Coffee and Community at Red Buffalo Cafe
Published April 13, 2020
Enjoying a cup of coffee in the heart of Summit County at Red Buffalo Café is a ritual beloved by many in Silverthorne. While the Café is currently closed to dine-in service, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy your favorite java from home. We caught up with Red Buffalo Café owner Erin Young to learn how to make the best coffee in your own kitchen and what operating a local business in her hometown means for her young family.
Erin grew up in Silverthorne, along with her husband, who she did not meet until college (Erin is a fourth generation CU Buff). She says, “Silverthorne is home. I wanted to open a business that welcomed people to our great community and fosters conversation in a warm and welcoming environment.” That environment is what Red Buffalo Café is known for throughout our mountain community. From hosting musicians on the back patio to selling artwork from local artists to being a regular meeting spot for community leaders, the café is a special place to many.
Erin says that the independently owned coffee shop located in Silverthorne’s Town Center is built on community, sustainability and excellence. The shop sponsors local events, helps raise money for local causes and donates coffee and volunteer time to different community initiatives. Red Buffalo Café also employs a variety of sustainability initiatives to limit their environmental impact and has partnered with other businesses to help them become more sustainable as well.
The Perfect Brew
Red Buffalo Café is not just committed to the community, but is also committed to the perfect cup of coffee. All baristas that work at the cafe must complete a certification from the Baristas Guild of America so that consistent products are made to the best of abilities. While you may not have that same certification, Erin still has some tips to make a delicious cup of coffee at home.
Erin’s number one recommendation is to buy fresh coffee. Air oxidizes coffee over time, drying out important oils and releasing gases, which eventually makes it lose flavor. To buy the freshest coffee, visit your local coffee shop, like Red Buffalo Café. Right now, coffee and tea can be purchased in bulk orders online and then picked up curbside or delivered to your door. That way you know you will have the freshest cup available!
Using a grinder at home also helps guarantee a fresh cup of joe. Erin recommends only grinding what you need and grinding immediately before use to preserve the oils and prevent release of gases. Erin says, “When coffee loses its gases, it’s like a beer or soda losing its fizz.”
Brewing coffee also requires a little bit of math and science, which can be difficult in the morning before you’ve had your daily caffeine fix. Keep things consistent and use the same ounces of water and grams of coffee to know if adjustments need to be made later on. Erin says to weigh out your coffee as volume does not equal weight, and that weight is the important measurement for knowing how much water to use. And by knowing the weight, you can adjust for more or less coffee the next time if your coffee is too weak or too strong.
Most importantly, Erin says to have fun playing with your own home coffee recipes. “Keep notes of the steps you took, the measurements you used, the time it took and the taste you experience. Modify as you need, but only one variable at a time.”
The café has hosted several virtual coffee chats, covering many different topics but also how to play with coffee drinks at home using the ingredients on hand. Red Buffalo Café has been sharing “how to” videos on Instagram and Facebook for fun twists on morning drinks and recently launched a blog with additional video tutorials.
Supporting Small Businesses
During this time, community members can continue to support Red Buffalo Café and other small businesses. Red Buffalo Café is still offering drinks and limited snack items through take-out orders or DoorDash. Orders can also be purchased online for bulk coffee, tea and logo goods. A virtual tip jar has also been established to support staff members during the closure.
We will see you on the back patio of the café overlooking the Blue River soon. Until then, enjoy your Red Buffalo Café coffee or tea at home!