If you’ve ever heard of or been to the Unseen Bean coffee shop you probably thought it was just another average coffee hang out in Boulder. The story behind the name says it all. Gerry Leary, the owner and founder of the Unseen Bean, has surely never seen a coffee bean. Born with impaired vision, Gerry has worked through the typical struggles of being blind. Despite his vision impairment Gerry has now owned two businesses.
Meeting with Gerry and learning more about his life was a remarkable experience. Throughout the interview I became more and more impressed with what Gerry has accomplished in life. Not only does he own the Unseen Bean, he also owned a very successful auto repair shop called Gerry’s Auto Service.
Along with owning the shop Gerry also roasts his coffee himself. The first time he was introduced to coffee roasting was by a man who roasted coffee, not by sight, but by sound and smell. From then on, he was confident that he could learn how to roast coffee. Despite the discouragement from other coffee roasters, Gerry was successful in purchasing a roaster and finding a location to roast at.
Gerry’s coffee is all organic and/or fair trade coffee. It is some of the best and freshest coffee I have ever tasted! During our interview he brewed a pot of delicious, Honduras decaf coffee. This was coffee that had been roasted two days earlier. It was amazing! There are so many different blends he offers from countries all over the world. His favorite blend at the moment is the Zambia and Ethiopia mix.
Gerry currently has two locations, one on Broadway, just a half block north of Pearl St, and one in Lafayette. He is also working on getting his coffee into Whole Foods and has been offered to start a café in CU’s Law School. I highly recommend going into the Unseen Bean and trying some of Gerry’s coffee. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. Also, don’t be shy to talk with Gerry! He absolutely loves interacting with his customers and getting to know everyone. Don’t forget to introduce yourself to his lovely dog named London!
Hearing all of Gerry’s accomplishments, no one would ever suspect that he is blind. From Gerry’s speech during a CU Leeds business class he stated, “As a blind guy it’s not as easy to get a job as it would be if I could see, so I created my own.”