Crystal Valley Blog

Great Coffee and Gelato!

POSTED October 2, 2018

When we walked into Briccy’s coffee shop for the first time, owner Ray Guth was scooping peach-colored gelato out of what looked like a soft-serve ice cream machine. A quick look in the refrigerated case revealed some familiar flavors like Cookies and Cream, Peanut Butter Cup, Heath Bar and Brownie Batter, but also a few tantalizing mystery creations like White Chocolate Lavender and Mango Tango. 

“Do you remember at the swimming pool they use to have Push-Ups®. – that frozen orange treat?” Ray asks. “I made this Mango Tango recipe with mango and Tang® — it’s a crowd favorite.” 

Ray explains that true gelato has a lower butter fat concentration and his gelatos have less than 12 percent butter fat. We expected it to feel grainy on the palate, but a quick taste test proved just the opposite. It was super creamy and delicious. 

How Briccy’s Coffee Got its Start

Ray opened the coffee shop after two heady careers – first in microbiology, having trained while in the Navy. Then when the government made changes to lab test regulations, Ray earned his master’s degree in computer information and was a consultant for Charles Schwab. 

“I worked in that field for 16 years before getting laid off,” he said, “and decided I can’t trust anybody else to employ me so I’m going to create my own business. “

Beating Starbucks With Taste

Ray loves a good-tasting cup of coffee and started looking at different coffee businesses. “Starbucks has a great business model, but their coffees are bitter and their food’s not that good,” he said. 

The big coffee chains that have to produce over a million pounds of coffee every day can’t pay attention to the taste, Ray explains. “And people who go there, don’t understand you can make a good cup of coffee that you don’t need cream to make it drinkable.”

So, Ray and his wife took a fact-finding trip starting in Castle Rock and driving to Santa Fe — stopping at coffee shops along the way to do their research. 

The first stop was at Colorado Coffee Merchants in Colorado Springs, where he knew he’d have a good cup of coffee. As it turns out, the coffee shop owner, Eric Umenhofer, became Ray’s roaster. “He was a five out of five,” Ray says. 

“Eric has been roasting coffee for 25 years. He understands more than just the science of it. He blends beans together and he knows to listen for that second crack of the bean and then he stops and cools the beans down immediately.”

Finding the Secret

But at the next several stops they made along their trip to Santa Fe, Ray and his wife had to pour out the cups of coffee they sampled. That changed at the last shop they tried — a full service restaurant across the street from a Catholic Church. “Their coffee was almost as good as mine is now. So, the first cup and the last cup were the best.” 

Ray says the secret is in the roasting process and his roaster has never let him down. 

“We have never had a bad batch of coffee from Eric. Not one single time.”

If you’re searching for a good cup of coffee, try Briccy’s Coffee at 140 S. Wilcox St. Ray recommends the German Chocolate coffee. “It’s my favorite drink; chocolate, caramel, hazelnut and coconut.”

As we were leaving, Ray asked if we knew what Briccy’s stood for. We had no idea, so he told us. “Breakfast, bagels, beverage, burritos, rolls and refreshments, ice cream, iced tea, iced coffee, coffee, cake, candy, cookies, yogurt, shakes, smiles and a bit of sarcasm.”

The Best of Crystal Valley 

The master-planned community of Crystal Valley is near so many great shops, eateries and amenities in and around Castle Rock. If Crystal Valley isn’t your neighborhood, stop in and tour the nine models from D.R. Horton,  Kauffman Homes and Richmond American Homes. The community is among the top five fastest-growing in the state! New homes here are priced from the $300s and available in ranch and two-story models.


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