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Small Business Saturday Snapshot: Old Town Spice Shop, Your Local Spice Shop

local spice shopAromatic smells and contented smiles have been rolling out of Old Town Spice Shop, your local spice shop, since 2010. In fact, December 3, 2010, is when the shop first opened its doors in its previous location at 220 Linden Street. Since that time, there has been a move to our current location at 130A S. College Ave., right in the heart of Old Town Fort Collins. There has also been no shortage of tasty morsels, savvy spice know-how, and delicious creations as a result of the freshness and quality of the spices, blends, seasonings, and other products available at our shop.

One thing that sets us apart is that we’re an independently owned Fort Collins spice shop. It was opened by the Godbey Family because of their love for the community, for Colorado, and for fresh and tasty spices. And now with Small Business Saturday Fort Collins just around the corner on Saturday, November 24, we’d like to take a moment and sit down with owner and manager Sean Godbey to chat about all things Old Town Spice Shop.

Q: Your family moved to Colorado in 1985. Where is your family originally from?

SG: Phoenix, AZ. I moved here when I was 1.

Q: What brought the family out to Colorado?

SG: My parents wanted a good place for us to grow up in a smaller city. CSU was an attraction as well.

Q: How are your spices tailored to the Colorado way of life?

SG: We do our best to tailor what we make to how people cook in Colorado. A lot of people like to cook from the land, so spices that are great with vegetables. Also, spices that help highlight the agricultural background of the area, so making sure we have great rubs for everything you would do with meat. People also like things spicy. So we make sure we can bring the heat when people want it!

Q: Have you always been interested in spices?

SG: I have always loved spices, but when we started this business we had a huge learning curve. I learned a lot about spices in the first year we opened. I still learn new things every day and I love it!

Q: Are you a good cook?

SG: I like to think I am. But like anyone, I have my areas I am most comfortable in. The one area that I need the most help with is baking. Luckily, my wife is a great baker, so I don’t have to be 🙂

Q: What is your favorite thing/dish to cook?

SG: My go-to favorite meal to cook and eat is hot wings. However, I love to cook a new recipe, and then change the recipe the next time I make it to make it better. Even after 15 years of trying to master hot wings, I still change the recipe every once in a while.

Q: What is your favorite spice aroma?

SG: Aroma is a funny thing. It stimulates the brain in a way that it can immediately take you back in time. For me, cardamom is one of my favorites. It reminds me of taking trips to the Middle East, sitting in coffee houses drinking Turkish Coffee. Prior to opening Old Town Spice Shop, I worked for a church here in Fort Collins. I had good friends that lived there, and I would go visit them on mission trips.

Q: Do you have an all-time favorite spice?

SG: No, there are too many fun spices in the world. I have my go-to spices for different things, but really most of the time I like trying new things.

Q: What is your favorite aspect of owning Old Town Spice Shop?

SG: Sharing fun new things. We get to work with customers every day wanting to make their life better through flavor. We get to help them figure out what to use to make that happen.

Q: What is it like being a small business owner in Fort Collins?

SG: Great! The community of small business owners downtown is amazing. Owning and managing a small business can be daunting at times. What is great is that there is always someone else that has gone through something similar who is willing to give you ideas on how to make it better.

Q: Where do you see OTSS in the next five years? Ten years?

SG: Our store isn’t going anywhere. We are lucky enough to have great relationships with numerous businesses throughout our community. I hope that in five to ten years we will be able to grow those relationships to continue to make Fort Collins better.

Q: What are your favorite customer interactions?

SG: When I work the store, I love seeing customers that have come in for years. I also love when new customers come in and are overwhelmed with options or get super excited about all the things they want to cook.

This is just a small snippet into the heart and soul of your local spice shop, Old Town Spice Shop. With the holidays rapidly approaching, now is the most important time of the year to head to Downtown Fort Collins and support local businesses, like us, Old Town Spice Shop. Remember to #ShopSmall this Holiday Season and come say hi! We invite everyone to taste the difference that fresh spices, blends and seasonings, teas, sugars, extracts, and other products can make in your life.

Crock Pot Perfection: Our Recommended Spices for Chili

spices for chiliOh slow cooker, how we love thee…Can we get an “amen”?

You have to admit, there’s nothing better than coming home after a long day to an already-prepared homemade meal that your family can devour right this minute. Not only that, but its heavenly aromas are also currently permeating every crevice of your home with its home-cooked, savory goodness. Nothing quite makes you feel like more of a domestic god or goddess.

