but it was sold after the store closed, and we were fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time,” J-Jay Johnson said.
J-Jay Johnson said he hopes to refinish the roaster because she was “abused” and then hopes to make the coffee roasting experience available to the public.
“When we get her up and running, we’re going to be able to not only roast our own organic green (coffee) beans, but we’ll be selling it in bulk and by the cup,” he said.
Because the Johnsons are coffee aficionados, they have already planned their coffee bean menu.
“Columbian doesn’t do a lot for us anymore. We’re looking to bring in more exotic coffees from places like Costa Rica and Sumatra,” Debbie Johnson said. “There is not another natural high in the world like roasting coffee.”
Yampa artist Sarah Glass is the featured artist in October. An artist reception is scheduled from 4 to 6 p.m. Oct. 28 for residents interested in meeting Glass or having a cup of joe. Karen Tussey will be featured in November, and December will feature a variety of art.
“It’s becoming a very comfortable place for people to come sit at the table and drink coffee. We love having our locals come in to just hang out,” Debbie Johnson said.
Leisure Mountain Studio Gallery Coffee is open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
It may have been 20 years ago, but Rich Hager still recalls how his fingers ached as he helped his good friend and now business partner Bill Gamber unload a shipping container filled with sleeping…