Denver Coffee Best of 2014

Best Coffee Shop of 2014 for Professionals: Crema 

There is no doubt you will not be the smartest person in this room at Crema. CEOs and successful professionals gravitate to Crema. Hip, trendy and Professional Hipster vibe. (Professional Hipster Vibe is a thing, right?) 

Best Ambiance of 2014: Thump

Thump has excellent energy for any occasion. Perfect for getting work done, reading, grabbing coffee with a friend or simply just to kick it. The music, lighting, and professional baraistas are on point for ambiance. Take a glance at the phrases above the bar. Sets the tone for the entire coffee experience. Abiance done WELL!

Best Place to get Work Done in 2014: Thump

It could be something in the espresso, but I find myself to be the most productive at Thump. The mindless music playing over the speakers, long work tables filled with cap hill locals working on their creative projects, and outlets all over make it beyond desirable for working a. Note* The baristas let me use their internet after they closed and while they were closing up for the day on multiple occasions.

Best Place to go on a First Date in 2014: Highlands Cork and Coffee

Ah, at last! Coffee and wine lovers can come together and have a double shot of espresso with a glass of house Merlot. The outdoor seating is topped with rope lights in a garden esq courtyard and inside has a fireplace to sit next to on cold date nights. The old highlands house is really charming. There are plenty of food options too incase you’re looking for a good coffee breakfast/lunch/dinner/late night date. 

Best Almond Milk Vanilla Latte 2014: Huckleberry

Need I say more? They small batch produce their own coffee beans that are spread throughout the Denver Coffee scene. The baristas not only look good making the almond milk vanilla lattes, but they taste damn good too.

Best High-End Coffee Shop of 2014: Little Owl 

Coffee snobs rejoice. Simplicity is their thing and upscale is served. This small spaced, tucked away fancy coffee shop will satisfy your upscale coffee needs. Don’t even think about getting a pumpkin spice latte here. Little Owl means real coffee business. The most common beverages served are simple espresso shots or Americanos.  Tucked away in the central business district and little room for seating certainly caters to the busy, on the go, fancy clientele.

Best Coffee Shop Noms of 2014: Weathervane (Sugar Bakery and Coffee house CLOSE second — worth mentioning)

For about two weeks I had breakfast every single morning at Weathervane. Their yogurt, granola, cranberries at the bottom, parfaits are almost too good to be true. Denver is really into meals in a jar and when I say ‘Denver’ I mean, I am REALLY into meals in a jar. Weathervane is ahead of the curve and has oatmeal in a jar, just add water or almond milk. The presentation is great and the options are for everyone. 

Sugar Bake Shop’s pastries are used at the best coffee shops in Denver. Their vegan poptarts that I have heard so much about (only good things of course) are their most famous creations. All items are made super fresh and there are even day old baked goods for real cheap. Can’t beat it! The only reason why Sugar Bakery didn’t sweep this years noms category is I can only handle so much sugar. *No pun intended. 

Best Place to have an Interview in 2014: Novo 

Whether you are interviewing someone, being the interviewed, or having a one-on-one meeting, Novo is perfect for it. It’s quiet but not too quiet to the point of disturbing those around you and has a lot of natural light. In fact, the first I went to Novo some VIP was being interviewed with professional lighting set up and a camera and all. Professional vibe and a great well-known Denver Coffee Shop brand. 

The Best Place to Meet an Old Friend: Roostercat

Not only is their coffee bomb, AND introduced me to coconut milk vanilla lattes this year, Roostercat is the best place to meet and catch up with an old friend. The scene is perfect, sandwiched between 10th and 11th st on lincoln the edge of downtown. The outdoor area is perfect on a summer day and chilly evening with their fire pits. It is a very relaxed environment perfect for getting lost in conversation for hours and not feeling as though you are overstaying your welcome. Great place, fabulous coconut milk lattes and the owner is fantastic! Check out their calendar on their different events ie. film networking nights, live music, comedy shows and yoga in the summers.  

TOP FIVE Best coffee shops of 2014: 

5. Weathervane 

4. Novo

3. Little Owl

2. Thump

1. Huckleberry 

 

Huckleberry just opened this year and it has been on the top of my recomendation list since! Not only is their coffee fantastic and used in countless Denver coffee shops, the Huckleberry team is just badass. They are involved in the Denver communtiy. Don’t be surprised if you run into the hucleberry roastin’ team at art shows, markets, local events, and cupping events (Don’t worry I don’t know what cupping means either). Every thing about Huckleberry is fantastic and without a doubt the best coffee shop of 2014. Way to go, Huckleberry!

 

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Sugar Bakeshop and Coffee House

Denver’s high-end coffee shop pastries provider, Sugar Bakeshop and Coffee House is located in one of the most convenient spots in Denver. Chances are you have driven right infront on South Broadway and had no idea. This coffee shop puts their pastries and pies first and coffee second. However, the fact that there is both almond milk AND coconut milk, saying their coffee comes second is a total stretch.

In 2006, Sugar Bakeshop and Coffee House all began with a cute little ambitious 20-something at the Cherry Creek Farmers Market following her passions of owning a bakery. In 2011, Sugar Bakeshop and Coffee House opened and has been crushing the coffee pastry scene since! Denver local success story at it’s finest.

Every single morning the ovens are fired up and fresh pastries are made. Let that sink in for a second, fresh. baked goods. every. single. morning. Each day of the week there are designated muffins, breads and pop tarts associated with the day. Being able to walk in knowing exactly what was made fresh that morning is not as common as you would think. Pies and custom orders are upon request. At a discount, day old pastries are sold.

