Here's a statistic that should get economists and consumers into a caffeine-induced fervor: coffee is a $48 billion industry. Of that figure, more than half is part of the "specialty" coffee market, and Colorado is certainly no stranger to that trend. The discerning Centennial State coffee drinker can find places where no cream is allowed, almond milk is made fresh on the premises, and the beans are imported and freshly roasted somewhere in the state. Regardless of where you are in the state, it seems that a decent (at the very least) coffee shop is just a stone's throw away. Here is a list of a few standout coffee shops throughout Colorado.
Did you know the Steel City is home to the only commercially produced solar-roasted coffee in the country? If you're nuts about sustainability, innovation, and (of course) great coffee, check out Solar Roast Coffee. In addition to serving a steaming cup of java produced using renewable means, you can dig in to some delicious food. Located in the heart of historic downtown Pueblo, it's a must-drink cup.
Boulder has a number of fantastic coffee shops but two in particular raise the bar. The first is Alpine Modern located a few blocks off “the Hill” at 904 College Ave. It’s located in a former neighborhood grocery and has been remodeled into a gorgeous, airy space that rivals what coffee shops are doing in Sydney, Australia- the current epicenter of world coffee culture. And, the coffee is fantastic!
The other standout coffee shop in Boulder is Boxcar Coffee located at 17th and Pearl Street. Not only is the space lovely, the coffee is roasted in Colorado. The baristas have a depth of knowledge and love for coffee that borders on obsession, just the way that I like it. Boxcar also has a small stall at The Source in Denver and you can also purchase beans off its website.
Two standouts coffee shops in Denver that a lot of people might not know about are the White Whale Room and 2914.
The White Whale Room is an absolutely stunning little shop that manages to blend the sparseness of an industrial loft with well-designed yet whimsical Moby Dick-inspired furniture and decorations. Not only do they serve good coffee, they also make cocktails. The owners take their craft seriously and I hope more people get a chance to check out this space. Just take the southbound light rail to the Alameda Station. You will see it as soon as you get off the train-look for the patio.
The second standout coffee shop that no one knows about is 2914. It is located just west of downtown on a block that is changing from somewhat non-descript to kind of cool and interesting. The owners have created the perfect blend of old school coffee house charm mixed with the ability to work online without coming across as anti-social. The drinks are exquisitely made and there is a singular focus on maintaining a consistent and high level of quality in each cup of coffee served.
On a quiet block in Lafayette is a lovely shop called the East Simpson Coffee Co. The first thing that you notice is the wonderful collection of art throughout the space. There is also is a really large patio that you can hang out on and they have a nice selection of food items to choose from as well.
It has been a while since I visited Gunnison, but the last time I did, I enjoyed hanging out at The Bean Coffeehouse and Eatery. For a small town, The Bean offers a great selection of coffee and is nice place to rest before driving to Crested Butte.
Besides having great coffee, all of these shops also have the following traits in common: great service and a welcoming atmosphere that finds me returning as often as I can.