Coffee and skiing go together like ... the Twin Valley Coffee Company and the U.S. Olympic Ski Team?
The Coffee Gazebo has quickly become a favorite gathering spot in Morgantown, set along Route 23, across from the Wal-Mart center. Locals stop by for the best brew in town, plus the fellowship of chats with neighbors. Lately, they’ve been stopping to take a look at the signed mug.
It all started, said owner Lynn Burkholder, when one of his regular customers - Brent Logan - had the idea to get a Twin Valley Coffee cup autographed and auctioned to benefit a cause. The first signature was Beezie Madden, a well-known name in the horse-jumping arena. Logan is an aspiring Olympian, with his goal being the 2020 horse-jumping category of the games. When Brent Logan went to the Devon Horse Show, he took a mug along with him. Brent returned with Beezie Madden’s signature scrawled across the cup, much to Lynn Burkholder and his wife Lynne’s delight.
Logan then took his idea a step – or miles – further, packing a Twin Valley coffee cup when he embarked upon a trip to Utah for Olympic training. While there, he met a member of the U.S. Olympic ski team, and next thing you knew: a mug signed by some of the biggest names in American ski sport, including:
• 2014 Men’s Olympic and National Team Member/Olympic Gold medalist/ 2013 Men’s Super G and GS Champion - Ted Ligety
• 2014 Men’s Alpine Speed Olyjmpic and National Team members: - Steve Nyman - Marco Sullivan - Jared Goldberg - Nick Daniels - Bryce Bernett - Wiley Maples - Toni Beretzki
• 2014 Women’s Alpine Olympic and National Team Member/2013 Women’s World Slalom Champion: - Mikaela Shiffrin
• Letter of authenticity signed by: USSA Masters National Manager Bill Skinner
The names on the cup are practically a “Who’s Who In American Ski Sports” listing, with Mikaela Shiffrin being one that will likely become very well-known during the upcoming Winter Olympics.
The Burkholders are now gearing up to hold an auction – probably through eBay - with proceeds from the signed mug going to the cause of fighting human trafficking.
“We chose this cause because it’s a universal problem and affects everyone, across all demographics and beliefs,” said Lynn Burkholder.
Those interested in bidding on the autographed coffee mug should keep an eye on Twin Valley Coffee’s Facebook page for announcements of auction news.
Twin Valley Coffee is a family affair, with the Burkholders’ children all joining in to help run the business, which started in 2004 with Lynn Burkholder experimenting with a small fluid bed roaster. Encouragement and raves about the coffee led to further experimentation, and that in turn led to building a five-pound capacity fluid bed roaster, which resulted in the introduction of Twin Valley Coffee into a number of local retail stores.
“The fluid bed – hot air – roaster as opposed to a drum roaster means that the chaff and smoke are exhausted, which makes for a pure flavor in the coffee,” explained Lynn Burkholder.
In 2012, the family purchased a larger capacity fluid bed roaster to meet the growing demand. The coffee has a growing number of enthusiastic fans, including Rosaria Hawkins, PhD.
“The coffee is stellar and the customer service is extraordinary,” said Hawkins. “Starbucks, watch out! I, for one, am proud to be buying local and getting better quality.”
The coffee was recently recognized as being the #1 coffee in Chester County with the Daily Local Readers Choice award.
“We work hard, and we strive for excellence in all of our relationships,” said Lynn Burkholder. “Our mission statement is ‘excellence beyond the cup.’”
The Burkholders maintain a Direct Trade partnership with coffee bean growers for several of their coffees, including Nicaragua and Brazil. They intend to travel to meet some of their growers, in the near future.
But for now, with the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics on the horizon, Twin Valley Coffee’s focus is on the mug. They hope that the auction of the cup will bring much-needed funds for the human trafficking cause, and that this auction will spawn others.
“There are some projects in the works,” said Lynn Burkholder. “Our ultimate goal is for a series of signed mugs, from celebrities across the board. Who knows how far this could go?”
Burkholder has arranged to send several bags of Twin Valley Coffee to the ski team. After all, cold snow sports require good coffee.
Linda Oatman High, Narvon, is an author, journalist and playwright (www.lindaoatmanhigh.com) who has written news and features for many newspapers. She has an Master’s in Fine Arts in Writing from Vermont College.
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