As the busy father of a new baby and two other young kids, Nick Romcevich found himself making cold-brew coffee, putting it in water bottles and taking it to work for mid-morning and afternoon pick-me-ups whenever his late-night dad duties caught up with him.
While in the evening MBA program at the University of Colorado's Leeds School of Business last fall, Romcevich, 34, pitched to his entrepreneurship class the idea of bottled coffee brewed with room-temperature water.
It's still early for the business that formed out of that class — Highline Coffee — but the company's "NuBru Coffee" is on the shelves at Lucky's Market in Longmont starting this month.
Romcevich, who graduated from the MBA program this spring, prefers the taste of cold brew because it's less acidic and bitter than coffee brewed with high heat.
"It doesn't give you what some people call the 'hairy tongue' taste," he said.
After drinking cold-brew coffee, he noticed he wasn't jittery and felt like he got a steady energy release all day long.
Though some coffee drinkers may prefer the experience that comes with a steamy mug of Joe, Romcevich said cold brew can be more useful for the people who need a quick burst of energy during the work day or ahead of a workout.
Before he discovered cold-brew coffee, Romcevich faced a daily dilemma at work each afternoon: to run out to a coffee shop or suffer through without energy.
"I just remember being at work where I was just knocked down and tired from the third kid, and I'd have to sneak out of the office to go get a Starbucks," he said. "Where I could've just gone to the refrigerator and cracked open a bottle of cold brew and gone on with the day. All I needed was energy. It wasn't like I needed the experience."
Unlike an energy drink, Romcevich said, the ingredient list for cold brew is short and easy to understand — Arabica coffee beans and water from the local Left Hand and St. Vrain creeks.
About a quarter of business ideas developed in assistant professor Jeff York's evening entrepreneurship class actually take off, he said, but that's not really the goal.
York said he hopes students learn about entrepreneurship and can apply it to their lives in a variety of ways.
Though some students launch businesses, others use the tools York provides within their current companies, he said.
Romcevich's business started with his own preference for cold-brewed coffee, and the realization that he couldn't buy it in the grocery store, York said.
"The basis of the class is that entrepreneurship starts with you, with a person," York said. "What do you know about? What do you care about? What are your values?
"All of those things come into the idea of trying to start a business based on your identity, and then going out and assessing whether it's a good idea."
Contact Camera Staff Writer Sarah Kuta at 303-473-1106 or firstname.lastname@example.org.