GLENWOOD SPRINGS — A step inside Deja Brew Coffee & Tea at the corner of 11th and Grand is like a step back in time to the middle 20th century when the old gas station building that houses the funky little cafe was originally built.
Sort of like, well, you know …
Deja Brew features a 1950s throwback theme, with a color scheme to match the period collection of shiny green, orange and blue coffee cups that line the display shelf below grandma’s starlight-style clock.
“We thought it was kind of a clever way to honor the history of the place,” said Matt Starbuck (yeah, yeah, more irony), who opened the coffee shop in late 2012 with his wife, Katie Starbuck.
“We wanted a place that would be kind of an escape for people, and to keep it fun and friendly,” added Katie, who grew up in the Roaring Fork Valley. “We probably know 95 percent of our customers by name.”
Matt moved to the valley from the Midwest in the late 1990s, and has worked at various local coffee shops and cafes in Glenwood Springs and Carbondale with an eye toward owning his own business some day.
He doesn’t make too much of the name he happens to share with the mega-coffee chain, although he does recall visiting the original Starbuck’s at Pike’s Place on a family vacation to Seattle when he was 5 years old.
“I got one of their T-shirts, and was dancing around in it and just thought it was the coolest thing,” he said.
But the Starbucks of Glenwood Springs have a decidedly different, locally focused, “farm-to-table” kind of business model at Deja Brew that they firmly believe has a place in the lower valley.
Their organic, free-trade Bongo Billy’s coffees come from the Buena Vista Roastery. They also use only organic milk and cream in their coffee and espresso drinks, and their breakfast burritos, pot pies and spinach quiche come from the Louis Swiss Bakery in Aspen.
The tea bar at Deja Brew features a wide selection of Republic of Tea flavors.
“We wanted to be as eco-friendly as possible and try to make as minimal an impact as we can,” Matt Starbuck said. “We hear from a lot of people that they appreciate the eco-based model.”
Matt said he had offered to buy a couple of existing businesses where he had worked before he and Katie settled on opening their own shop in the modest little space next to the popular Kaleidoscoops ice cream parlor at 1101 Grand Ave.
“We felt good about the location, and it has convenient parking,” Matt said. “The downtown businesses have their own niche with the tourists and the downtown workers, where we get more of the people driving by and coming off the highway.
“And we’re supported well by the local community,” he said. “We’re really lucky to live in a place like Glenwood Springs and doing something like this.”
The Starbucks, who live in Glenwood Springs and have two young boys, are also avid supporters of local artists, arts organizations and various nonprofit groups. That includes composting all of their coffee grounds as part of Yampah Mountain High School’s Growing Food Forward sustainable gardening program.
A recent zoning change for the property where Deja Brew is located allows for an outdoor seating area during the summer, and plans are to eventually build a patio area, Matt Starbuck said.
Deja Brew can be found on Facebook, where they announce daily specials and pass along information about other happenings at the shop.