Cardinal Coffee brings caffeine – the Durango Herald
Trailer features Rocky Mountain Roastery coffee from Durango
Mark and Beth Gouge are among the vendors who perform an essential service at the Durango Farmers’ Market: caffeine lovers who are not naturally morning people.
Their business, Cardinal Coffee, is the mobile retail arm of Rocky Mountain Roastery, a Durango-based roaster that does most of its business directly with consumers from its website, said Mark Gouge.
“When I moved here I ran into (Wade Wilderman) an old buddy who I mountain biked with together in Winter Park,” he said. “He’s the roaster, and he’s been roasting for over 25 years. So he and I connected more on the mountain biking level and then I started doing sales for him … expanding his footprint in the Durango region.
Gouge once said he was at the National Interscholastic Cycling Association State Championships in Durango Mesa Park when he saw a trailer that at the time belonged to Chris Lopez of Singletrack Café (who has since put set up a shop on Rivergate Lane).
“We saw that and started talking… maybe taking the show on the road,” Gouge said. “People have to taste Kool-Aid, so to speak, before they invest and change. The idea was to get people to buy directly from consumers.
He said they interpreted the fact that it was a vintage Cardinal trailer as a sign – leading to the name of the mobile cafe.
“We have a deep meaning with the cardinal,” he said. “My father was a pilot… he had a Cessna 177 Cardinal. And then, when my mother passed away, they say if you see a cardinal, it means they are fine. We saw a Cardinal in Winter Park in a snowstorm, so the Cardinal has always been pretty important to us.
Gouge bought the trailer just before the pandemic, he said, and as such didn’t have many places to take it in the first year of operation.
“All the events were canceled, and that was the whole idea – just to go to the events,” he said. “So we just started parking in the neighborhoods – in Durango West, Edgemont and Three Springs. We were just trying to understand. “
This year, the Durango Farmers Market has been the coffee trailer’s favorite haunt, he said. Cardinal Coffee has also followed the cyclist along the Ride the Rockies route and will be at Telluride’s Blues & Brews Festival this month.
“We’re finally getting our feet on the ground, and we’ve got a lot of people repeating that the first thing they do at the farmers’ market is come and get their coffee,” Gouge said.
Cardinal Coffee sells hot and iced coffee, chai, and tea.
Gouge said Wilderman is known as the “master of black roast”.
“It’s super cool because Rocky Mountain Roastery coffee is unique in that it’s an old-fashioned dark roast guy, and it’s just super smooth,” Gouge said. “It’s a very unique way of roasting, as many shops in town and across the country have sort of gone for this slightly roasted, nutty, fruity flavor.”