And let’s not forget about the crock pot’s currently trending and much more stylish cousin, the instant pot. Done in a flash while retaining all of the juice and flavor of a traditional slow cooker meal. These are hot right now, and for good reason.

When it comes to crock pot and instant pot meals, one of our favorites is chili. Its hearty, warm deliciousness is hard to beat, and it’s also quite simple to prepare. But we’ve got a few tips that will take your chili from standard to superior with the addition of some simple spices for chili.

Urfa Biber

Instead of traditional chili peppers, why not try something a little more spicy and non-traditional? We suggest using Urfa Biber chili flakes. The curing process of this Turkish chili leaves a high moisture content and encourages complex smoky flavors of rich chocolate, roasted coffee, and tangy raisins. Not only is Urfa Biber recommended for taking your crockpot chili to a whole new level, it’s also tasty raw, sprinkled over pungent cheeses or cooked into sauces for braised meats. These chilies even taste good on ice cream!

Cumin

There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it: cumin is a must when it comes to delicious chili creation. The aromatic seeds of a plant in the parsley family, cumin is typical in many spice blends and is a staple spice in many cuisines, especially Mexican, Indian, African, and Asian. It has a very distinctive flavor with an earthy, nutty, spicy taste that has bitter undertones and a warm aroma, and it’s utterly delectable when added to chili. Luckily, we carry both ground cumin and whole seed cumin.

Chocolate or Cinnamon

Another way to give your chili a flavor boost is by adding chocolate or cinnamon. You heard us right: chocolate or cinnamon. Try picking one of these to add with your traditional spices into your next batch of chili: 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, 1 whole cinnamon stick, or 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder. Or try adding a few squares of good-quality dark chocolate along with the tomatoes and let them melt slowly into the chili.

Harissa or Berbere

To bring a more exotic flair to the table, try harissa or berbere. Described as “Tunisia’s main condiment,” harissa is commonly used in Northern Africa to flavor stews, soups, and couscous. Most standard harissas include a blend of hot chile peppers, garlic, olive oil, cumin, coriander, caraway, and mint. Berbere is an Ethiopian spice mixture that is the flavor foundation of Ethiopian cuisine, a basic ingredient in Dabo Kolo, Doro Wat, and many other dishes. It’s a spice mixture whose constituent elements usually include chili peppers, garlic, ginger, basil, korarima, rue, ajwain or radhuni, nigella, and fenugreek.

So the next time your crock pot or instant pot chili night rolls around, go with a less traditional spin by utilizing some of our recommended spices for chili. Or swing on by the Old Town Spice Shop, a local independent Fort Collins Spice Shop, located at 130A S. College Ave. in Old Town Fort Collins. We could chat about spices all day. Let us know what spice questions you have. We’re always happy to help!

Our Top 5 Favorite Fall Baking Spices

As soon as the air gets crisp and the leaves start crunching underfoot, we’re not sure about you, but everyone here at Old Town Spice Shop can’t help but get a little bit giddy over fall baking spices. Fall is one of our favorite seasons when it comes to cooking and baking. The cooler temperature lends itself to savory slow-cooker meals and mouth-watering baked goodies.

Therefore, in the spirit of fun fall baking, we’ve decided to fill you in on our top five favorite fall baking spices. This way you’ll be stocked up on everything you need for some epic fall baking and equally as epic fall eating. I mean, you’ve got to stay warm this winter somehow, right?  Here goes….

Cinnamon

Mmmmmm…. no other flavor quite denotes the fall season like cinnamon. Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the inner bark of several tree species from the genus Cinnamomum. It’s used mainly as an aromatic condiment and a flavoring additive in a wide array of cuisines. The aroma and flavor of cinnamon are derived from its essential oil and principal component, cinnamaldehyde. There are a number of species of cinnamon including Cassia, Chinese, Saigon, and Ceylon—true cinnamon. From cinnamon-spiced apples to apple cobbler to snickerdoodles, there are a number of tasty fall treats that will make you fall in love with cinnamon all over again.

Luckily, we’ve got all of the fresh cinnamon you could want here at your Fort Collins herbs and spices store. Check out our impressive lineup of cinnamons here.