Note to self: Go in Saturday for the Nutella crumble muffin… or Monday for the Strawberry Banana Muffin… or…*

Their noms are so good that I can say with confidence that this is THE best place to get a muffin and coffee combination in Denver. I mean, top coffee shops get their muffins, famous vegan poptarts and breads every morning. Half the time, their noms are sold out at the coffee shops. Rest assured Denverites, almost all of their goods are Paleo, too.

The bright open room is perfect for over-caffeinated productivity. Walking in, you’ll quickly notice how cute the coffee house is. The kitchen prep area is exposed behind the counter and there is almost always someone baking in the background. I’ve witnessed their poptarts made fresh first handed. The whole coffee shop/bakery experience is unique to the coffee culture world. The bakery vibe goes very well with a coffee shop. The entire bakery/coffeehouse looks like it’s straight out of Pinterest…. In a good way though! The menu is on a chalkboard background with ‘on point’ calligraphy and funky ceiling lighting that… just works.  It’s a peaceful atmosphere but hosting a meeting there would not be disruptive in anyway. It’s a low-key place where you can post up in and not feel like you are over staying your welcome. Seating is somewhat limited but it is is never crazy busy where you have to worry about that. It is one of those places where you have probably driven by a thousand times but never quite noticed it existed.

Almost every single coffee shop sells artwork that hangs on the walls. Sugar Bakeshop takes it to another level and sells colorado inspired photography. LOVE IT! It makes the entire shop feel cleaner and sharper. Into it.

IMG_6549.JPGTo up their hipster factor, there is a typewriter on the bar by the window and with the help of staff to get the paper going, you can look way cooler than you are and write on it. The wall behind the typewriter is filled with messages some morbid, some inspiring and a few inside jokes that make absolutely no sense all over the window. This small touch adds it’s own personal touch to the bakery.

The coffee itself is BOMB. Brewing Denver’s local, Novo coffee (novo uses their pastries they use their coffee it’s adorable, if anything) they make incredible lattes. Their coconut milk vanilla lattes are on point and absolutely worth getting!!

The service is fabulous. Every person I have encountered there is so genuine! It is obvious that every person there is passionate about what they are doing and why WOULDN’T you want to surround yourself around people like that? Theres a young vibe but very professional at the same time.

Next time you have a breakfast meeting or catching up with an old friend take them here!! Literally one of Denver’s best kept secrets. Even though you probably don’t have to go too far out of your way to make it here, make sure you snag one of their pies! They were on Conde Nast Travelers list of best pies in America in 2012. Seriously, everything that comes out of those ovens and espresso machines is fantastic.

Verdict: Go! All the pastries are laid out where you order so its uneatable that you will get something. Trust me, I have tried and failed.. more than I would like to admit. Grab a dozen muffins or pastries and become the most popular person in your office.

Coffee Break

I apologize for my over extended coffee break. I will be back next week with the verdict on Sugar Bakery on Broadway! My FOSE (fear of summer ending) got the best of me.

My coffee break was full of a little bit of this…

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                                       and a little bit of that…


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It’s not you, it’s Colorado.

Corvus

IMG_8967After going to one of the best coffee shops in the nation last week, I had to follow it with another local top dog to keep things fair. Little Owl is a hard cafe to follow. I see Corvus coffee EVERYWHERE whether its on shelves at whole foods or other shops that are brewing their beans. It is essentially a Denver coffee staple. It has been recommended to me for months.


 
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IMG_8993Corvus is the coffee shop is the closest thing you will find to a local micro-brewery. From making the latte (pouring beer from the tap) to being able to see where they roast their famous small batch roasted beans, (fermentation process in a brewery) you can see it all. The whole coffee process is out in the open. In fact, much like the brewery tours that explain the beer making process,

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There are bi-weekly classes for their retail customers to learn more about brewing coffee at their training bar. I am dying to make it to one and have a better understanding of the roasting process because, why not?

 

 

 

 

Their only location is out of the way from the city, not biker friendly, and in an area you would not exactly want to be in after dark. I imagine they get a lot of commuters city bound rather than the city homebodies. My first time there I felt like I was going too far south on Broadway and I IMG_8979turned around. After a quick Google Maps search, I turned back around and it was easy to see upon driving past. Disclaimer: Curvus is further away from the city than you would expect. This coffee shop does stand out since the Corvus establishment has a strong contrast with everything around it. Unlike buildings in the surrounding area, the outside area is well kept and looks great.

Between the professional baristas and the well-put together coffee-goers, the entire coffee shop has a professional vibe. They nailed the clean Colorado industrial design. The layout has to be in the running for the best coffee shop layouts in Denver. The lights in Corvus are so unique they are unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. Reminds me of something you would see at Roosevelt Bar It has a rustic trendy feel. I would go so far the lights contribute overall shop looks like a swanky warehouse.

 

 

 

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There is plenty of seating options! I would recommend going here for a meeting, interview or a study group. There are big tables and plenty of parking options. The café itself is a fairly large space. The whole front side of the shop is a window. Although the view isn’t great, it still brings in a lot of light that makes work a little more bearable.

