Food & Drink

We Handpicked the Best Craft Coffee Shops in Denver

Molly Martin Published On 09/03/2015 Published On 09/03/2015

After a night out drinking in Denver’s most important bars, the one thing you need most is... another night out drinking in Denver’s most important bars. Oh, and a cup of coffee. But you shouldn’t get it from just anywhere, not when the Mile High has so many sweet craft-coffee slingers. Here are the best...

Corvus Coffee Roasters

Platt Park

Get a peek at the roasting process while you grab your coffee at this espresso bar/roastery that’s got an open layout, community seating, and an industrial vibe. This place may seem intimidating at first with all its talk of rare coffees, single-origin beans, and small-batch roasting, but the friendly baristas and tasty options like the bottled, hopped cold brew will have you feeling like a caffeinated expert in no time.

Courtesy of Steam Espresso Bar

Steam Espresso Bar

Platt Park

Don’t come here looking for a vanilla latte. This small, sleek shop was opened by twin brothers Hani and Zahi Yaafouri in 2013 and is all about serving beverages that show off coffee’s true flavor. You won’t find any flavored syrups or paper filters being used, but there is a selection of additive-free options made only from coffee that’s ethically sourced and made by micro-roasters.

Novo

Novo Coffee

Five Points (roastery), Central Business District, Country Club, and West Highland

Wanna try cupping? You will at Novo, where you can attend an educational “cupping” (aka tasting) and roastery tour where you’ll try coffee from around the world. Or, head to one of Novo’s three cafe locations to sample both the straightforward selections like espresso and cappuccino, as well as more unique options like the orange zest mocha.

Courtesy of Rachel Robichaux

Boxcar Coffee Roasters

RiNo (inside the Source) and Pearl Street in Boulder

Founded in Boulder in 2011, Boxcar came to Denver in 2013 when it opened up shop inside the Source where it roasts beans in small batches and serves coffee that’s brewed using a unique method. The “boilermaker” was designed for high-altitude brewing and extracts flavor by boiling grounds directly in water, a throwback to the “cowboy coffee” of the West’s past.

Crema Coffee House

Five Points

This popular spot is guaranteed to pour you a memorable espresso, as they feature a diverse selection of roasters, both local and out of state. You'll also find some seriously satisfying eats -- from pastries and breakfast burritos to beet salad and a pork belly banh mi.

Amethyst Coffee Co.

Amethyst Coffee Co.

Civic Center

Elle Taylor worked as a barista while attending college, but unlike many employees behind the coffee counter, her job became a passion which led to the opening of Amethyst earlier this year. Instead of roasting in-house, this shop serves brews from local roaster Commonwealth Coffee as well as a rotating selection of guest roasters.

Courtesy of Jules Davies/Huckleberry Roasters

Huckleberry Roasters

Sunnyside

This is where green coffee beans become the dark, delicious beginnings of your morning. With a stop by one of the two Denver locations, you can taste the results of this local roaster’s efforts via a variety of brewing methods. Roasts themselves also rotate regularly so you can explore the full spectrum of rich flavors.

Courtesy of Jimena Peck/Stowaway Coffee + Bakery

Stowaway Coffee + Kitchen

Five Points

Their coffee is from Boxcar Coffee Roasters, but the real draw here remains the fact that you can get a solid cup and one of Denver's best brunches (their avocado toast is incredible). Pick from small and larger plates like house-made apricot and prune toast served with whipped salted butter or the "(Welcome to) Colorful Colorado," a salt + vinegar hash, Niman Ranch ham, pickled radishes, avocado, and spicy adobo sauce with poached eggs.

Kaladi Coffee Roasters

Kaladi Coffee Roasters

University

This shop, which has been roasting beans in Denver since long before the recent craft-coffee craze took over, has an extensive menu of caffeinated options as well as tasty, locally made pastries. But what really sets this neighborhood favorite apart is its roasting method -- using air roasting, they create a smooth, never-bitter flavor, which is ideal for espresso and allows the nuances of each different variety of bean to come through beautifully.

