If you find yourself in the South Pearl St. area actually, never mind. You probably never will find yourself on the south side of Pearl St. Instead, go out of your way to grab coffee or tea at Stella’s Gourmet Coffee and Such that is found in the Wash Park neighborhood. There are SO many swanky local restaurants surrounding Stella’s. S Pearl is absolutely an area to check out if you want to escape the city. Recently, Stella’s has been named as one of the greater Denver area’s top Coffee Shops.
I’m convinced I have accidently sat in the middle of a study group. Perchance there is an unspoken college student section of this Denver local coffee shop? Either way I feel oddly out of place and a little claustrophobic. I blame where I chose to sit on this crazy busy Monday evening. A seat in the middle of a long workstation table (just like Thump and Novo) is the only place I could find to sit and charge my laptop at the same time. Just to throw this out there, Thump has power cords attached and spread out throughout under the table. There are tacky power strip cords you have at home laid out in the middle of the table here. It’s hard to charge your stuff without getting in the way of everyone else. Clumsy awkward people, such as myself, struggle with this kind of setup. Also, I’m pretty sure everyone gave me the stare down when I turned my laptop on and the inevitable Mac turning on sound filled the entire room. There is no music playing, few people are having conversations. In fact, I even WHISPERED if I could squeeze into one of the long worktable chairs. The regret of not bringing my headphones in is unreal.
Flash forward to Tuesday: I was able to find a seat at a table with an outlet but still surrounded by college and grad students. The girl I snagged my seat from mentioned it’s so busy during the weekday nights because it is the only coffee shop in the area open this late. Aha. The I can’t get anything done at home kind of students. It is a bonus that Stella’s has a very homey feel. Some areas of the café make you feel as though you are in the middle of friend’s living room. Everyone was friendly and a little more talkative than last night. I could have been over dramatic at first, but my seating arrangement this time around is much better and comfortable. Not to mention, I do have my headphones in and blaring Blackstreet No Diggity on repeat sooooo there’s that. Seriously, how can you not be at ease with a Blackstreet throw back playing? Ok, continuing on…
The crowd is all attractive (probably DU undergrad/grads) students. Definitely the perfect college study hot-spot,(no pun intended) between the late night hours in a productive environment. It’s the perfect formula. Tuesday night update: Theory of attractive DU students confirmed. On the other side of the café where people are more chatty and outside, you’ll find the 20-somethings to early 30-somethings. It was weird the first time I walked in. I felt as though I fit in too well. Everyone looked as if they were around the same age and a similar style as me. I would have to say, if you are looking for a place to meet people, this might be the spot to come to Friday or Saturday night.
There is no music; however, they have live music Friday and Saturday nights. On their website, you can find a calendar or even sign up to perform yourself!
Rumor has it the morning has more of an older crowd and the younger people take over the night. I believe it and if my schedule permitted, I would have hit Stella’s for a morning coffee.
I came in Monday night knowing I wanted a decaf herbal tea. But I am still learning my way around tea menus. I asked the barista what he suggests based off of exactly that. This was the best move I could make because…
1. The barista was probably the hottest thing in Denver with hipster glasses.
2. I get to keep them on their feet with their tea knowledge
3. I get to probably try a new tea I’ve never even heard of before
I was SO into my tea! They make their own tea bags and tie the ends. I’ve never seen this done before! They have agave on hand by the sugar and such. Agave was the perfect addition to my tea.
My first visit my almond milk sugar-free (summers coming, duh) vanilla latte I had to go was AMAZING! Ugh. It was so good and the coffee art was on point, Two thumbs up. They have their coffee roasted by Pablos coffee. I’m into it!
The building is shaped exactly like an H. The first time I went into Stella’s, I got a coffee to go. I didn’t even realize there was a whole other half of the café. There is an amazing porch wrapped in rope lights in the front. There is plenty of seating and a fire pit right in the middle. The side of the café has even more outdoor options with backyard furniture style seating. The walls are all painted different colors but they all flow together well and are not distracting. The original building’s brick wall comes through some areas of the café. Most of the walls are covered with art from local middle school students currently. There are random other pieces of more elaborate artwork mixed from local artists. It fits the space and doesn’t look tacky surprisingly.
Pastries. Real talk guys, I am going to be completely biased. First things first, there were gluten free local Boulder baked breads pumpkin, zucchini and three or four others I can’t even remember. Awesome, I dig it. Don’t get me started on the added bonus of dates and almonds directly next them. AND FOR A DOLLAR?! Sold. Anywhere else I have gone and they are not able to give me every single detail of the pastries (half off after 5pm!!!) I freak out. Ok maybe I don’t freak out, but I absolutely look down on it. HOWEVER. Tonight, the barista wasn’t exactly sure where their pastries came from but he knew that they came from “all over”. In his defense, their website confirms the pastries are “from various places”. His response and quirky awkwardness made me swoon and not even worry about it. I warned you, biased. I’m into good recoveries and seeing how people react on the spot. It was worthy of tipping extra than I usually do. Biased? Yes. Do I care? No.
What sets this place a part from the rest? Well first of all, it was highly rated on a list of Denver’s greater area top coffee shops. There is a payment system where you can pay by stating your name. It is a mobile payment system that is incredibly easy and unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. Seriously, all you have to do is say your name at checkout and they are able to pull you up and pay via app square wallet. There is a picture associated with your name in the system. Don’t worry, you get a notification on your phone when you purchase too. *If this is a trend in other places or has been for years, don’t tell me. The productive young atmosphere is perfect if you are looking for a spot for some quiet reading or to feel like you are back in a library. Way more library esque than St Marks.
The Verdict: I may not end up in the area anytime soon, but I will go out of my way to come back to Stella’s. The fire pits on the porch are perfection. Next time, I will come back in the morning or a Friday/Saturday night for the live music. Every time I have come by, Stella’s has been busy with limited seating yet the service is incredibly consistent with AMAZING coffee. They are certainly faster than some places but this does not affect the quality. Thursdays Highlands Cork and Wine and Friday/Saturday Stella’s. Coffee shop live music in the evening trend? Worth it, check it out, bring headphones and your laptop or on a nice day bring a book and sit outside on their patio.