The Unseen Bean: Roasting Coffee in the Dark
I became familiar with Gerry Leary when I would occasionally see him on the bus with his guide dog, Devyon, lying obediently at his feet. I always greeted him and reminded him that I work at a place very familiar to him.
I would get off at the stop near my home and he would continue riding to his roasting facility a few blocks east in Lafayette. I would also occasionally see him on the westbound bus, either going to his home in Boulder, or his popular coffee shop on Broadway near the Pearl Street Mall.
Blind since birth due to retinopathy, he roasts coffee by listening closely to the sound and smell of the beans as they go through the roaster. He is also the only blind roaster in the U.S.
In 2017, his Lafayette landlord denied him a new lease. With no affordable space in Boulder County, he relocated to a facility in Weld County, compelling him to travel by Lyft rides, with Devyon, to his new roaster for $100 per day. Twisted Pine brewery, a neighbor in Mead who collaborated with Gerry on an award-winning beer/ espresso blend, stepped up with a fundraiser. Gerry also received Resort to Kindness’ 2018 Little Give, an $18,000 gift that Gerry said just covered his debt.
Unfortunately, his Broadway café fell victim to economic shakeup and has since closed.
Gerry still roasts and creates outstanding coffee. You just have to go to the Unseen Bean website.
Matt Kissane, Director of Listener Services
Audio Information Network of Colorado. Providing blind & visually impaired individuals with audio access to reading materials. 303-786-7777, ext. 108 or firstname.lastname@example.org/