Carbon Beverage Cafe

Highland

Head here for a fresh take on the coffee shop with drinks that are priced by the size, not the contents, meaning that you can go crazy customizing your cup without racking up tons of up-charges. And did we mention that you can find some of the best donuts in Denver at Habit Doughnut Dispensary right next door?

Courtesy of Copper Door

Copper Door Coffee

Montclair

Strip malls aren’t usually the first place you look for a solid craft-coffee shop, but that’s exactly what Copper Door is. After current owner Hannah Ulbrich learned to roast from Copper Door’s former owner, and then bought the business, it became the first female-only-owned roasting company in the city. Now, you can buy coffee that’s roasted to order in small batches -- or simply stop into the shop for a fresh cup.

Thump Coffee

Capitol Hill

This Oregon-based roaster’s Denver location is a place where you can stop in for a quick cup or a long work session. In addition to quality coffee, they also have wide selection of unique teas along with local beer and kombucha on tap. And if you catch the muffins while they're warm out of the oven, be sure to snag one (or two... or 10).  

Flickr/Boemski

Fluid Coffee Bar

North Capitol Hill

If you’re looking for a coffee shop where you can get some work done, this is the one for you. There are large meeting rooms available as well as plenty of space for someone with a laptop and a long to-do list. Plus all the coffee comes from local roasters and there's ready-to-go food on hand like burritos and bagels to pair with that latte.

Whittier Cafe

Whittier Cafe

Whittier

Located in (and named after) one of Denver’s lesser-known neighborhoods, this cafe is all about bringing together the community that surrounds it. A diverse crowd, local art, and a completely unpretentious ambiance make this a place that’s perfect for relaxing any day. But for a truly unique experience, stop by on a Sunday afternoon to experience Ethiopian culture at this spot’s weekly Ethiopian coffee ceremony.

Courtesy of The Molecule Effect

The Molecule Effect

Lincoln Park

Sporting an art installation that adds to its funky vibe, TME is another one that offers more than coffee. Along with mochas, lattes, espresso, and the usual suspects made using beans from Kaladi Coffee Roasters, Molecule Effect offers other beverage options from local companies like Infinite Monkey Theorem and Strange Craft Beer Company, plus bites like breakfast sandwiches, paninis, and baked goods.

Little Owl Coffee

LoDo

This small shop is easy to pass over, but if you do, you'll be missing out on one of the best coffee shops in America. With house-made almond milk, tasty pastries (try the almond croissant) and carefully crafted beverages, Little Owl is a haven for coffee aficionados looking for as-close-as-you-can-get to an authentic Italian coffee shop experience in the Mile High.

Black Eye Coffee Shop

Black Eye Coffee

Highlands

Coffee craftsmanship is the focus inside this trendy space that looks like it was made for Instagramming. On nice days, the garage-door front of Black Eye is opened, giving the shop a spacious and welcoming feeling, and the coffee is sourced from single-origin suppliers from all around the country.

Lula Rose General Store

Lula Rose General Store

Congress Park

It may be tiny, but if you like friendly service and a neighborhood vibe, this is the spot for you. Come for the lattes, and stay for the little touches like fresh flowers for sale in the summer and the old-school vibe that was inspired by owner Oliver Miller-Finkel's family history (his great aunt's name is Lula Rose) and the history of the building itself (it used to be a flower shop).

Sweet Bloom Coffee Roasters

Lakewood

While most roasters visit coffee producers to build a relationship, Sweet Bloom does things differently. They bring the producers to their roasting facility and into the shops where their coffee is served so that the whole cycle -- producer to roaster to customer -- is the focus. Though you can find Sweet Bloom coffee at other shops around town, it’s worth the trek to Lakewood to try a cup from their roasting facility.