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Even though I am a HUGE fan of the interior, exterior, quality of the coffee and the list goes on… my almond milk vanilla latte was way bellow par. I appreciate that they make their own almond milk there. I even saw the barista blending it up in the blender while I was there. However, maybe it is the cashews that turn me off? Either way it is almonds soaked in water, dash of salt and sugar and cashews. It was not good. I think that next time I will get a basic black coffee because of the almond milk. Their coffee is small batch brewed with beans from privately owned farms. They spend a ton of time and research finding the right farms and ensuring their beans are the best of the best. So I can’t let the almond milk get in the way of enjoying high quality legit coffee. Their beans are slow roasted meaning they roast two or three times a week so when you have a bag of it or a cup of it, it was JUST roasted instead of sitting there for weeks… or longer compared to other bags or cups of coffee. 

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 The pastries were incredible! All local of course. The pastries are dropped off fresh every morning. I got my paws on a pumpkin choco-chip muffin. It did not disappoint. I told myself while I was walking in just to get coffee and go. I caved. The pastries really all looked that good. 

 

 

The service was right on point. Personable and professional. It is clear that the baristas are incredibly knowledgable about the coffee and company. They are part of the roasting process and take what they do seriously. They looked like typical Denver baristas. Clean cut with a little bit of hipster. Each visit they did coffee art even on my coffees to go. Kudos to that! 

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The verdict: Check it out!! Definitely worth it… if you are driving south on broadway. I wouldn’t go too much out of my way for it though. I would rather go to huckleberry or novo. However, if you are getting almond milk with your coffee, don’t be surprised if it just doesn’t taste like what you are used to. They are roast masters without a doubt. I am definitely going to try to attend one of their classes or if I am ever looking for a coffee meeting spot. I do not see myself going back anytime soon. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Little Owl

There are roughly 22,000 coffee shops in the US. Little Owl, downtown’s hidden coffee shop is in the top 21 of those according to the Thrillist in their latest  Best Coffee Shops in America list. Denver’s Little Owl is perfection.

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Little Owl has all the characteristics that other coffee shops aspire to have. The clean trendy vibe feel other shops strive for, Little Owl hits perfectly. I felt like I had to wipe off my shoes before walking in because it’s so clean. Everything is white, marble and glass. The floor is hardwood and walls marble, front wall glass facing Blake St. The counter is porcelain white and without a spot on it. So clean and intimate.

What sets Little Owl apart from the rest?

  • The Location. Block and a half away from Union Station, right next to 16th St.
  • Blends in. There is no signage outside or any indication there is a coffee shop there. It’s a nice little hidden spot.
  • They have the overall clean, classy vibe that other coffee shops try to master.
  • Almond Milk made there


IMG_8800The Decorations are simple and fit well with their trendy vibe. There were fresh flowers in vases around the long tables and different plants set with mini glasses of sugar in the raw with a small spoon inside.  There was a frame of the filled with a picture of the world set above the table. This was about the only wall art. Keeping it simple. 


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This petite spot is in the HEART of downtown. Located just steps away from 16th street, a block away from Union Station and directly on Blake St. Easy to find but as long as you know where it is. There is no signage out front aside from the Coffee handwritten sign leaning on a bush in front. The glass door has a small sign with an owl and the words, Little Owl. I feel as though the people who walk in either live in the upscale apartments next door or have been recommended to go there.

Out of town’ers  or people with large groups are probably more likely to hit the Starbucks across the street.

IMG_8899Be aware, Little Owl is small. The intimate seating style is limited both indoor and outdoor. The inside has bar style seating in an L shape seating, middle bar facing the baristas. Outside has 4 tables that seat 2.  The outdoor seating is adorable. There is a nice fence of hedges separating the sidewalk from the tables. The outdoor area has a really nice ambiance and perfect place for a little 1-on-1 meeting. However, don’t be surprised if all the seating options are unavailable when you get there.IMG_8796

The first time I went to Little Owl, the tables were filled with people dressed up and conducting interviews. Every person that walked in looked extra important. I was first recommended to Little Owl by fellow Hoosier, Daniel Brogan, CEO/President of 5280 Denver’s Magazine in an informational interview. If the person who STARTED a magazine revolved around things to do and everything Denver/Colorado recommends a coffee shop, you can only have high expectations. That is exactly what I had and Little Owl only prevailed.

IMG_8881TIP: You never know who you will run into here. Try not to go hungover wearing sweats. It’s a professional setting in the downtown district but afterall, it is just coffee. I’m sure no one will hold it against you but… you never know.

Confession: Second time arriving at Little Owl, I was SOAKED, rain water dripping off my hair and face. Learned not to attempt to be a hero and bike downtown during a downpour. The barista is a biker himself, of course, so he understood all too well.

Little Owl coffee in a nutshell: farm-to-cup coffee served through manual brew methods with a craft espresso option.

Their coffee is from Sweet Bloom and Commonwealth both local roasters. Sweet Bloom coffee was just used by Kapo Chiu from Hong Kong, the runner-up in the World Barista Championship that took place in June. So.. their coffee is top-notch, that is for sure.

IMG_8803The first time I went to Little Owl, I got my usual Almond Milk Vanilla Latte. My second time around, I order my not-so-usual Mocha Almond MIlk Latte. Both were amazing!! Their almond milk is made right there house. Along with their vanilla syrup. The mocha is made from a fancy little chocolate company that I can’t remember the name of. Their chocolate bars are posted up near the iPad register. The coffee is made in ways that I don’t even understand. It seems as though they have their coffee science down. I’m no coffee expert but I can tell that is does not taste like any other coffee made in the area. Maybe the closest is St. Mark’s café. It is coffee done right. I can’t put my finger on what it is that is different but maybe that is just not American coffee. So… maybe let’s say it’s the most authentic cup of coffee Denver offers?

