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10 Hottest Coffeehouses in Denver

By Ruth Tobias
February 24, 2014
Photo by: Ruth Tobias

Since coffeehouses are nearly as legion in this town as tap rooms, singling out just 10 is not for the faint of heart or the caffeine-free. The list could go on and on - from decades-old institutions such as Stella's and Kaladi to upstarts like Gather and Little Owl - but the places we've included here are the surest bets for bean buffs. 

  • Photo by: Adam Larkey Photography

    Boxcar Coffee Roasters

    Why It's Amazing: With two locations (at Boulder gourmet shop Cured and The Source in RiNo), Boxcar richly deserves the strong buzz (no pun intended) it generates for its roasting expertise and high-altitude brewing methods, showcased in every last espresso blend and single-origin coffee from, say, Rwanda.
    Signature Drink: Right now, the favorite is fruity Colombia Tolima.
    Price: $3.75
    Perfect Pairing: If you're at The Source, you're just steps away from cult favorite Babettes Artisan Breads, where you'll find incredible blueberry danishes, pain aux raisins and the like. 
    Know Before You Go: Owner Vajra Rich plans to move his antique German roaster from Boulder to the Denver location within the next couple of weeks so patrons can see the stunning machine in action.

    3350 Brighton Blvd.; 1825 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-527-1300 

  • Photo by: Christopher Cina

    Rooster & Moon Coffee Pub

    Why It's Amazing: It bills itself as a "public house" for good reason: Rooster & Moon is no mere coffee shop. Displaying the works of local artists, this airy, roomy Golden Triangle favorite also boasts a full bar and a long menu ranging from loaded oatmeal and sandwiches to small plates and daily specials like apple-gorgonzola quiche or cantaloupe panzanella.  
    Signature Drink: The Cinful Joe, a cinnamon-sprinkled vanilla latte
    Price: $4.27
    Perfect Pairing: The PBGB - peanut butter, granola and banana on ciabatta
    Know Before You Go: Be it a painting exhibition or a trivia tournament, there's always something happening here. Add late weeknight hours and you've got yourself a home away from home.

    955 Bannock St. Ste. 100; 303-993-2622

  • Photo by: Christopher Cina

    Pablo's Coffee

    Why It's Amazing: A pioneer in the local roasting movement, this Alamo Placita fixture is the whole package. Well-worn space bedecked with mini-chandeliers, check; messenger bag-toting regulars, check; house blends with quirky names like Danger Monkey and Two-Stroke Smoke, check, accompanied by the requisite pastries. (P.S.: there's a second branch in Capitol Hill.)
    Signature Drink: Iced toddy
    Price: $2.10/$2.70
    Perfect Pairing: Cinnamon coffee cake from City Bakery 
    Know Before You Go: There's no WiFi here, so go old-school and bring a book.

    630 E. Sixth Ave., 303-744-3323; 1300 Pennsylvania St. Ste. 102, 303-832-1688

  • Photo by: Christopher Cina

    Crema Coffee House

    Why It's Amazing: These days, RiNo is hot territory, and Noah Price and Jonathan Power are largely to thank, having opened this artsy hangout for Third Wave aficionados back when the neighborhood was a no man's land. In the quest for the perfect cup, they source from numerous roasters - not just local favorites like Novo and Huckleberry but also the Oregon-based Stumptown and Handsome Coffee out of Los Angeles.  
    Signature Drink: Oatmeal latte
    Price: $5
    Perfect Pairing: Take your pick - the on-site kitchen turns out killer eats, from sweet-potato waffles to a daily-changing quiche.
    Know Before You Go: Price and Power also own the smash hit that is nearby gastropub The Populist.

    2862 Larimer St.; 720-284-9648

  • Photo by: Ruth Tobias

    Corvus Coffee Roasters

    Why It's Amazing: Corvus' brand-new Platt Park production facility and espresso bar keeps the focus squarely on coffee in a sleek, industrial space whose Dutch-made roaster sits in plain view of customers chilling at the community table. Having learned his methods in Norway, owner Phil Goodlaxson keeps his batches small and his menu simple. In other words, this is a connoisseur's sanctuary.
    Signature Drink: The Black, a double ristretto espresso
    Price: $2.80
    Perfect Pairing: There's a selection of pastries, but we'd rather satisfy our sweet tooth with a Helliemae's Caramel Latte.
    Know Before You Go: Goodlaxson also teaches brewing classes; check Corvus' Facebook page for details.

