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There’s no time for sleep when you’re chasing the dream… which is why Denver doesn’t mess around with a good cup of coffee. With creative, idea-driven entrepreneurs flocking to Denver, you bet the city had to step up its caffeine game to fuel those long all-nighters.
But as chain shops catch onto the growth and opportunity in Denver, most coffee-drinkers here still prefer local shops. And to be honest, so do we.
Brewing coffee from Boxcar and Aurora’s Jubilee Roasters, RiNo’s Stowaway is a cozy space to grab and go, or stay all day. They respect the importance of a thoughtfully-sourced coffee bean just as much as they do high-quality homemade simple eats. We’re serious — you’ve probably not had food this good at a coffee shop.
Any local spot that has quality coffee, homemade breakfast pastries, and a friendly staff is a solid 10 in our book. Never mind that Crema is a dream coffee shop for a hipster, this RiNo den takes you out of the craziness of the city and into a peaceful oasis for you to enjoy your java. Head to the OG coffee house for the full cafe experience, or pick up a cup at their bodega at Denver Central Market. All drinks are out of this world whether your caffeine of choice is coffee or tea, hot or iced, brewed or pressed. Not to mention, Crema has perfected the art of a latte. We’re sold.
We could easily miss our train while getting lost in the espresso at Pigtrain in the newly modernized Union Station. For starters, with 300 days of sunshine in Denver, Pigtrain’s patio is perfect for year-round use whether you’re working, meeting an old friend, or just people-watching. You can even pair your cup o’ joe with a childhood throwback: Pop-Tarts (except these are really homemade!). All aboard!
“We love coffee” is their motto and it’s no coincidence you’ll quickly fall in love with theirs. From seed to cup to conversation, Allegro caffeinates the entire experience of enjoying a cup coffee or specialty drink. Buzzin’ in Berkeley, this place has the perfect ambiance for a mid-day date, business meeting, or a study session. Plus, with locally-sourced baked goods and bites, you can stay all day!
Coffee on tap. You heard us. Aside from their organically-grown java that’s roasted in-house, Kaladi is known for their Venetian Creme coffee on tap (unfortunately, not available in IV form). They’ve posted up in two spots: either a short walk down the street from Denver University’s campus or right on Broadway in Englewood.
Brewing Kaladi coffee at four locations around Denver, Nixon’s cafes have everything you want in a coffee shop (a great brew, a cool space, and friendly service) plus a whole lot more — like kombucha on tap (and really good food). Open into the evening, Nixon’s isn’t just for the morning crew.
Amethyst Coffee brews Commonwealth coffee daily, but also brings in a guest roaster. Sometimes local, sometimes not, Amethyst aims to add variety with a rotating selection of beans that are packing some serious flavor. You’ll want to hang around their cool clean spaces (in Cap Hill and Lakeside) as long as you can.
If you love to shop in Cherry Creek like we do, you’ll need some of the best caffeine to get you through your shopping binge. Head to Aviano in Cherry Creek, another locally owned and operated coffee joint that knows how to handle their beans. Aviano nails a classic drink but spices up their fancier caffeine options for an amazing, unique cup of java.
Purple Door Coffee is a specialty espresso bar and coffee company in Curtis Park that employs teens and young adults who have been homeless and want to leave homelessness behind. The folks behind Purple Door Coffee believe in redemption and the brilliant transformation that can come with the support of an impassioned community. How cool is that? You don’t even really have to like coffee to be on board with them, now do you?
If you believe that coffee is the most important meal of the day, you’ll fit right in at Blue Sparrow. This spot at Backyard on Blake brews beyond espresso and cortados with a damn good nitro cold brew. They also mix it up with specialties like a matcha latte and cold brew iced tea. Love ‘em? You’re in luck — they’re opening a second shop on Platte in spring 2019.
When the original LoHi coffee shop first opened, the owners didn’t realize the overcaffeinated frenzy Black Eye Coffee would create. The shop boasts a cozy, artsy ambiance, and great reputation. And if you’re feeling boozy or snacky, you’re in luck, Black Eye also serves a collection of beer and wine, plus tasty sweet and savories (including gluten-free options)!