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Their latte coffee art is on point. Each latte is served in a glass cup. Everything about their coffee service is fancy. Upon ordering coffee, you are asked if you would like a glass of water. Ice or no ice. They bring your coffee out to you most of the time too. It was so great! Fine dining of coffee shop service. 5 diamond status.

Know what you want when you walk in there. There isn’t exactly a menu posted but instead a sign of what coffee they have brewing up. Majority of people ordered an Almond Milk Vanilla Latte, Americanos, or Double Shot espresso. Their syrup options are Mocha and Vanilla made with sugar from the raw. The black coffee tastes incredible as well.

IMG_8889The food options are limited. However, what they do have is well worth it! I overheard that their custom italian pastry chef/neighbor Lon Symensma suspended their pastries from Gather. I’m not sure why but at this time I do not think they are getting pastries in. However, they do have what looks like bomb fritatas. There is also Noosa in the fridge to buy as well so there are breakfast options but the are limited. If you want a little snack to satisfy your sweet tooth, they have almond butter packs, similar to Justin’s. I am not above it, I snack on these ‘peanut butter but better and natural’ type things on the reg! 

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The music was so classy. It fit so perfectly with their vibe. My first visit had Stand By Me playing and Georgia… classic feel good coffee shop music. The second trip, they had mindless upbeat instrumental music playing. The whole shop has an upbeat vibe to it.

 

The service was perfect. You know how all Starbucks employees are upbeat, talk to you, personalize the experience.. blah blah blah?The baristas especially the male barista is exactly who they try to make all the workers like. He is one of the best baristas I have come into contact with in a long time. He is what people try to train their employees to be like. He just has it. Everything from great service, dresses better than anyone I know, makes amazing coffee and just plays it cool. There was a ridiculously long line every 15 minutes and no one changed their pace. They are efficient and just know what to do. They are professionals.

There is WiFi so ask what the password is while you are ordering.

Verdict: Check it out if you are in downtown for a meeting. Don’t bother going there if you have a group larger than two as seating is limited. If there is a long line, stay. It’s worth it, I swear. Take someone you want to impress here.

Weathervane Cafe

 

Weathervane cafe is Denver’s most Outdoorsy coffee shop. I would go so far to say it is one of Denver’s best kept secrets or hidden city gems. Quick, healthy and affordable. Tucked away on Williams and 17th and sandwiched between Whole Yoga and a Denver resident who grows their own veggies in their front yard. (Just saying)

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Moonrise Kingdom

It is the most Wes Anderson esq cafe… ever. The second you step into the quant cafe, you feel as though you are walking on the set of Moonrise Kingdom. Ironically, the barista one day was playing the Life Aquatic (another Wes Anderson Classic) soundtrack. Specifically THIS SONG http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAbvRyKVHUo. I urge you to listen to it while you read this review. For those of you who are not familiar with Wes Anderson nor Moonrise Kingdom or even Life Aquatic for that matter.. I do apologize for you have no idea what I am talking about and for straight up missing out…

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Moonrise kingdom

Movie references aside, Weathervane cafe is a free spirit, outdoorsy inspired cafe. I can’t help but to think about pinterest camping when I am inside. Everything about it is perfect. This house turned cafe has two floors. A vintage shop upstairs next to a room full of couches (available to rent out *check on website for more info) made complete with two patios for outdoor seating both upstairs and downstairs. Be aware of the 35 person capacity inside. The overall cafe does not have a ton of space as you would not want to post up in for hours. Don’t worry though, the many times I have been there, seating has never been an issue.

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Moonrise Kingdom

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I have fallen in love with the little details of the cafe. You know those pictures you may see in magazines or pinterest of rustic designs? Weathervane is the MASTER of it all. Even the tip jar with the little yarn has a TIPS tag attached on it and the petite picture frame sits next to a mini vase with flowers stating to put the dishes in the bin on the other side of the counter.photo 2

 

 

I appreciate how this cafe has stuck so well with their theme. Everything fits so well. A lot of the items would seem out-of-place if they were placed anywhere else. For example, why would a thrift, patched up quilt end up in Pablo’s on 13th? They have their own rustic camping niche that cannot be found anywhere else in the area.

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While researching, it was easy to unveil that Weathervane is voted as one of the best coffee shops in denver for conversation. I AGREE! It isn’t too loud or too quite for talking. There is such a comfortable, chill atmosphere. Bring your first date, mother, grandmother (actually, no really. Bring your grandmother it even probably looks like your grandmother’s house anyway). However, I wouldn’t exactly have a business meeting here.

 

 

To be honest, I was starting to think that I’ve seen it all. How could a coffee shop have something I have yet to see? I’m a coffee shop guru at this point, right? No. Weathervane has blindsided me with concepts no other coffee shop has done before. I have compiled a list of just that.

1. Sells used records

2. Their oatmeal comes in a jar

3. Granola and Yogurt has CHERRIES at the bottom. UGH.

4. Local Authors sell their paperback novels there.

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5. Locally handmade mugs for sale

6. Has a vintage store upstairsScreen Shot 2001-01-04 at 6.42.54 AM

7. Designated Dog Parking outside

8. Flowers in vintage cans

9. Their chalk board signs out front give perfect combination ideas and are so personalized

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The list goes on…

 

 

 

 

What I love about this place aside from the Moonrise Kingdom feel, is how when you are in Weathervane cafe, you know EXACTLY what cafe you are in. It does not resemble anything else in the city. It is truly unique. Cheers to that!

