New coffee roasters in Steamboat Springs opens doors to customers |

New coffee roasters in Steamboat Springs opens doors to customers

Frances Hohl/For Steamboat Pilot & Today
Nina Mundy Rodkey and Bowen Rodkey work their magic at the Big Iron Coffee Co. The new Downhill Plaza business plans to offer occasional “cupping” and roasting visits for coffee aficionados. In the meantime, Bown Rodkey serves coffee drinks every weekday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.
File photo

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — There’s a different kind of smell wafting at the site of a former marijuana dispensary on Downhill Plaza in west Steamboat.

Big Iron Coffee Company started roasting its single origin coffee in January for online and direct sales and now, has officially opened its storefront for coffee lovers working on the west side of town.

“Our principle business is wholesale and online, but we thought it’d be cool to have a place where the community can come and try our coffee and see where it’s roasted and to meet us,” said proprietor Bowen Rodkey.

The Edwards, Colorado native and his London-bred wife Nina Mundy Rodkey set up shop in Steamboat Springs after stints in New York City and Portland.

“It’s a way of giving people access to really good coffee and not making this a super expensive or elitist thing,” said Bowen.

Nina admits she wasn’t a coffee drinker until coming to America.

“We met in New York but we were just burnt out in the big city and moved to Portland,” explained Nina.

“Portland is saturated with great coffee, and being married to a coffee geek, it inspired us to start our own business.”

Missing his Colorado roots, Rodkey urged his wife to visit various Rocky Mountain cities.

“We checked out Frisco, Breckenridge, and then we came to Steamboat during Mustang Round-Up. I fell in love and thought we could live here,” said Nina.

If you visit the Big Iron Coffee Co., you’ll usually find Bowen behind the counter serving up espressos to folks who wander in to see what happened to the old Natural Choice marijuana dispensary. Bowne created a down-home western feel for his customers but said he has the fanciest espresso machine in the Rockies. He also serves a single origin coffee every day along with a blended roast for folks looking for a quick cup of coffee.

“A lot of people have asked for a blended and a dark roast, so we took a couple of our single origin coffees and experimented,” said Bowen.

Customers can order pour-over coffee from one of the single-origin coffees they sell, and Big Iron will also grind beans on site.

The Rodkeys eventually want to start “cupping” visits, where people can learn how coffee is roasted properly and taste the various coffees the Rodkeys have selected during their international hunt for prime coffee beans.

“Just like a cabernet from California is entirely different from a cabernet in France, a coffee bean from Colombia is super different than a coffee bean from Burundi or Ethiopia,” said Bowen.

As for the Big Iron brand and logo, Bowen said they wanted a brand that reminds folks of the Yampa Valley’s western heritage.

“Big Iron comes from Marty Robbins’ gunslinging cowboy song. We wanted to appeal to Steamboat’s distinct western character that makes it so wonderful and unique,” he said.

Big Iron coffee is being served in Steamboat’s newest farm-to-table restaurant, The Cloverdale, and starting in May its Stampede Blend will be offered up at the iconic Creekside Café for espresso drinks.

In the meantime, the Rodkeys are meeting with several supermarket chains in hopes of getting their unique coffee brand onto their shelves. You can find the Big Iron Coffee Co. at 2835 Downhill Plaza, opened for coffee and snacks from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on weekdays only.

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