Colorado Springs hasn't gone totally Starbucks. Granted, they exist — in no small number — as do a couple other franchise locations, such as It's a Grind (itsagrind.com) and Dutch Bros. Coffee (dutchbros.com). But a number of charming, local caffeine spots have forged loyal followings. In the interest of brevity, let's assume you can find organic and fair-trade coffee and tea options and the typical smoothies, pastries, etc., at most destinations.
Places of note, arranged by area of town:
Firstly, Pikes Perk Coffee & Tea Café (pikesperkcafe.com) is all over the place, including within a Josh & John's ice cream flavor and a special dark roast exclusive to Adam's Mountain Café, if that's any indication of quality.
Montague's Coffee House (520-0672) rules SoDo with extensive teas, great cakes and an unparalleled, cozy-chair atmosphere.
Moving into downtown, you hit Coffee Exchange and Winebar (635-0277) with the alcohol upgrade; Coffee & Tea Zone (632-3887) for Boba (chewy tapioca) upgrades and Zoneberry (crackberry!) frozen yogurt; Rico's at Poor Richard's (poorrichards.biz) for sipping chocolates and alcohol; and Boulder Street Coffee Roasters (577-4291) for the most colorful street-corner scene in town.
In Old Colorado City, Deb's Coffee House (debscoffeehouse.com) delivers Victorian charm; Cucuru Gallery Café (cucuru.santuario.com) spices its scene with Cuban art; and Agia Sophia (agiasophiacoffeeshop.com) sets you up to sip in a lavish classic bookstore.
In Manitou Springs, Spice of Life Café (geocities.com/spice_of_life_colorado) offers the closest to a coffee-shop atmosphere, while The Maté Factor (685-3235) — playfully called the Ewok village for its architecture by some — steers many from caffeine to mateine.
Now, east: Raven's Nest Coffee (632-3433) is a cool neighborhood hangout, while north of downtown, Dog Tooth Coffee Company (dogtoothcoffee.com) brings not only atmosphere, but excellent house-made gelato. Black Bear Coffee & Tea Lodge (226-2327) delivers the goods on South Academy Boulevard.
Just outside Cheyenne Cañon, the Coffee Cantina (475-0888) captures bikers and hikers, and Canyon Coffee & Café (633-7400) offers a great patio off Eighth Street.
For a jaunt out of town, R&R Coffee Café (rnrcoffeecafe.com) makes trekking to Black Forest worthwhile. And Pueblo's now-100-percent organic Solar Roast Coffee (solarroast.com) is worth visiting just to support the one-of-a-kind sun-cooked product, which happens to taste great.
On the subject of roasters: Check out Serranos Coffee Co. (serranoscoffee.com) on North Academy Boulevard; Colorado Coffee Merchants (coloradocoffeemerchants.com) off Fillmore Street; High Rise Coffee Roasters (633-1833) and Barista Espresso (rebelroaster.com/barista_003.htm) in Old Colorado City; BB Bean (bbbeancoffee.com) downtown; and a very cool company that's built around sustainability, BuyWell Fair Trade Coffee (buywellcoffee.com/organic.html), off Garden of the Gods Road.