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For the past month this has been my morning AMVL spot. I just keep coming back because not only is it welcoming, comfortable and ADORABLE, their coffee is AMAZING! I’ve had it hot and iced both never failed me. The coffee isn’t too sugary probably because their syrups are house made (love). Best part, their coffees are just the right amount of strong. Weathervane is on my list for one of my favorites thus far.

Not a coffee drinker? No problem! Look at the extensive descriptive tea list any person can understand through their description. Or Better yet, try their lavender lemonade would with a vegan doughnut. Say whatttttt.

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Local shmocal. They nailed it! They sell everything LOCAL. Huckleberry coffee, Corvus are their coffee staples. Homemade local lip balm to local jam it is sold at Weathervane. Two thumbs up for supporting the local Denver startups. In fact, it is all the local products they have that set them apart from the rest. Bardo’s, take notes.

screen-shot-2001-01-04-at-6-43-47-am1I have to confess something…. The pastries look BOMB however, I have yet to get my hands on em! I keep ordering the Granola and Yogurt option. I have failed to step out of the box. But their pastries are from The Beet Box. I am alllllll about the beet box company. They have a booth set up at the Cherry Creek Farmers Market and their shop is not too far away from Weathervane, according to local rumors. Half of their pastries are homemade too. Vegan, GF options are all there, of course.

Service is great!! The baristas look like they should work at Weathervane (it’s a good thing). They are all so genuine and seem very natural and approachable. I love the male barista’s outfit as he literally looks like he stepped right out of Moonrise Kingdom. Patches on vest, beard, glasses and all. Really, can’t say enough good things about the friendly staff. They never made me feel rushed or gave the impression of being bored.

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The menu selection is spot on featuring both breakfast and lunch items. For their lunch they have: Citrus kale salad, Sesame coconut Kale salad, sandwiches served with cucumbers, Tempeh bacon sandwiches TLT, Beef sandwiches.. something for everyone. Vegans, vegetarians, classic eaters, and meat lovers. Bring a friend for lunch or coffee before work.

 

“Take it easy, but take it” – Quote painted on the door. …Think about it over some of their amazing lattes?

 

Suggestions: Coffee art on to-go coffee (although I will say bringing it to me at the table complete with the lid and sleeve makes up for it) and have a whole fruit basked of bananas and apples.

 

Verdict: Check it out!!! Well worth it. Go upstairs, look around.. sit on the balcony upstairs. I will keep coming back and recommending it to others.

 

Roostercat

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Denver’s Roostercat coffee-house is easily missed but hard to forget. You can be standing directly in front of it and not even realize it. Seriously, it has been done. I am just now starting to come here when I’ve passed by it almost every single day since I’ve moved here. When I started to get into coffee shops, I found Roostercat but accidentally ended up at Rooster & Moon without thinking twice.

1395432_542893779121450_1717024108_nIs there something I am missing about this whole Rooster thing? What does it mean? Perhaps it is derived from the term roster? Moving on…

The inside is covered with everything I love. Local art, exposed brick, Amanda approved lighting…. The chairs could be a little better but still nice. The café itself is in the shape of an L with more seating in the back. I like the layout. It’s simple but isn’t that crazy clean feel some other places have.

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Way back when I first found out about Roostercat I kept seeing pictures of this rooftop. Turns out, the rooftop is actually just the patio in the front that is below the sidewalk so.. far from a rooftop. When I went to Rooster & Moon (at the time thought it was roostercat) I asked about their rooftop and if they have one. She said that they do get asked this often. Naturally when I finally made it out to Roostercat I asked them the same question ready to see this rooftop coffee shop with fire pits on it. Sounded too good to be true! It was. Much like Rooster & Moon, the barista said that they do get asked that question a lot and she wasn’t sure why. Well, after INTENSIVE investigation, I discovered the answer. The BURNING question is now finally answered. Where is everyone getting this false info from? Turns out, Roostercat’s Facebook page says… rooftop. Welp, there you go.

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Real talk. I had a lot of expectations coming in here. I’ve seen it on every top 10 lists, A-List staring, top coffee shops this and that. It was errywhere. It definitely won me over. I abolsutely agree and think it’s spots on the top lists are well deserved.

IMG_7878Pastries: Nonexistent. In their defense, if you don’t want to go all the way with pastries no need to half bun it and get crappy pastries just so you can offer it.

BUT for all you Leslie Knopes out there, they have waffles for days. Their menu consists of Gluten Free waffles. At the register there is a fish bowl of notes locals fill out to get their personal waffle recipe as the waffle of the week. (City o city anybody? WOW) The catch is the waffle to be featured has to be 5 ingredients or less. This weeks WOW: Cheesesteak waffle. Meh. Their menu has plenty of options if you’re not into the local recipe option.

Guys, i’ve done something new. I’m pretty excited about it but definitely found a catch to keep me coming back and expanded my coffee horizons. How do you feel about coconut milk lattes? THEY HAVE IT! Story of my life, as I was ordering my classic AMVL I was stopped after the word almond. They are out. I was appalled for like a solid 5 seconds. My mind went hazy. I’m not into soy unless if I have to…. coming from the girl who ate a soy based meal last night. WHATEVER. The barista told me instead of Almond milk she could do coconut milk. I quickly took whatever look I had off my face of hearing the words “out of almond milk” and was really pumped to try a coconut milk vanilla latte. The lady behind me chimed in RAVING about how good coconut milk lattes are. I was so jazzed. I’ve never seen this at any other coffee shop before. Such a great milk alternative! Maybe this whole time other coffee shops are carrying it?