Nutmeg

Grab your cable-knit sweater and infinity scarves because nutmeg is the next fall baking spice on our list. Did you know that nutmeg is the seed or ground spice of several species of the genus Myristica fragrans? It’s a dark-leaved evergreen tree cultivated for two spices derived from its fruit: nutmeg, from its seed, and mace, from the seed covering. It has a distinctive pungent fragrance and a warm, slightly sweet taste. Its flavor can be found in many types of baked goods, confections, sauces, vegetables, and even eggnog. Some of our favorite nutmeg-inspired recipes include spice cake, french toast, candied pecans, and apple pie.

We appreciate anything nutmeg-derived, which is why we carry ground nutmeg, whole nutmeg and other spices in the nutmeg family. Check them out here.

Allspice

According to theepicentre.com, allspice takes its name from its aroma, which smells like a combination of spices, including cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg. Allspice is the only spice that is grown exclusively in the Western Hemisphere. The evergreen tree that produces the allspice berries is indigenous to the rainforests of South and Central America, where it grows wild. Dried allspice berries resemble large brown peppercorns. Its flavor is pungent and aromatic, with peppery overtones. What are some of our favorite allspice-flavored fall treats? Let’s start with mulled cider, spice cake, or a number of tasty holiday cocktails. Now that’s what we’re talking about.

Try our Mexican Ground Allspice or Mexican Whole Allspice.

Ginger

Want some zing in your fall baking? Then, we suggest ginger. Ginger is a flowering plant whose stem, ginger root—or simply ginger—is used a spice. Ginger is in the family Zingiberaceae, in which also belong turmeric, cardamom, and galangal. Ginger produces a hot, fragrant flavor and is used quite often in Indian and Caribbean cuisine. When it comes to fall baking spices, ginger is one of our favorite. Want to know why? Because of gingerbread of course! There’s also ginger cake, ginger cobbler, ginger spiced molasses cookies, ginger snaps, ginger cheesecake….we could go on.

You want ginger? We’ve got it here at Old Town Spice Shop.

Cloves

Cloves are the aromatic flower buds of a tree in the family Myrtaceae, which are native to Indonesia. The clove tree is an evergreen that grows up to 25 to 40 feet tall, with large leaves and crimson flowers. The most noticeable component of the clove taste is imparted by the chemical eugenol, and the flavor pairs well with cinnamon, allspice, vanilla, red wine, basil, onion, citrus, star anise, and peppercorns. There are a number of tasty autumn-inspired beverages that are clove-heavy, including a number of hot toddies, mulled ciders, and chai drinks. Cloves are also quite prevalent in a number of fall baking classics already mentioned, such as gingerbread and pumpkin pie.  

And last but not least, did you know (said in your best Captain Planet voice) that when these five items are combined, they magically become Pumpkin Pie Spice, another one of our favorite fall baking spices!

There you have it, a delicious rundown of our favorite fall baking spices and dishes. Now, if you don’t mind, we have a gingerbread hankering that we need to alleviate. In the meantime, come on into Old Town Spice Shop, a local independent Fort Collins Spice Shop at 130A S. College in Old Town Fort Collins, to check out our selection of spices, blends and seasonings, salts, sugars, and so much more!

 

Hopped Up Coffee: A Craft Coffee for Beer Lovers

As you probably already know, we love a steaming hot cup of coffee here at Old Town Spice Shop. And we also like nothing better than a tasty local brew, so we decided to combine the two into our very own line of specialty coffees called Hopped Up Coffee. Hopped Up Coffee is a single-origin coffee, with blended Cascade hops, and various malted barley to add the texture and sweetness of various beer styles.

We’re proud to collaborate with Jackie’s Java, Northern Colorado’s coffee roaster, to ensure that the coffee we use is fairly purchased from the farmer, single-origin, and roasted to our specifications. We also gather inspiration from a number of awesome local breweries, including New Belgium, Odell, Horse & Dragon, Purpose Brewing, DC Oakes, Intersect, Maxline, Zwei and others, for mouthwatering flavor ideas.

While we may be pioneering the realm of beer-infused coffee, craft coffee has been gaining popularity for years. According to MarketWatch, similar to craft beers, “Craft coffee refers to the pursuit of making a cup of high-quality coffee, while also engaging consumers in the story of the coffee…by experimenting with bringing out different flavor nodes to make a cup of black coffee taste more nuanced.”

While we enjoy the much-needed and proverbial kick in the pants that coffee provides, coffee is no longer solely consumed just for the jolt of energy. Consumers are seeing it as an overall experience to be enjoyed. From the grinding of the beans to the aroma, to the roasting and brewing philosophy, people are learning about what’s in their cup and are enjoying this new-found relationship with their morning cup o’ joe.

