Fat City Coffee Roasters brings the world to the Roaring Fork Valley, one cup at a time.
Nick Ketpura is an architect by trade and a coffee maker by passion PHOTO BY OLIVE AND WEST PHOTOGRAPHY
Fat City Coffee Roasters (@fatcitycoffeeroasters) began as a passion project for local architect Nick Ketpura, who has worked on the Doerr-Hosier Center at the Aspen Institute and the new Aspen City Hall. He wanted to discover and refine his obsession with the coffee plant.
A hobby-coffee roaster, Ketpura shared his hard-to-find varietals with friends and family. But when the pandemic motivated people to brew coffee at home, more of Ketpura’s friends asked for his freshly roasted specialty beans. He started researching how to scale his coffee roasting to meet demand. A little more than a year later, Fat City Coffee Roasters has developed a local cult following—it sells up to 50 bags of coffee per week via text or email ([email protected]) and will soon be available on shelves at Meat & Cheese (meatcheese.avalancheaspen.com) and Clark’s Market (clarksmarket.com).
Ketpura’s beans are sourced and purchased by a Q grader (experts at sourcing quality green coffee), which ensures high-quality beans, better farmer traceability, supply-chain accountability and enhanced environmental oversight (green beans are generally purchased from small-scale cooperatives and single-plot farmers). “We source coffee from farms that prioritize environmental stewardship through a long-term approach to soil health, biodiversity and community stability,” says Ketpura. He purchases beans from all over the world, including Yemen, Panama and Burundi, using skills and traits that help him excel as an architect: being curious, detail-oriented, thorough, excessively researched.
Fresh, tasty roast: Ketpura’s first blend is Of the Forest. PHOTO BY OLIVE AND WEST PHOTOGRAPHY
Born in Thailand to practicing Theravada Buddhists and raised during his early years above his family’s bustling restaurant in the heart of Bangkok, Ketpura and his family immigrated to the United States and settled into Southern California in the late ’80s. His first exposure to coffee was by way of coffee-flavored desserts and Thai coffee (espresso and condensed milk over ice) as a child. “I was hooked,” he says. In 2015, he was gifted his first real espresso machine—a La Pavoni Europiccola (he’s upgraded to a Decent DE1Pro)—and he began studying the coffee process, from growing and harvesting to roasting and pouring a perfect cup of coffee. Ketpura invested in an energy-friendly Aillio roaster, customized his setup and began roasting for himself and friends.
Ketpura with one of his creations PHOTO BY OLIVE AND WEST PHOTOGRAPHY
His first Fat City Coffee blend, Of the Forest, is named after his 4-year-old daughter, Sylvie. He has dreams of Fat City’s future. Perhaps a reservation-only coffee speakeasy? For now, more and more friends stop by Ketpura’s home in Basalt for a world-class cup of coffee. “From pouring a single cup of coffee for myself to roasting for a friend, I love the ritual of it,” he says.
Clients can reach out for coffee beans at [email protected] PHOTO BY OLIVE AND WEST PHOTOGRAPHY
Photography by: Courtesy of Olive and West Photography