Berthoud Weekly Surveyor | Covering all the angles in the Garden Spot

Top of the Lake Coffee Roasters make coffee “personal”

May 10, 2019 | Business

By Shelley Widhalm

The Surveyor

For Brent Bromstrup, coffee is more than a bean to roast, brew and serve — it’s a way to connect peoples and countries.

Bromstrup brings about that personal connection with the farmers who produce his specialty coffee and those who love to drink it, through Top of the Lake Coffee Roasters. The tagline for his business is “Great Coffee. Greater Good.”

“It’s a personal engagement that I bring that guarantees, or at least solidifies, the origin and quality of the coffee as a result,” said Bromstrup, founder and owner of Top of the Lake Coffee Roasters and a Windsor resident. “I know the farmers that raised it. I’ve been to their farms. I know how they treat their labor. I walked the land where the coffee is grown.”

Bromstrup, who started his business six years ago, roasts and processes the coffee in a leased facility in Berthoud using beans produced mainly in Guatemala. Originally, he leased a roaster and other equipment from Brewsworthy Coffee, purchasing the roaster in March when the business closed. Though Bromstrup did not buy the business, he agreed to continue Brewsworthy Coffee’s custom blends, packages and labels and the brand the roaster had created for Hays Market, Mountain’s Edge Coffee.

Lake Coffee Roasters offers a line of 100 percent Arabica coffee, grown at a high altitude and roasted in small batches. The coffee is single origin from a Guatemalan village and a few other places worldwide, including the Siltepec region of Chiapas and several ethical cooperatives in Sumatra, Columbia and Ethiopia. Single origin means the coffee comes from a specific farm or area, while a blend draws from different regions and flavors.

“They have a more unique flavor that changes year to year depending on the crop,” Bromstrup said. “It’s a less predictable flavor, but in my opinion a better flavor if you get it from one farm or cooperative.”

For the custom side of his business, he finds out what his customers want for roast level and if they prefer a single-origin or custom-blend coffee. He works with places like business offices, restaurants, coffee shops, bed and breakfasts and hotels; and the coffees are used for fundraisers, church coffee socials, weddings and events.

Bromstrup came up with the idea for his business after visiting San Juan la Laguna, Guatemala, a village on the shores of Lake Atitlan, during a service trip led by his son-in-law, Alex Velasco. His business name comes from the view of the lake from a nearby mountain peak.

He met coffee farmers, business leaders and educators who said worldwide fluctuations of the coffee market, their primary source of income, impacted their local economy, and he grew concerned.

“Is there a way we can become partners in this community, so they’ll flourish in a greater way?” Bromstrup said. “The economy of coffee, being as it is, how can we leverage that economy for the greater good?”

He has established partnerships with the farmers and visits them several times a year to purchase, import, roast, and distribute their coffee. He supports those who practice environmentally-responsible growth, harvest and processing of coffee.

Bromstrup also wants to support their communities, so he created the Greater Good Fund. He donates $1 from each bag of coffee to help with sustainable development in Guatemala and other coffee-producing countries. The funds are used for microloans and special projects for individuals and entities in the areas of education, entrepreneurship and business.

In 2018 the fund also partnered with the Casa Flor Ixcaco Mayan Weaving Cooperative, dedicated to sustaining Mayan weaving techniques, to build a trail, promote sustainable development, provide economic support, and sell the products in the U.S.

“I wanted to advocate for the farmers to get excellent coffee here,” Bromstrup said. “The economy of coffee up here lends itself to being able to give back generously to the community.”

Before his foray into coffee, Bromstrup served as an evangelical covenant pastor from 1976 to 2003 or 2004 and then worked at Group in Loveland for 13 years as a writer and producer.

“Coffee has always been a strong hobby of mine throughout my adult life,” he said. “I enjoy finding unique and wonderful flavors in coffee. It’s the flavor, aroma, the source of it. The whole process of coffee is fascinating to me, from the agricultural aspect of it to the final product.”

For more information, contact Bromstrup at topofthelake.com, [email protected] or 970-430-9770.

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