Allegro Coffee Company

Allegro Coffee

Tennyson

Allegro is a roastery with four shops located in Brooklyn, NY; Berkeley, CA; Boulder, CO; and their flagship roastery and café in in Denver, on Tennyson. Try their house espresso blend, the Mister Twister, named after the wooden coaster at Elitch Gardens, along with small bites and pastries.

Coda Coffee

Edgewater

A longtime wholesaler, Coda opened a retail location in late 2015 and has been helping to keep Edgewater caffeinated ever since. Stop by for single source coffee and enjoy it on their patio that overlooks Sloan's Lake.

Courtesy of Lindsay & Alex Dalton/Weathervane Cafe

Weathervane Cafe

City Park West

This spot is decked out in vintage decor and you'll find housemade syrups from hazelnut to lavender to flavor your caffeine fix. But beyond the coffee, they'll also serve a full menu of breakfast and lunch options including burritos, oatmeal, and sandwiches like their peach melt made with housemade peach chutney, onion, sage, brie, and green olives.

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Molly Martin is a freelance writer in Denver, Colorado who loves iced lattes. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram to see where she finds her next caffeine fix.

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1. Corvus Coffee 1740 S Broadway, Denver, CO 80210 (South Broadway)

You shouldn't have any trouble deciding what you want at this South Broadway spot. the menu's a short and sweet list of its globally sourced offerings, mostly in the form of pour overs and cold brews (which are so good they have another location specifically dedicated to them). Roasts are labeled with how long ago they were received so you can't go wrong by simply picking the newest one. If one's not enough, you can give them all a spin at any one of their frequent cupping classes or tasting sessions.

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2. Steam Espresso Bar 1801 S Pearl St, Denver, 80210 (Platt Park)

Platt Parks go-to place for a pour-over, Steam Espresso Bar provides Denver with some of the highest-quality roasts in the city, all sourced from ethical micro-roasters. Lost of customers here opt for to-go cups, but sitting in is a must due to this space's plentiful seating, outlets for chargers and polished-industrial vibe (open brick walls, metallic accents and furnishings). Although this place is known for its signature roasts, the chai, just a little spicier than most, is the drink you've gotta go for first (paired with a macaron, of course).

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3. Novo Coffee 1600 Glenarm Pl, Denver, 80202 (Capitol Hill)

In a stylish reclaimed space in North Capitol Hill, Novo Coffee roasts its beans weekly on vintage Vittoria machines (one of which is, no lie, powered by a Ferrari motor). The baristas here know their stuff when it comes to coffee so the best way to order is to ask them what's up. They'll probably recommend one of the daily rotating roasts because they're fresh, but if you're feeling experimental, go for a specialty drink like an orange zest mocha.

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4. Boxcar Coffee Roasters 3350 Brighton Blvd #110, Denver, 80216

Something of a cult favorite, Boxcar Coffee extended it's presence from Boulder to Denver in 2013 to the glee of all those within reach. The interior, a combination of rustic and refined, is complete with plenty of bar seating and a deli bar (they share a space with next-door neighbors Cured) with fresh an local meat and cheeses, making this a perfect spot to park yourself during lunch hour. Added bonus, coffee here is brewed using a "boilermaker" technique (similar to a French press) so the brews are strong and flavors are bold.

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5. Crema 2862 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205 (Five Points)

Appropriately named for the foam at the top of your espresso, this quaint Five Points java house sources its beans from a rotation of local roasters like Novo and national superstars like Intelligensia. The menu's chock full of great options for both breakfast (quiches, waffles, breakfast burritos) and lunch (pork belly bahn mi, meatballs, beet salad), making it the perfect joint to relax and fill up with your espresso. You might have to make it quick, though — power outlets for laptops are scarce and crowds fluctuate.