IMG_7880Every time I have come into Roostercat the coffee has been bomb with fab service. The baristas seem so.. normal and just the right amount of “barista hipster” and not too much. Each time I come in, I see someone familiar and I like that feeling. I can tell they remember me and it always adds to the experience.

 

Music: INTO IT! Headphones not needed. Music also is on the front porch. Played everything from Foster the People, The Shins, Iron and Wine, and just upbeat music I’ve never heard of before that is in the same genre. Typical coffee music for Denver done right.

 

IMG_7882What STANDS OUT about Roostercat

coconut milk OFFERED to me

outdoor patio with fire pits

-rope lighting on the outdoor patio

-open mic nights with space set up specifically for that (adorable rope lighting above)

– Rooster Yoga every Monday night (except the first monday every month & weather pending since it’s outside and all) SERIOUSLY! You heard this right! This coffee shop has yoga classes every monday…. badass. INTO IT. *7pm*

-Rooster Comedy shows on Tuesdays *8pm*

-Printing available

-Bottomless coffee for $2.95

-Outlets outside next to every table. PERFECT for those whose laptop’s batteries don’t work… ahem…

The crowd: Average. Not too hipster, not too homeless looking. Upper 20s and up. Get place

The verdict: I be back for my morning CMVL since it’s literally in the best location ever! Between 10th and 11th on Lincoln it is always on the way for me. HOWEVER, I will definitely swing by for a yoga class in the near future. Only question, is the yoga free? Only suggestion: take rooftop off your Facebook site. CHECK IT OUT, PLAYERS!

"What do you mean there's no cats?"

“What do you mean there’s no cats?”

 

 

Note to self: stop calling people players.

Blackbird Cafe

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This past week I went back to my roots. I traveled far back to Valparaiso. Good old Valparadise. The last couple years, my hometown that I once complained about being, “SO boring” and “There’s nothing to do!” After being out of Valpo for a minute, I’ve grown to really appreciate this adorable town. A lot of local businesses have been booming, outdoor venues added, trails, fitness options have just exploded all over. While I was back in town, I did not skip a beat on hitting my favorite local café, Blackbird.

The month before I moved to Denver, THIS was my go-to spot. I spent many hours here cranking out a 15 credit hour summer semester in a two-week span. (Update: Didn’t quite take me the two weeks, but I managed) There were days I would spent literally 12 hours posted up in Blackbird. What really stood out to me was one particular day last summer. Right before Arrested Development came back on Netflix, Blackbird café kept a countdown going until the show was back on. Oh just wait, it doesn’t stop there. Blackbird also had Arrested Development inspired drink options, smoothies and more. The chalk board easel (that I’m obsessed with outside stores) had a picture drawn of Tobias. It was AWESOME. Inside the register they recommended the, “I just blew myself” smoothie. HILARIOUS. Anyone who is a fan of the show, you’ll understand what I mean.

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Tucked away downtown, I would have to say this is the most local feeling café you can find in the area. Steps away from the courthouse and the prime downtown area, Blackbird sits at a perfect place. They serve BOMB food! During my hours upon hours post up sessions in the café, I dabbled and went to nomtown with their sandwiches and salads and holy shiz. They hit the spot. When you order food, you get these cute little card holders with different random cards that go inside instead of traditional numbers. Really, they have the most random words and pictures on there. It certainly adds to it’s charm.

The outdoor area right out front on the downtown sidewalk (separated by a fence) has adorable rope lighting up top. There is always the chalk board easel with a witty saying, picture or displaying one of their drool worthy menu items. Inside it really isn’t that large of a space. The whole left wall is covered with the original brick from the building with funky yet fitting artwork along the wall. The front half of the café has the comfortable couches and seating that would be perfect to come in and coffee talk. The tables along the brick wall are perfect for getting work done in. There are many distractions but nothing unbearable.

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The tea selection is worth checking out! It goes on for days. They display it all on these shelves near the brick wall so you can take a peak at what it is exactly you are getting. To be honest, can anyone look at tea and understand what they are looking at? Probably not. I’m sure the baristas would be able to pick out a great tea from their selection if you just ask.

imageLooking for a quick quaint breakfast spot? GO HERE! They make their Quiche from scratch and I absolutely trust the food here. Last time I went in, I asked where their pastries come from. The owner, who happened just to be standing right there casually helping out for a busy saturday, makes them at home. I think that is so great! The muffins, cookies all of it. Baked straight from their personal kitchen. That’s pretty stinkin’ local and fresh. I’m into it!

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The overall atmosphere is very comfortable. You can tell it is not a chain and from a local owner. If I was living back in Valpo still, this would be a spot I would go to frequently. Especially to check out the live music that they have from local artists!

 

What is the biggest difference between this Indiana spot versus a Colorado cafe? The baristas were super friendly at Blackbird don’t get me wrong but I feel like the baristas in Denver are just more into it. Their profession is to be a barista not kill time during school or whatever to get extra money. They certainly aren’t as chatty as those Denver baristas too. When I go out to a coffee shop out in Colorado, I find that they are just so interested in people. There is just a different vibe I can’t quite put my finger on what the real difference is. I just find that Denver people are so creative and have a certain quality you can’t just find anywhere. Everyone is overly friendly and social in Denver and so maybe people are just more to themselves and on the go back there. Another difference was the gluten-free, vegan options. In Denver the selection is MUCH wider and more common that all of the pastries are already gluten-free or Paleo and vegan.

