Colorado Devastated by Fire—Coffee Community Steps Up to Help

The aftermath. Photo by Andy Mangrum

Editor’s note: The Black Forest fire started on June 11 in Black Forest, Colorado, and was not fully contained until June 20. 14,280 acres were burned, at least 511 homes were destroyed, and two people died. This was the most destructive fire in Colorado’s history, surpassing the 2012 Waldo Canyon Fire.  While 457 firefighters tackled the blaze, more than 38,000 people were evacuated from more than 13,000 homes located in a 94,000-acre area. In the days after the fire was contained, Black Forest Sheriff Maketa stated that the assessed value of the lost homes totaled about $90 million.

Ryan Wanner, who owns and is the roaster for R&R Coffee Cafe in Black Forest, was intent on helping the community his business proudly serves. He organized the Evacuee Barista Jam on June 27, and when we at Barista Magazine found out about his efforts, we pledged to help however we could. Ryan was kind enough to share photos from the jam. We hope you enjoy them as much as we have.

Evacuee Barista Jam in Black Forest
By Ryan Wanner

On June 11, the Black Forest Fire was ignited. R&R Coffee Cafe is located just outside the burn area, and while there was no physical damage to the store, our baker lost her house, many of our staff had to be evacuated, and over 80% of the houses lost were within three miles of the shop.

The whole community came out to support the Evacuee Barista Jam!

The whole community came out to support the Evacuee Barista Jam! Photo by Ben Weilert

Heroes.

Heroes. Photo by Ben Weilert.

We hosted an Evacuee Barista Jam on June 27 to support the Black Forest Community. Over 50 people attended and many of them competed in a Latte Art Throwdown. Assisted by Eric Yochim of Two Rivers Coffee in Arvada, the throwdown allowed baristas from Colorado Springs to show that our coffee community is thriving.

Eric Yochim from Two Rivers Coffee in Arvada setting for Seth.

Eric Yochim from Two Rivers Coffee in Arvada setting for Seth. Photo by Ben Weilert

The throwdown winner Seth Fuller competing. Photo by Andy Mangrum

The throwdown winner Seth Fuller competing. Photo by Andy Mangrum

The judges employed a very scientific method for determining the winner. Photo by Andy Mangrum

The judges employed a very scientific method for determining the winner. Photo by Andy Mangrum

The winner of the throwdown was Seth Fuller from Urban Steam Coffee with a very respectable tulip on a cortado. He then got the honor of making drinks for the Black Forest Fire Department.

A rosetta in the works.

A rosetta in the works. Photo by Ben Weilert.

Tulips were flying! Photo by Andy Mangrum

Tulips were flying! Photo by Andy Mangrum

The aftermath. Photo by Andy Mangrum

The aftermath. Photo by Andy Mangrum

We raised $500 to go to the Black Forest Fire Recovery Fund, which has been set up by the Black Forest Community Club to assist fire victims in any way necessary. We also donated over 15 pounds of coffee to the Black Forest Fire Department.

That's an awesome turnout! Photo by Ryan Wanner.

That’s an awesome turnout! Photo by Ryan Wanner.

The turnout was enough to justify monthly throwdowns here in Colorado Springs. The next one is July 27 at Colorado Coffee Merchants.

To help Black Forest families recover, make a tax-deductible cash donation to the Black Forest Community Foundation, Inc.:

ENT Federal Credit Union
P.O. Box 15819
Colorado Springs CO 80935
Account number 1000560649113

Make checks to the Black Forest Community Foundation, Inc., the BFCF, or the BFCF Fire Recovery Fund.

To donate directly to the fire department, send a check made out to Black Forest Fire/Rescue:

Black Forest Fire/Rescue
11445 Teachout Road
Black Forest, CO 80908

To donate to the Black Forest Fore Recovery Fund, go HERE.

 

About the Author

Sarah

Sarah Allen is co-founder and editor of Barista Magazine, the international trade magazine for coffee professionals. A passionate advocate for baristas, quality, and the coffee community, Sarah has traveled widely to research stories, interact with readers, and present on a variety of topics affecting specialty coffee. She also loves animals, swimming, ice cream, and living in Portland, Oregon.