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6. Amethyst Coffee Co. 1111 broadway st, suite 101, Denver, 80203

This chic and modern space in Capitol Hill sources its coffee from local roaster Commonwealth Coffee but also features guest roasters on rotation, meaning this spot never falls to the predictability of big chain shops. A chic little space in Capitol Hill, Amethyst's image is minimal and artsy with its bright white walls, gold accents, geometric art and abundant succulents. The beautiful, wide-open space and lounge area make this spot perfect for sitting in, eating a croissant and drinking roast after roast (just come later in the afternoon if you want to avoid a crowd).

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7. Huckleberry Roasters 4301 Pecos St, Denver, 80211

A vibrant and open cafe in Sunnsyside, Huckleberry Roasters sources seasonal beans for coffee drinks and espressos with sweet and complex flavors. This little hidden gem lies on a corner of a residential neighborhood and has plenty of seating (and power outlets for your laptop). What you want to order here is a double espresso, or a pour over of whatever rotating roast is the freshest — take it black, or you'll miss the distinct and approachable flavors for which Huckleberry is known.

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8. Stowaway Coffee + Kitchen 2528 Walnut St, Denver, CO 80205 (Five Points)

Consider this comfortable cafe and kitchen in Curtis Park your new favorite coffee shop and weekend breakfast spot. You can hang out with a coffee and a book, people watch, and snack on an avocado toast or go all-out with Dukkah eggs and trout. You'll probably have to wait with a crowd for a table, especially in the morning, but its worth it even just for a cup of Boxcar Roasters coffee or a glass of root-beer flavored (yeah) milk.

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9. Carbon Beverage Cafe 1553 Platte St, Denver, CO 80202 (Highland)

This hip spot in the hip Central Platte Valley area is the beverage & munchie half of the sibling pair of Habit/Carbon -- the other half (Habit Doughnut Dispensary) will fill all your late night, lack of doughnut related woes. Wander into Carbon to find taps on taps on taps -- of coffee, kombucha, wine, beer, and batch cocktails. All can be customized with additional syrups, salts, and herbs, and go great with munchie-satisfying snacks like pizza in a cup.

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10. Kaladi Brothers Coffee 1730 East Evans Ave, Denver, CO 80210 (University)

The Kaladi Brothers have been the roasting game long before the craft coffee craze hit Denver. Using an air roasting method to create strong and never-bitter brews, go for the super-charged latte if you need an extra boost any time of the day. Come back on Saturday morning, when the shop features Glazed and Confuzed's awesomely experimental doughnuts.

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11. Copper Door Coffee 932 Jersey St, Denver, 80220

Don't let this environmentally-conscious roaster's strip mall location fool you. The coffee's roasted super strong, using traditional brewing practices owner Hannah Ulbrich learned from Copper Door’s former owner. Breakfast burritos, savory broiche buns, quiche and other flavorful cafe fare are available when dining in. Beans are also available for purchase for home brewing.

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12. Thump Coffee 1201 E 13th Ave, Denver, CO 80218 (Capitol Hill)

House-blended brews are what's on offer at this Capitol Hill roastery and cafe. The brick-walled set-up boasts the Oregon born cafe's signature micro-roasts sourced from all around the world (Ethiopia, Central America, and the Pacific Northwest are well represented), all of which are available to try in a pour-over in store, or to bring home and brew. In addition to quality coffee, they also have wide selection of unique teas along with local beer and kombucha on tap.

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13. Fluid Coffee Bar 501 E 19th Ave, Denver, 80203

Get your productivity grind on at this neighborhood coffee shop that goes hard on their brews and beans. Not only does Fluid offer your standard lattes, espresso and Americanos in addition to light fare cafe (burritos and bagels), but the cafe has large meeting rooms available as well as plenty of space for someone with a laptop and a long to-do list. Consider holding your next meeting here.

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14. Whittier Cafe 1710 E 25th Ave, Denver, 80205

Located in (and named after) one of Denver’s lesser-known neighborhoods, this cafe is all about bringing together the community that surrounds it. Brewing up Ethiopian coffee at it's finest, the shop is a unpretentious spot that's popular with locals and visitors alike. Enjoy a fresh cup on the patio and peep the weekly Ethiopian coffee ritual that happens on Sundays.