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The coffee I had was really good! Again, no Almond milk but I had rice milk instead of soy. The syrup option list is outstanding! There were flavors I’ve never heard of on there too. I of course, stuck with the usual, ARMVL. I was a fan! Not too much syrup just the right amount of caffeine to turn me into a chatty cathy for the next few hours.

 

The verdict: Valpo friends, check it out if you have not yet! Go there for breakfast or lunch. Sit outside. Go for the live music or to escape for a bit to catch up on some reading with a hot cup of tea. I am STILL kicking myself for not grabbing a muffin. Oh there were also a variety of breads with gluten-free options too so although the selection for those dietary restricted choices, they were still there! Or those who are rolling your eyes at the thought of gluten-free and the word Paleo, there is plenty there for you too, don’t worry.

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The Bardo Coffeehouse

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Conveniently located on Broadway, just outside of downtown is Bardo Coffeehouse. Never heard of it? Yeah, me neither. It is easy to miss but chances are it will be on your way getting on the highway for your commute or just on your way out of downtown. Plenty of street parking is available.

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Local. Local. Local. This place wants to be as local as possible. Everything they can get within their means is local. The furniture (which I at first thought came from a bunch of different locations and garage sales) is actually from a local designer down the street. Their milk comes from a local dairy farmer, local coffee beans (duh) from Kaladi Bros company, pastries (don’t worry i’ll get to that later) from Outrageous Bakery in Boulder and City Bakery from Denver and Buffalo Doughboy. **Ps. their website ahem, Facebook page, only has City bakery and Buff Doughboy listed**, Sandwiches from Wildthyme and lastly, Ice Cream from Sweet Action. Having so many local products alone makes their coffee shop comfortable and obviously local, which I love. 

Screen Shot 2014-05-15 at 5.41.03 PMThe owner is actually a denver local filmmaker who has his movies filmed in colorado, staring colorado stars, and probably not about colorado things unfortunately. Pretty cool though that this guy is just going out doing things we likes doing. I’m sure he is a coffee fanatic and film fanatic. Which explains the off beat touch of art to the cafe. Plenty of drawings behind the counter, local artwork posted all over and flyers all over the front door and windows of different shows and film releases in the area. There is definitely a lot of passion and hard work put into Bardo, there is no doubt.

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The first time I went in I ordered my usual, Almond Milk Vanilla latte. The friendly tatted up barista explained to me that their dairy contact hasn’t done the delivery yet this morning. Does this mean they get their almond milk from a local farmer? What? I don’t understand but anyway, she was quick to respond with their alternatives, Soy (what is this starbucks? …People still carry soy?) and Rice milk. I naturally went with the Rice milk. Which reminds me, what is rice milk even? I’ll google it later. Moving on…

 

After I ordered my Rice Milk Vanilla Latte I realized I did not have my wallet on me. I was so embarrassed since she was already making it so I was about to head out to my car to see what money would magically appear or if I still have my emergency 20 bill tucked away. A woman two people behind me (yeah there was a line) stepped up and told me she would pay for it for me. SAY WHATTT. Best morning ever! Such a nice random act of kindness. After a not-so-casual freak out of thankfulness moment, I snooped around a bit.

Foil light?The cafe isn’t too large but goes pretty far back to a comfortable seating area with couches. The front has the four-top tables and the middle section has it’s booths. It’s an organized design and well laid out. However, just opening in 2010, it looks like it needs a face lift already. There was a christmas decoration in the back, for being there that early in the morning, I don’t know when the last time it was vacuumed but I’m just being picky. The food and counter area was definitely well-kept and that is what really matters. I would certainly be comfortable ordering one of their noms. Lighting was not impressive. In fact, the back light had this weird aluminum foil attached to where the light bulbs were? It was weird.

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Speaking of noms, they had a really good choice of food. Their sandwiches looked homemade and not greasy or unhealthy by any means, Gluten free options, vegan ice cream options, and fresh cinnamon rolls, and croissants. I was into it! There were plenty of options of different breads like pumpkin bread, walnut something and… ok just take my word for it, there were a ton of options but nothing crazy mind blowing.

The next morning, I went back and got an almond milk vanilla latte to go and it was AMAZINGGG!!! The first one tasted weird because hello, rice milk. STILL not sure what that is exactly… but it was still good but not at good as the AMVL. (New acronym.. effective immediately) Coffee art was better the second time around too. Definitely make a good cup of coffee but not THE best. I would suggest start to carry other local coffee’s like Huckleberry would do well there for sure. Also, they have THE biggest cup I have seen in any other coffee shop. If you are looking for a massive cup of coffee, THIS is the place!

Screen Shot 2014-05-15 at 5.41.50 PMWhat separates The Bardo Cofeehouse from the rest?

1. Their very vocal about how local they are

2. There is a sign at the front by the register that explains if your coffee or whatever else you ordered is not up to YOUR standards, they will make it again.

3. They are open early and stay up late

4. On the negative side, their website is STILL not up and running with a link to their Facebook page. Odd. Find a local to do it for you! Being open since 2010 and 4 years later still not having a proper website is a rookie move.

5. Their owner is a local filmmaker

6. Has a basket of 1/2 off noms (into it)

Straight from their .com website

 

Verdict: If you’re on broadway, check it out. There are other coffee shops I would recommend besides this one however, I would say it is worth checking out. Oh and it is open late so it is perfect if you need a legit latte at midnight.