We’re hooked on the house-roasted coffee and local vendors of RiNo’s Port Side. This causal coffee shop offers a welcoming atmosphere and the trendiest coffee and food. Along with their amazing coffee, we love to indulge in their healthy smoothie, avocado toast, or overnight oats (ideal for all-nighters). Do we need to say anymore? Go.
Huckleberry has been roasting and brewing in Denver since 2011 and quickly grew a following. Their original shop in Sunnyside is home to their responsibly-sourced coffee and an open, welcoming space. They’ve since expanded to the new Dairy Block and also created Port Side, a restaurant in RiNo serving breakfast, lunch, drinks, and, of course, Huckleberry coffee.
Born in Bend, Oregon, Thump has expanded to only one other city — Denver. Lucky for us, we can head to the Cap Hill shop to for really good coffee, house-made pastries, local kombucha, beer, and a welcoming space. Yep, they’re even open till 7pm.
Pack up your to-do list to hit Drip Denver for a cup of coffee to fuel your productivity. Set up on Lincoln, Drip is a perfect pit stop on your way to work. Or spend all day here, as they offer free Wi-Fi, an in-house printer, great food, and even better coffee. Fitt Tip: you don’t have to know what a cortado is — just order it.
The beans, bites, and brews of Common Grounds give us all the feels. And they do it so well, you can catch them in two different locations around Denver. We’re partial to the OG shop in Highlands (who said we couldn’t deem faves?) — it’s always perfect for a little mid-day motivation. Along with its boutique blends, Common Grounds offers up a snug environment… and board games for when you need more play than work.
There’s nothing like a friendly staff that serves top-of-the-line coffee, right? Then head Uptown to Fluid Coffee Bar for all that goodness. Bring your own mug for a constant flow of drip coffee or kick back for an artisan coffee drink — Fluid does it all. And it’s all done so, so well. Your new productivity HQ, the space itself offers a stylish trendy vibe, work stations, and comfy chairs to enjoy a great cup of brew.
How’s this for unique? Pinwheel’s Sunnyside shop is run by a group of Montessori middle and high schoolers. It’s part of an apprenticeship program — students learn math and accounting, marketing and creative writing, and of course, how to pour a perfect cup of joe. As if they couldn’t get any cooler, pastries, eggs, and farm produce are sourced from the schools’ culinary and farming programs.
Buried on Boulder St. in the Highlands, you’ll find some of the best coffee at your neighborhood coffee house, Maci Cafe. Tucked between two of the most popular dinner spots (Lola and Mizu Izakaya), Maci is answer to any start of your morning. Bring your to-do list to this cozy, brick-walled cafe, or sit out on the patio to treat yourself with high-quality espresso drinks, gourmet sandwiches, salads, and pastries. And along with your coffee, you should definitely indulge in their panini (rumored to be the “best in America”).
The only 100% female-owned roaster in Denver (yesss, girl power!), Copper Door roasts and brews at their shops at The Yard and in Lowry. The baristas at Copper Door aren’t phoning it in, either — they really know their stuff.
Prodigy is backed by (and serves Allegro Coffee) and exists to mentor young adults from the surrounding neighborhoods in business and barista work. The non-profit shop provides technical and applied skills training and on-the-job professional development modules taught by educators, business mentors, and specialty coffee craftsmen. Apprentices build skills, social capital, and understanding for success in the new economy, with an impact goal of social mobility. Translation: feel good about caffeinating yourself here.
Corvus’s flagship roastery and espresso bar has a home just south of downtown on South Broadway. They also have a shop near DTC at Belleview Station. All of their beans are sustainable, single-origin, and sourced directly from the growers. Corvus also hosts classes at their S. Broadway location, covering everything from home brewing basics to tracing the path from seed-to-cup.
Logan House has set up alongside other local favorites at Stanley Marketplace. They quickly became a favorite and they’ll soon be opening up a second shop in RiNo. What’s unique about Logan House? They deliver! Logan House brings freshly-roasted coffee beans right to your doorstep in recycled wine bottles. And yes, the coffee is delicious.
Little Owl’s LoDo shop offers a farm-to-cup experience with single-origin and single-estate coffees, manual brew methods and craft espresso. Beyond the beans, they also have specialty teas and semi-sweet and savory pastries.
**Updated by Hillary Bennetts, September 2018