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15. The Molecule Effect 1201 Santa Fe Dr, Denver, 80204

This is probably one of the best coffee shops in Denver. With a funky, science experiment meets art installation kind of vibe, TME is another local brewhouse that offers more than coffee. Along with mochas, lattes, espresso, and the usual suspects made using beans from Kaladi Coffee Roasters, Molecule Effect offers other beverage options from local companies like Infinite Monkey Theorem and Strange Craft Beer Company, plus bites like breakfast sandwiches, paninis, and baked goods.

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16. Little Owl Coffee 1555 Blake St #150, Denver, CO 80202 (Five Points)

This authentic Italian coffee shop's pouring espresso, cappuccinos, lattes, and macchiatos that you can side with fresh Italian pastries and bagels.

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17. Black Eye Coffee 3408 Navajo St, Denver, CO 80211 (Highland)

This totally Instagrammable Highlands area brewhouse is slaying the Denver area coffee game with its seriously strong roasts (they don't call it Black Eye for nothing), hip ambiance, and refreshing cafe menu. Dine in and take your pick from lunch menu items like avocado toast and fancy grilled cheese, all of which look good next to a piping hot cup of Black Eye's pour-over blend. A hip hop soundtrack and funky, reclaimed vintage aesthetic make Black Eye a cool and relaxing hang.

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18. Lula Rose General Store 3434 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80206 (Congress Park)

A boutique coffee purveyor and artisanal goods shop on E Colfax, Lula Rose General Store sells speciality wares (including fresh flowers for sale) and slings superior brews. The cute as a button shop makes their own cashew walnut milk, in addition to other dairy free comestibles, and pours out every coffee iteration you can think of, from aeropress brews, to pourovers, lattes, and cortados. The shop's cozy vibe makes it a great place to camp out with a good read.

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19. Sweet Bloom Coffee Roasters 1619 Reed St, Lakewood, CO 80214

This friendly Lakewood beanery does things a little differently. While most roasters visit coffee producers to build a relationship, Sweet Bloom brings the producers to their roasting facility and into the shops where their coffee is served. This producer to roaster to customer cycle is their M.O, and it shows in the variety of beans and brews available for your drinking pleasure: from Colombia, to Kenya, to Panama, Sweet Bloom delivers with its well-curated selection of brews from international beaneries. Order a subscription on their website to try 'em all.

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20. Allegro Coffee 12799 Claude Ct, Thornton, CO 80241

At Allegro Coffee in Denver's far-north Thornton, every handmade drink may as well be its own work of art. Beans are sourced from a direct sustainable supplier and ground for the specific brewing method your order requires, which makes for the perfect latte, cold brew or simple pour over. You can't go wrong ordering them with a homemade muffin or pastry; they change daily but are always experimental in flavor, like earl grey and apricot.

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21. Coda Coffee 5224 W 25th Ave, Edgewater, CO 80214

All about sustainability, this Edgewater coffee house maintains direct relationships with its farmers to guarantee you'll know exactly where your cup of joe came from. Coda sources beans from across the globe to bring you bold flavor and fresh brews from the lightest to darkest of roasts for coffee-drinkers of all kinds. The shop is never too hectic, making it the perfect lunch stop for a burrito and a nitrogen cold brew, vanilla chai or kombucha from tap.

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22. Weathervane Cafe 1725 E 17th Ave , Denver, CO 80218 (Uptown)

Weathervane Cafe is a cozy cafe with a 1950s vine stowed away in a turquoise house in Uptown Denver. The menu here has the look of a classic American diner and the fare of your favorite brunch spot. Between simple options like a french-pressed roast or latte with homemade syrup, the coffee choice is simple. Food, on the other hand, will have you arguing with yourself over whether you should opt for a coconut chia pudding or a peach melt sandwich.

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