Editor's Note: Long-time podcast guest (long enough to just be part of the team and considered a co-host) Mike Tria took a trip to Colorado's for fun, and a coffee pilgrimage that would leave most folks jittery & haggard. Not Mike though, who returned with tasty beans and a number of stories & tips for those who are Colorado bound, in search of great coffee.
Despite not being known as a hot spot for coffee, The Denver/Boulder metro area has some great spots. I took a trip out there for 3 reasons:
To DJ a friend's wedding in Lyons, To pick up A Melanzana hoodie, To turn my time there into one big coffee excursion.
1. Sweet Bloom Coffee Roasters Arvada, CO
I picked up my rental car early in the morning on day 2 of my trip and drove it over to the new Sweet Bloom location. Just weeks prior, Sweet Bloom and Two Rivers coffee completed their merger, which resulted in this new location. It's fairly unassuming from the outside and not necessarily trendy, which I was a fan of. I had very high expectations for the coffee and the Cortado and pour-over I got did not let me down at all and kept the bar high for the rest of the shops I was visiting.
2. Boxcar Coffee Roasters Boulder, CO
I picked up my old college roommate, Joel, and we headed straight to this awesome shop in downtown Boulder. (Fun Fact: Joel is the person I owe most of my coffee love and knowledge to as he is the one who got me into the delicious beverage. So shout out to Joel!)
Colorado, and especially Boulder, try to feel like an old town from the Cowboy / Mining days it is known for. And Boxcar is no exception. It definitely has some strong western vibes, which is definitely unique. They also have incredible coffee. Obviously, we got a couple cortados, but we also split a boilermaker brew of their El Salvador. Essentially, it is an immersion style coffee that is made while boiling, then filtered through a sieve. Both drinks were top-tier delicious. I left with a bag of the El Salvador beans, which I wound of loving.
Bonus: Boxcar shares a space with another shop called Cured. Before heading out to the wedding rehearsal we decided to get lunch here. And I can 100% recommend their food. I got the Burrata + Greens plate and my mind was blown.
3. Middle State Coffee Denver, CO
The day after the wedding and after a quick brunch with the families, I headed on down to Denver for the afternoon. This first stop was a recommendation from Joel and it wound up being my favorite stop of the week! It is just south of Denver in a really cool area. And the interior design was awesome and spacious. Again, I bought a cortado and a pour-over and both of them were killer, my favorite drink I got on my whole trip. I also got a bad of their Peru beans which I have been enjoying thoroughly.
Also, shout out to the barista, Liz, she was super hospitable and a talented. She made my experience there incredible. And also she recommended a few different spots in Denver for me to check out, which unfortunately I only had the time to make it to one of them.
4. Crema Coffee House Denver, CO
This was one of the places that Liz recommended. They are a multi roaster cafe serving up 4 different roasters, some of which are local. I got a pour over there as well as a super delicious sandwich.
5. Huckleberry Roasters Denver, CO
Huck is flat-out awesome. They've moved into a new shop since the last time I visited the area which, from the outside, felt very old-towny like the area tries to represent. I got a cortado and picked up a container Colombia gesha beans which have been fantastic.
6. Harbinger Coffee Fort Collins, CO
My last full day in Colorado included a lot of driving, as I made the trek from Westminster to Fort Collins and Estes Park. My first stop of the day was at Harbinger's south location. It is the right combo of natural light, trendiness, and office-like and I was a huge fan of its design. Naturally, I order my pour-over and cortado there and again, was very well pleased with them. The barista recommended 2 things I need to do in the area. That was to go to Choice City Meats and Dark Heart Coffee.
Bonus: While there is no coffee here, Choice City Meats might have been my favorite place I made it to all week. I had a buffalo reuben sandwich and a couple of insanely delicious beers that are hard to get. This restaurant is a must stop if you are ever in Fort Collins.
7. Dark Heart Coffee Bar Loveland, CO
While this wasn't my last coffee of my trip (I did get Sweet Bloom again before my flight) this was the last new shop I was able to visit. This was a rad little coffee shop in a little town just south of Fort Collins called Loveland. While the rest of the town is styled again like its from the late 1800's, Dark Heart did not get that memo. As the name suggests, it's got some serious gothic vibes. And I am here for it. It has a little bit of natural light, and a patio, but everything inside is dark wood and/or black. They are slinging Coava coffee so you know they've got good stuff here. My cortado was on point.