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Taste of Tri Lakes Cares 2018

2018 May 10
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by Ryan

Wednesday, May 9, we were invited to showcase our culinary talents at the annual (hopefully!) Taste of Tri Lakes Cares benefiting Tri Lakes Cares, a community resource center in Monument.

Just as with Chopped on the Food Network, we were given a box of mystery ingredients and we had to make a meal out of them. Even before going into the box, I had one goal: a quick and easy one-plate meal.

Last week we got to see what ingredients we were going to be using:

The box ingredients. Plus Cream of Mushroom soup, which was hiding under all the corn. Surprise!

Spaghetti, coffee, corn, green beans, cream of mushroom soup, and tropical Swedish Fish. This is going to be fun… 🙂

Alright… how to make this entire box gel into one entrée??? Well, since I’m thinking about ideas and we’re a coffee place, I thought it best to start with the “coffee.”

Ugh. Somehow I feel dirty having this on my coffee bar…

A quick French Press brew and a few minutes of thinking led me to the entrée: Spaghetti with a Green Sauce. For the corn, let’s use the juices from the corn cans plus the coffee for the water to boil the spaghetti.

Thinking outside the box…. errrr…. can.

Okay, for those of you playing along at home, I will say this: the color of that liquid was a little scary. And if there were corn kernels that escaped the can… well… it was even scarier. I threw equal parts water to the coffee into the pot to lighten things up. It didn’t work.

But once it boiled, it was time for the pasta.

Long spaghetti. Short bucket.

While the pasta is cooking away, it was time for the sauce. One of the goals of using the Tri Lakes Cares pantry ingredients was to minimize costs to anyone who is in need of said ingredients. So everything I added to the recipe were things that weren’t expensive at all from the neighborhood grocery store: Spinach, garlic, oil, salt, and parmesan cheese.

Sautéed garlic, wilted spinach, and green beans. The base for the sauce

What about the Swedish Fish? Well, here’s where watching waaaaaay too many Chopped episodes came in handy. Every time the chefs had gummy bears they would melt them down to make a sauce. So, I picked out the Pina Colada ones (I have never seen a tropical version of the Swedish Fish before!!) and ate the other flavors.

Blended sauce goodness

The green bean mix plus the Swedish Fish and a ladle of the very oddly colored pasta water went into a blender. Once smooth, back into the saute pan. Heat again until the fish are fully melted into the sauce. Add the cream of mushroom soup to bring a creaminess, salt to taste, and the spaghetti.

A meal fit for a king! Or two very hungry little ones… 🙂

And viola, we have an entrée. A quite tasty one at that. The corn liquid made the pasta have a cornmeal-like sweetness to it while the coffee brought out a nuttiness. The garlic and fresh spinach helped calm down the “dryness” canned green beans are wont to have, and the salt helped pop the flavors dramatically.

Another successful Taste of Tri Lakes Cares! I can’t wait to see what the ingredient box has in it next year!

Corn Spaghetti with Green Sauce

  • Ingredients from the pantry:
  • Liquid from 3 cans corn
  • 20oz french pressed coffee
  • 1 box spaghetti
  • 3 cans cut green beans
  • 1 bag Tropical Swedish Fish
  • 1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
  • Additional Ingredients
  • 20oz Hot Water
  • 2 Tbsp oil (canola preferred)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 bag (8oz) fresh spinach
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Shredded parmesan cheese
  1. In large pot, place the corn liquid, coffee, and water. Yes the color will be… interesting.
  2. Bring liquid to a boil, add spaghetti
  3. Drain all juices from the green beans
  4. Peel and slice the garlic
  5. Put oil in large sauté pan, heat on medium-high until shimmering
  6. Add garlic, stir frequently
  7. When garlic is golden brown, add spinach
  8. When the spinach is almost fully wilted, add the green beans
  9. Stir continuously until the green beans are cooked through and the spinach is fully wilted.
  10. Remove from heat
  11. When the pasta is almost fully cooked (there should still be a little chewiness), transfer to a strainer
  12. Put one ladle full of the pasta liquid (yeah, about that color…) in the green bean mix
  13. Transfer green bean mix to a blender or food processor. Add in three of the white (Pina Colada) Swedish Fish. You can snack on the other flavors.
  14. Blend until the sauce is as smooth as it can be
  15. Put the sauce back into the sauté pan, add one to two tablespoons of the Cream of Mushroom soup.
  16. Heat the sauce until simmering, stirring the soup in thoroughly
  17. Add salt to taste
  18. Add the pasta to the pan, mix until pasta is coated in the sauce
  19. Serve with shredded parmesan over the top.





10 Years. Wow.

2018 March 15
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by Ryan

Well, we did it. We made it 10 years.

I can honestly say that it has been some of the most aggravating yet enjoyable, soul-crushing yet rewarding, and exhausting yet uplifting 10 years of my life. And I wouldn’t change much of it at all.

read more…

Springtime = Coffee Time

2017 May 8
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by Ryan
Oh, yeah… we have a blog. Let’s see if we can keep semi-regular updates going on here…..