We get it. As your trusted local spice shop, we understand that eating, drinking, and creating culinary creations are adventures to be experienced and enjoyed, and this applies to coffee as well. This is precisely why we’ve decided to merge two of our favorite flavors—coffee and beer—in a revolutionary new way.

And now that fall is officially here, we’d also like to unveil our new seasonal Hopped Up Coffee, our Pumpkin Ale Coffee! Bringing the delicious flavor of fall to your morning, our Pumpkin Ale Coffee is a tasty combination of freshly roasted coffee, malted barley, hops, and a hint of pumpkin spice. This seasonal selection is only available throughout the month of October. It’s autumn in a cup, and you’re going to love it.

While craft coffee and craft beer might be buzzwords (buzz…get it?), the idea behind the craft revolution is something that this local spice shop can completely get behind. Striving to understand the story behind our morning or afternoon cup of coffee and turning it into an overall experience—now that sounds like a brew-tiful sentiment!

Come on into the Old Town Spice Shop, a local independent Fort Collins Spice Shop at 130A S. College in Old Town Fort Collins, to check out our selection of Hopped Up Coffees and perhaps take a whiff of their mouthwatering aromas. Or order online here.

Join Us for a Cup of Coffee and Let’s Get Hopped Up

We love a steamy hot Cup O’ Joe here at Old Town Spice Shop which is why we’ve created our very own line of specialty coffees called Hopped Up Coffee. You see, we’re more than just a Fort Collins Spice Shop, we’re also coffee connoisseurs. But our coffee isn’t just your run-of-the-mill java. Hopped Up Coffee is a single-origin coffee, blended with various hops and malted barley to add the texture and sweetness of various beer styles.

Intrigued yet? We thought so.

We work with a number of awesome local breweries including New Belgium, Odell, Horse & Dragon, Purpose Brewing, DC Oakes, Intersect, Maxline, Zwei and others to help create our line of mouthwatering flavors. For all of our Hopped Up Coffees, we suggest brewing 2 Tbsp of coffee per 8 oz cup of water in a french press. For drip coffee, brew half a pot. Also, we thought we should mention that Hopped Up Coffee does not come in a whole bean due to the fact that there are a number of ingredients in it that cannot be ground at home without specialized equipment; it’s ground to best suit a french press

We’ve got a number of hop-tastic flavors to choose from so you can be sure to find the perfect blend for you or the beer lover in your life. Here’s quick rundown of our Hopped Up Flavors:

Black IPA – This coffee blend brings flavors of fresh roasted coffee, floral, and citrus hops paired with various varieties of roasted barley to create the perfect combination of sweetness and body synonymous with a black IPA.

Chocolate Peppermint Porter – This seasonal coffee available November and December offers flavors of fresh roasted coffee, chocolate, and a hint of hops naturally sweetened with candy cane. Paired with a variety of roasted barley that adds a hint of sweetness with the body of a porter, this blend will get you in the holiday spirit.

Chocolate Stout – Our chocolate stout coffee is a mouthwatering combination of fresh roasted coffee with hints of hops, paired with roasted barley and cocoa nibs that create a wonderful chocolate aroma and flavor.

Pumpkin Ale – Another seasonal selection only available throughout the month of October, our pumpkin ale coffee is made of freshly roasted coffee, malted barley, hops and a hint of pumpkin spice. It’s autumn in a cup and you’re going to love it.

Scottish Ale – One of our favorites, hands down, our Scottish Ale blend offers a fusion of fresh roasted coffee, buscuitty, and honey malts with a hint of Cascade hops. This one will be sure to get you going in the morning.  

Winter Warmer – And last but not least is our Winter Warmer, available only during the winter months. This blend consists of fresh roasted coffee and a hint of hops paired with a variety of roasted barley to add a bit of sweetness and body. Then we added a splash of cocoa and orange to bring the flavor of winter to your coffee cup every morning.

Come on into the Old Town Spice Shop, a local independent Fort Collins Spice Shop at 130A S. College in Old Town Fort Collins to check out our selection of Hopped Up Coffees and perhaps take a whiff of their mouthwatering aromas. Or order online here.

We invite everyone to taste the difference that fresh spices and herbs, blends, seasoning, teas and other products can make in your life. Take this opportunity to smell, taste, ask questions and have an adventure as you get to know the finest local spice shop in Northern Colorado. And don’t forget the gift of culinary creativity this Holiday Season. Old Town Spice Shop has the best Holiday gifts for foodies and food lovers near and far.