When Johnathan Jarrow first got into the coffee business he was just trying to work his way through school. He already enjoyed the staple breakfast beverage of course, but found himself enjoying the industry as well. As he learned more about the high end coffee business and the science behind it he felt he could improve on what was being done, though his peers didn’t necessarily agree.
“They were telling me things like, ‘no it’s all about your special, fancy pour technique,’ and, ‘you can’t use science to determine how a good cup tastes,’” Jarrow says of when he first began developing his own methods.
He didn’t take those words to heart, of course, and when he competed in the first annual Brewers Cup in Chicago in 2009, he won. From there he began roasting coffee for a small company and continued to hone his skills, working towards opening his own shop.
“I wanted to start Harbinger when I was in Chicago,” Jarrow tells us, “but I missed the mountains and I really thought there was more opportunity for me out here.”
So, in 2012 he moved back to the front range and opened his first coffee stand, occupying space in a Fort Collins shopping center. Three years later, when he found the right space, he opened his downtown location.
Working with coffee growers around the world to source the best possible seasonal coffees allows them to create variety in their menu that will appeal to any palette. Selling by the cup or bag, you can have Harbingers signature roasts on the go or made in the comfort of your own home.
Additionally Jarrow has placed serious emphasis on his team. Hiring people with intention and going above and beyond to make sure they are well compensated and able to do more than just get by in a town where that isn’t always easily done.
Now having expanded with a roastery and cafe off of Harmony road and working to relocate his downtown location into a larger space in the heart of Old Town, the science of a perfect cup is paying off. They roast wholesale coffee for businesses in the region. By creating a high-quality product that he can consistently deliver Jarrow created half of the Harbinger Equation. By creating a welcoming, community focused atmosphere to go alongside his perfect cup, Jarrow has created a business with serious staying power.
For Andrew Webb, coffee wasn’t necessarily something he knew he wanted to pursue early on. Having bounced around from job to job he eventually landed at a Starbucks, his first coffee job. After four years there, with the encouragement of a co-worker, Webb struck out on his own.
“What’s kept me in coffee is the idea that coffee is a vehicle for everything else,” Webb says of the passion he’s discovered for the business, “beyond the caffeine it just brings people together.”
That focus on the community aspect of a coffee shop has been fundamental to his approach from the very beginning. With that philosophical approach, considering coffee as an essential one might carry in their bindle as they travel through the world, Webb discovered what coffee could mean for him, a means of connecting with the world around him and expressing himself in it.
Starting as a wholesale roaster in 2015 then opening up their first cafe location at Jessup Farms, featuring both coffee and from-scratch pastries made by Webb's wife, Jen, Bindle was born. First crowding all of their operations into the Jessup Farms location then bouncing between their and various other spaces until opening their roastery and cafe on the south end of town.
Building relationships with the farmers who grow the coffee he sources from all over the world has been important for Webb as well, facetime calling farmers while they sample the products and even having the opportunity to brew a cup for the grower who produced the beans half a world away.
“It’s just so cool, I’m a dad-entrepreneur with three kids and to see this other dad-entrepreneur of a similar age with kids in the background, the more those connections happen, it reminds me that it really is about people.” Webb says of the relationships he’s formed.
As he’s grown in his profession, much of what has kept Webb interested has been the freedom and ability to channel his creativity into the business. Growing the roasting aspect of his business and developing a high-quality instant coffee, and relishing in the work, even on the hard days. A philosophers’ approach to coffee and a dedication to the craft has made Bindle Coffee a Fort Collins mainstay and a must-have, daily stop for many.