 

WiFI login Page

 

Pablo’s on 6th

This week I decided to do a part II on my Pablo’s on 13th post. I was not a fan of it the first few times around. Pablo’s coffee seems to be popping up everywhere lately. Their beans are being used at a bunch of different new local coffee shops and all over the shelves at local stores. The Pablo’s on 6th was their original location so I was curious.

Background story: Pablo’s coffee is one of Denver’s first craft coffee roasters. They roast their coffee on 7th st and have two locations, 13th and 6th. They roast in small batches by hand. They even ship their coffee out to you even if you aren’t from the Colorado or Denver area. The coffee is roasted daily and shipped quickly. Not bad, huh?

There are a ton of the same characteristics I was not into on their 13th location at this one too.

1. No Wifi

2. Sub par baristas

3. Limited Syrups

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Before I start going on about what I don’t like, let me first just say that it actually looks really cool inside. The outdoor area certainly catches your attention when you drive by. They make sure you know they are here and don’t blend in quite like Novo down the street. Right when you walk in you, notice right away there is so much going on. They have a combination of chandeliers and different spotlight lighting, long hanging lights and a few lamps. The black and white checkered ceiling fits with all the other patterns used on the walls and clean counter area. The most unusual part is how they use plants to line the window instead of using blinds. A section of the wall has the Beetle wood that is popping up all over Colorado establishments.

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Pablo’s may just be the best place for the coffee shop to take your kids to. It’s right next to a grocery store, across from chase bank, on a busier street so you can hit it on your way to running errands.There are toys lying around by the couch area and books for little ones. In fact, I’ve seen THREE babies/kids here and I can’t even remember the last time I’ve seen someone bring a baby or young one into a coffee shop around here. I swear the mom crowd loves Starbucks. Spotted: soon to be mom getting her tea on.

Pablo’s on 6th is just such a convenient place. It’s close to just about everything you need to get your errands and shopping done. It is also even easier to get access to because there is free parking in the parking lot behind the café. There is also street parking right in front too that is not hard to land a spot on. Possibly the most convenient coffee shop to go to? On top of the easy location, it makes it easier their hours are 7-10 every day… consistent and flexible.

OK. I’m sorry but I get the whole “engage in conversation with some coffee” blah blah blah. But seriously? NO WIFI?!?! Us poor young professionals who don’t have Internet need to catch up on emails, aimless facebooking and articles that tell me 19 reasons why this and 50 ways to do that. I think that every coffee shop should have WiFi. A latte helps everyone get work done and the atmosphere is associated with being productive. To each his own, Pablo’s.Image

I tried to do something a little different today. I stepped out of my latte comfort zone and was ready to try something NEW. I had white chocolate on my mind. Over my typical vanilla believe it or not. I rarely do this. I order that white chocolate latte with almond milk to only to find myself getting rejected. They don’t have white chocolate but they did suggest regular chocolate. I went for it. It was a little to rich for me. I wouldn’t order it again but it is still good though, don’t get me wrong. The attempted coffee art was not good. I will go ahead and give an excuse on their behalf and say it was the almond milk and mocha that makes it more difficult to do coffee art. I did order the vanilla almond milk latte to go yesterday and it was AWESOME. So good and the coffee art was on point. So lesson learned, stick to the vanilla almond milk latte. They sell their beans to coffee shops all over and people rave over it. I think that their black coffee may even be worth getting next time too or I would purchase a bag to brew myself.

The crowd here is pretty mixed. It is mainly an older crowd but of course it is a Wednesday morning when everyone is already at work. I can infer that the typical crowd ranges from 20 something to retired. Everyone and everyone can fit in here. It isn’t too trendy and edgy nor conservative.

If you want to get some iced tea, don’t come here. They do give you free refills and let you know upon ordering but there is only one tea to get. At thump they brew it for you and have a HUGE selection of tea you can get hot iced and will hold your tea leaves back there so they can keep re-brewing it for you. Now THAT is my iced tea expectation at a coffee shop.

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As part of this little part II on the Pablo’s series, I’m noticing some brand inconsistencies. If you didn’t know what the name was to either place before coming in, you would NEVER guess it is the same company. Each location has a totally different feel. This is so odd. There is seriously no similarity between the two. One location makes it VERY clear upon entering that there is no wifi. Pablo’s on 6th doesn’t have any indication, which led me to the false hope that there was free Wi-Fi. It’s just odd one place has all these funky patterns comfortable seating and the other blah, uncomfortable, and different feels.

Those jams. Ugh. Bring your headphones. It’s weird music. They have OK seating. Their whole vibe is to engage with people so they have their seating set accordingly.

Not blown away by the pastries. They get their breads and stuff from Outrageous a local bakery in Boulder. I definitely like how they make it very clear that is where they are from and they have a wide choice of them too. The other pastries (donuts bagels, muffins etc.) are not labeled where they are from but I didn’t bother asking because I’m not blown away by the place. Their focus is their coffee beans as it is one of the most well-known Denver coffee beans. Seriously. Everyone in Denver knows of Pablo’s.

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The verdict: Worth checking out at some point but keep driving down to Novo’s one minute up 6th. I’m into it but I think that the baristas at Novo are a little better and more approachable. They are friendly but not warm. I don’t feel like I could build any kind of relationship with. At thump I was in they know my name know I want some sort of Almond milk latte and talk to me. Here, you just wouldn’t’ get that. They just wanted to get your order make some bomb coffee and repeat. There is a lot going on but the outdoor area makes it worth it if you want to sit outside on a nice day. The overhead rope lighting would be perfect for an evening cup of coffee.