Attempt Vail Mountain Espresso & Tea in Downieville en path to ski journey

Editor’s notice: That is a part of The Know’s sequence, Workers Favorites. Every week, we provide our opinions on the perfect that Colorado has to supply for eating, procuring, leisure, out of doors actions and extra. (We’ll additionally allow you to in on some hidden gems).

The following time you’re within the temper for a pitstop en path to snowboarding, I counsel you strive Vail Mountain Espresso & Tea at Downieville.

Situated 6 miles west of Idaho Springs, Vail Mountain Espresso options wonderful espresso and scrumptious grab-and-go meals at a handy exit off of Interstate 70. The store changed the Starbucks there final summer time and have become my favourite place for espresso within the mountains. It shares house with a Breeze Ski Leases location, parking is simple, and there’s a gasoline station subsequent door.

Vail Mountain Espresso just isn’t owned by Vail Resorts, however companions with Vail Resorts at Beaver Creek and the Downieville location. Its headquarters is in Minturn, the place staff do their very own roasting.

The shop shares empanadas from The Argentos in Silverthorne, which was featured as a Denver Put up Workers Favourite in 2021, and deli sandwiches from Marczyk Effective Meals in Denver. (The one different meals choices in Downieville are a Taco Bell and the Sinclair gasoline station, which serves Subway sandwiches.)

The espresso is excellent at Vail Mountain Espresso & Tea in Downieville, however the empanadas are out of this world. Additionally they promote croissants, burritos and deli sandwiches. (John Meyer, The Denver Put up)

“Downieville was form of a meals desert, however as a result of all of our meals is healthful and wholesome and recent, there may be an alternate now at Exit 234,” mentioned Vail Mountain Espresso co-owner Chris Chantler.

The roots of Vail Mountain Espresso date again to the Nineteen Eighties when Chantler and associate Craig Arseneau have been dwelling in Boston. Specialty espresso was simply turning into a factor, and Starbucks was nonetheless concentrated within the higher Seattle space.

“We actually bought turned on to only how good specialty espresso was,” Chantler mentioned. “Impulsively, it was an enormous leap.”

After an excellent ski journey to Vail, they started considering that’s the place they need to open their very own specialty espresso store. In 1989, whereas on a ski journey to Europe, they watched on tv as Vail hosted the world alpine ski championships for the primary time. That satisfied them it was time to pursue their dream.

“We’re like, ‘Wow, we’ve simply bought to tug the set off, the entire world is watching Vail. It’s going to place Vail on the worldwide ski map,” Chantler mentioned. “And that’s precisely what occurred. Vail had this exponential progress as this worldwide vacation spot resort.” In actual fact, the Vail Valley would host further world championships — the largest occasion in snowboarding, outdoors of the Olympics — in 1999 and 2015.

Arseneau and Chantler opened their first espresso store,  the Every day Grind, in November 1989 on Bridge Road in Vail Village. Two extra Every day Grind areas adopted in Denver, and the crew started doing their very own roasting, creating the Vail Mountain Espresso model in 1992.

Ultimately, the pair closed the retail shops to focus on roasting for wholesale. Immediately, Vail Mountain Espresso is bought in 180 Kroger grocery shops (King Soopers and Metropolis Market). Chantler estimates they import half one million kilos of espresso beans yearly from world wide.

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