This time of year is exciting in the specialty coffee world: new coffees arrive at a breakneck pace. And this year we’re happy to have our necks broken… 🙂 Also, as a bonus, these coffees are the second, third, and fourth coffees we’ve exclusively roasted on our new-to-us Diedrich Roaster. So we’ve developed the roast profiles to *really* bring out the best these beans have to offer!

Introducing three (yes, three!) new coffees available on our bar starting this week…

Congo Mwise Buhoyo

First up is the Congo Mwise Buhoyo. Our tasting notes range from sweet but strong citrus notes through lime, plum, and butterscotch tones appearing as the cup cools and on the aftertaste. A sweet, slightly heavy bodied cup. This comes from our friends at Crop To Cup Importers, and can be purchased online from us at our Kojava Storefront.

Ethiopia Guji Kercha

We bid a fond farewell to our Ethiopia Chuchu this last week. But don’t shed a tear: the Guji is here to impress! Watermelon and peach. Seriously. The peach is ALL OVER this cup as it cools and makes a phenomenal iced coffee. And even with all that sweet, bright fruit tones, the cup is surprisingly heavy-bodied for being from Ethiopia–known for its tea-like coffees. Our main coffee go-to peeps Atlas Coffee Importers bring us this stunner, and it’s also available for online purchase on our Kojava Storefront.

Uganda Kanyenze Floated Drugar

Last up in the new arrival category is our Uganda Kanyenze, also from our friends at Crop to Cup. The “floated” term comes from the processing: as soon as the ripe coffee cherries hit the fermentation tanks, some of them float to the top almost instantly. These magical, perfectly ripe beans are pulled from the tanks immediately and then dried and processed using the Natural process. What does that do the the flavor? A LOT. You won’t even have to sniff hard for the explosive blueberry aromas that emanate from the beans even before they’re ground. That blueberry note is exceedingly prominent in the cup, as is an oatmeal-like savoriness that you have to taste to believe. But don’t quit just yet! Both the aftertaste and moreso as the cup cools, a passion fruit taste emerges to smack your taste buds around.  This is available for online purchase on our Kojava Storefront as well.

This is a great time to be a coffee drinker, my friends, especially when we get to show off how much the Diedrich is changing roasts for the better up here.

See you soon!

Doing Business in Black Forest

2016 January 4
by Ryan

Today we learned of a fellow Black Forest Business closing its doors. The Breakfast Club, open just under two years, has ceased operations, effective immediately.

TBC, we hardly knew ya.

TBC, we hardly knew ya.

While some may think I’d be sitting here gloating about it, that’s the farthest thing from my mind. Sure, Stacy and I have butted heads in the past, and sure, we have been directly in competition with each other. But to me it goes beyond that when it comes to this business community.

Losing a business in our community is quite like losing a loved one. All you have to do is look at their facebook announcement to see this first hand. This was a huge loss for Black Forest.

As I said to my staff when I found out about it:

This could just as easily have been us making this announcement.

Doing business in Black Forest is tough–tougher than many other markets. On a daily basis we walk the tightrope of the costs of doing business and the volume coming in the door. Sometimes we come out ahead, sometimes I’m calling vendors and telling them to hang on one more day before cashing that check. It’s a way of life up here.

I’m not complaining, though, as I’m sure Stacy isn’t either. We both chose to open our restaurants in the Forest knowing full well what is involved.

Whatever the reason was behind this loss, I know that she fought tooth and nail to keep her store alive for almost two years. And for that, Stacy has my deepest respect. I hope she lands on her feet–from what I heard (having never been able to try anything myself), she knows her way around a kitchen and deserves her own store again soon.

Thank you, Stacy and your entire team over there. You kept us on our feet here, and made Black Forest that much better off for the last two years.

May your grill be hot and the orders be on time,

Ryan Wanner

Refer friends, get a gift

2015 April 15
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by Ryan

It’s been said the best advertising a business can have is word-of-mouth advertising.

We fully agree with this statement. In fact, the majority of our advertising comes from those of you who tell your friends “Hey, go try out R&R!”

We want to thank you for your efforts.



Starting today, when you order something in our store, tell our register to text or email you a receipt. At the bottom of the receipt, you’ll see a “Refer A Friend” section. Enter a friend’s email; they will receive a invite to try us and a $5 off coupon.

Here’s the best part: When your friends redeem their coupons, you get a $5 off coupon as well. Pretty neat, huh?

Again, thank you for continuing to tell everyone about us. We appreciate it–more than you know. Happy referring!

Your stomach and coffee

2015 January 27
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by Ryan

This morning I noticed a tweet from @SpringsCuisine about darker roasts being easier on the stomach than lighter roast coffees. When I commented back that I disagree, I was given a link to a study done by molecular scientists confirming this fact.

Here’s my issue with this study: at a molecular level, they are most likely right. But there’s way more to the chemistry of coffee and the art of the roast than that article explained. (please note I just went off of the abstract of the article: the more in-depth article was behind a paywall)

(Warning: this is gonna get technical at first, but bear with me……..)

read more…

AVOG Buyer’s Club

2014 September 15
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by Ryan

We are excited to announce a new partnership with the Arkansas Valley Organic Growers association! As you may know, we are the host site for their CSA dropoffs every Tuesday.

