The Mountain-Ear is located at:
20 E. Lakeview Drive, Unit 109 (inside Brightwood Music).
Our mailing address is PO Box 99, Nederland, CO 80466.

Phone: (303) 810-5409

Melt Coffee: Cultivating culture into every cupFree Access


If you venture into Rollinsville, or find yourself on a trip down Highway 119, you should stop inside Howlin Wind Brewery for a different kind of brew. Nestled inside the brewery on 51 Main Street you’ll find Melt Coffee, a micro-roastery and espresso bar serving up a relaxing environment to accompany its expertly engineered beverages.

Derin Jones, the main brewer, barista, owner, and operator of Melt Coffee spoke to The Mountain-Ear about where he learned to appreciate the taste of coffee.

“I fell in love with coffee in Costa Rica. It’s a local commodity; it’s like eating fresh strawberries, like picking fruit off the tree. The people who were brewing it really understood what they were doing and they would roast coffee really light. When I was there the coffee tasted like jasmine, flowers, strawberries, and white tea. It was a lot easier to drink and I didn’t need to put milk in it.”

Jones grew up in South Louisiana and fell in love with Colorado, and with skiing, when he was nine years old. Jones, while owning his own landscaping business and performing as a saxophonist in Louisiana, would still travel to Colorado every year until he finally moved to Nederland four years ago. He originally worked in music production and continued playing gigs until he was inspired to share his enthusiasm for the roasting process.

“It was beyond making the coffee; when you go to an origin country where coffee is grown you see the whole process, you get to see behind the scenes,” Jones excitedly explained how he views the process from a different perspective. “My dad is an engineer so I see things come apart and put back together, so when I see the whole system a light bulb goes off in my brain. It comes out of the ground, somebody is working to cultivate the plants, they pick it, they process it. There’s all these different parts of it and I wanted to be a part of it…I’m a nerd.”

Jones performs with ska and reggae band The Alcapones and cites his background as a musician for how he approaches expanding his horizons in the coffee world.

“I went to college for music and there were deep dives into total absorption; information overload! And by doing that I think you really expand your understanding. I’ve expanded my involvement into serving coffee, which I never did. I just roasted coffee and now I serve coffee…it’s a trip.”

Melt Coffee opened its stand on December 31, 2021 and exists inside Howlin Wind Brewery, which highlights different sorts of beverages, Jones notes how they’re processes can be similar.

“Zach doesn’t know much about roasting, much like I don’t know much about brewing but we still throw ideas back and forth. It’s pretty easy to rap about a process versus anything in particular. The process is very similar when it comes to experimenting with craft creations of any kind.”

Being inside of the brewery also fosters the perfect environment for creative inspiration, which is helpful to Jones and also a highlight to customers.

“I didn’t spend a lot of time as a non-coffee drinker in a coffee shop. The space here is very special and I’m happy to hang out in it every day that we’re here,” Jones said. “I think other people are starting to find that it’s a good place to be for many reasons; one of them is the interesting people you might meet. The other side of it is that there’s a workspace here that’s available for people to use; and we’re pretty accommodating!”

Jones sees his current location as an advantage, as he aims towards “foodies” who are willing to seek out places like Rollinsville and Melt Coffee.

“What sets me apart is how little I am, honestly. I don’t distribute the coffee yet, so this is the only place you can get it at the moment. I am looking into roasting more coffee and branding bags and distributing them to local places. In the meantime you gotta come to me!”

As well as expanding into distributing his roasts, Jones is also experimenting with new flavors and is beginning to shift his menu for the warm weather.

“The first step is doing chai tea, the next step will be cold brew and iced coffees and ideally by the start of April I’ll have bags here at the shop that people can take home with them.”

When asked about his favorite part of what he does, Jones gave a surprising answer that reflected how our greatest pitfalls can lead to triumphs.

“It’s constantly being humbled, I think. That was a big part of music, which is improvisation, and improvisation only works by doing it kind of wrong. You try and you try, and you fail, and you fall on your face and get really disappointed. Then you read more and you learn more and you try new things and try to limit the variables that you’re changing; or try to become more scientific about it if you need more consistency. The same thing with music; it starts out as just fumbling around and then you find patterns in the music. It’s just math in the end.”

Melt Coffee is located within Howlin Wind Brewery on 51 Main Street in Rollinsville and is open Monday, Thursday, and Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call 225-278-0977, or check out their Instagram:

Sponsored by Gilpin County Commissioners, with funds from the American Rescue Plan Act.