    1740 S. Broadway; 303-715-1740

  • Photo by: Christopher Cina

    Denver Bicycle Cafe

    Why It's Amazing: It's a bike-repair shop, it's a coffeehouse, it's a craft-beer bar - in short, this Uptown haunt offers all the things Denverites cherish most under one roof, complete with a fierce commitment to local vendors. Think pour-overs made with Method or Flying Baron roasts plus an ever-rotating list of brews from Diebolt, TRVE, Funkwerks and the like.
    Signature Drink: French press
    Price: $3 or $6
    Perfect Pairing: One word: beer. Copper Kettle's Mexican Chocolate Stout, perhaps?
    Know Before You Go: DBC hosts all kinds of in-store events, from cheese tastings to dominoes tournaments. 

    1308 E. 17th Ave.; 720-446-8029

  • Photo by: facebook.com/HuckleberryRoasters

    Huckleberry Roasters

    Why It's Amazing: This Sunnyside newcomer has promptly become a neighborhood favorite for its minimalist yet comfy vibe, its "toast bar," and, of course, its consciously sourced beans. Building on its success, a RiNo outpost is slated to open at 2500 Larimer St. this spring.
    Signature Drink: V60 pour-over
    Price: $3
    Perfect Pairing: Fresh Babettes breads topped with spreads from District Butter Co. 
    Know Before You Go: Huckleberry's closed Mondays for roasting operations, so head in on Sunday instead, when the staff spins old soul and gospel tunes from 9 to 11 AM.

    4301 Pecos St.; 720-381-2504

  • Photo by: Ruth Tobias

    Steam Espresso Bar

    Why It's Amazing: Even if you didn't know that this stylish, light-filled spot on Old South Pearl (also pictured at top) was once a photographer's studio, you might guess by a glance at the framed prints on the walls. The remnants of an old airplane gracing the spacious backyard patio may come as a bit more of a surprise, vs. proper cortados, macchiatos and mochas that are par for the course, paired with pastries from Trompeau Bakery.
    Signature Drink: Mocha
    Price: $3.75/$4.25
    Perfect Pairing: A legit French croissant
    Know Before You Go: This place is always jam-packed, so swing by during off-hours if you can. 

    1801 S. Pearl St.; 303-952-9716

  • Photo by: Ruth Tobias

    Trident Bookstore and Cafe

    Why It's Amazing: A 32-year-old institution on the west end of Pearl Street Mall, Trident invites you to browse novels, art-house titles and poetry in one room, then linger over lattes made with Boxcar beans in the other. It's the classic, ultracozy and laid-back coffeehouse experience.
    Signature Drink: Café au lait
    Price: $2.50/$3
    Perfect Pairing: Ask about the locally baked muffins and cookies to find out what's freshest.
    Know Before You Go: Tea drinkers have lots of options here too. 

    940 Pearl St., Boulder; 303-443-3133

  • Photo by: Christopher Cina

    Weathervane Cafe

    Why It's Amazing: Just down the block from Denver Bicycle Cafe, this quiet charmer beckons especially on those dreary days when the only hope of chasing away the blues is by curling up on a loveseat with a steaming cup and a good read. Occupying a renovated old home in City Park West, it makes its own flavored syrups and does wonders with latte art while serving an array of breakfast and lunch items, from hummus plates to Glazed & Confuzed donuts. Afternoons simply fly by here.
    Signature Drink: Espresso-spiked birch beer
    Price: $4.50
    Perfect Pairing: Ham sandwich on ciabatta with cranberry-cinnamon goat cheese and lemon-thyme aïoli
    Know Before You Go: There's a lovely clothing boutique, Vaux Vintage, on the second floor.   

    1725 E. 17th St.; 303-355-5863

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Places Mentioned

Rooster and Moon Coffee Pub

Bar • Golden Triangle

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The Denver Bicycle Cafe

Bar • City Park West

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