Now, we’re offering a chance to get bulk produce weekly as part of the AVOG Buyer’s Club.

avogHere’s how it works:

  • Sign up for the email list. It can be found right here.
  • Every Friday, we will send out an email with what AVOG is offering for the week. Choose what you want and reply to the email address in the offer email. Please note the offerings are for bulk purchases. We don’t recommend splitting cases (really expensive!), but I bet your friends or neighbors would be interested in some produce, too!
  • Come into the shop on Saturday or Sunday to purchase what you have requested. Your order will not be relayed to AVOG until payment has been received. The order will go to AVOG at 2:00pm Sunday. Alternatively, the offer list will be posted at the shop. You can order directly from us.
  • AVOG will deliver the order on Tuesday afternoons, usually after 3:00pm. Pick up your order before we close Tuesday or before 10:00am Wednesday.
  • Orders not picked up by 10:00 Wednesday may be resold.

AVOG does have a $150 minimum purchase for the entire buyer’s club. You don’t have to order $150 worth of produce, but all of us combined do have to. If we do not reach that $150 goal, we will refund your money immediately. We will be in contact with you if availability changes, too.

Seriously, folks. If you’ve seen the high quality of the items AVOG has been bringing into our shop (or tasted them, since we use a lot of the produce ourselves), you know this is a great opportunity to get some produce at bulk quantities at not a lot of money. No CSA membership is necessary for the buyer’s club. You just have to deal with me sending email to you once a week.

We will also have upcoming workshops with Bonnie from Hungry Chicken Homestead and CFAM talking about canning this wonderful produce, storing potatoes, and more! I will talk these workshops up in the weekly email.

Sign up for the email today, and we’ll start up the buyer’s club next week!

Questions? Let me know in the comments!


On Sundays

2014 July 19
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by Ryan

We have been collecting comment cards in the shop and talking it up on Facebook, and we now think we have a solution for our Sunday services.

Those of you who have visited us on Sundays know we were using a sit down, get waited on style of service. Which is different than our usual way of doing things through the week.

We have heard good, bad, very good, and horrible reviews concerning the waitstaff-driven style. Two of those types of reviews are welcome, the others… well… let’s just say none of the comments have fallen on deaf ears.

So it’s time for a change. Hopefully for the better.

Starting this Sunday (July 20), we will go back to the order at the register style. But we’ll still have servers.

Basically, how it will work is this: initially you’ll order at the register (and we will have a secondary register available to keep the queue down) off our regular menu with Sunday Specials. Once you’re at the table, however, our service staff will take over and you’ll want for nothing. We’re even equipping our server with a portable version of our register system so we can take care of all your needs. If any of you have ever eaten at Il Vicino in the Springs, you’ll recognize the style.


I know that our service standards on Sundays have –at times– left a lot to be desired. And for that, I want to apologize. I have known we have needed to change the way we do things on Sundays for a while now: recent issues with our former register system and a shortage of staff (aaahhh, vacation times…) made the decision to pull the trigger on the change pretty easy for me for this weekend.

I know there’s quite a few of you that really enjoyed the server-style we were doing. But a few more of you that felt our service standards were not there. You can ask any of the team here: this is a decision we have been wrestling with for quite a number of months. I believe the way we’re heading to is the best to continue that quality you’ve come to expect from us.

Of course, I value your opinion on this or any other thing regarding our store. Feel free to comment here, on our facebook or twitter pages, drop me an email (ryan [at] RnRCoffeeCafe [dot] com), or just swing by.

Thank you for continuing to support your community coffee shop! We wouldn’t be here without you.


Something Stunning

2014 May 15
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by Ryan

So it was time to order coffee from my importer again. And I was torn on which coffee to get out of a myriad of great choices.


I told my importer I was interested in something stunning. And they delivered.

Oh, did they deliver.

read more…

Order. Pickup. Go.

2014 April 21
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by Ryan

The problem with craft coffee and from scratch cooking is that it takes a bit to do it right. And we are fully aware that we hear comments to that end regularly. We’ve sped things up as much as we can, but it still. takes. time.

So what if you can order ahead of time? While on your phone? And walk in, pick it up, and go? No lines, no cashing out while in the store, no nothing but quick, speedy service in the time it takes you to drive here? Sound like a winner?

Square PickupWe have teamed up with Square to offer the Pickup service! Your phone becomes our cash register! Order from your phone and we’ll get to work. We tell you when your order is ready (usually within 15 minutes of ordering) and you walk in, pick up, and go.



  • Point your phone’s web browser to
  • Enter the invite code “trypickup” (no quotes)
  • Download and install the app
  • Register a square account (if you don’t already have one) and link a credit card
  • Order away! Our entire menu is available on the Pickup App.
  • We will alert you when your order is ready.

Please note this is a BETA product from Square. Some things may not work quite right. And it’s for iOS devices only right now.

If you have an android phone, windows phone, blackberry, or want to order from your computer, you’re not left behind! Point your web browser to:     to order our entire menu for pickup. (Whole bean coffees are only available for shipping out, not pickup at this time)

What are you waiting for? Get ordering!