n last year’s Indy Insider, we spoke with a local coffee shop owner who judges for the United States Barista Championship, gaining insight into the Springs’ excellent coffee scene
. We also detailed the difference between serviceable grab-and-go and drive-thru options (great if that’s your thing) and our finest third wave spots (perfection’s not always cheap), also noting a bounty of spots that fall somewhere in between, pulling some respectable shots. If you’re new to town or just looking for a shop that’s new to you, visit the link above for a pretty comprehensive list of more than 20 recommendations.
The downtown area and the city’s core hold the largest concentration of highlights — Loyal
, the list goes on — so this year (since we can’t not talk about coffee and we wanted to pen something fresh), we’re making picks for other parts of town, ideally to cue you in for when you’re running errands and need a capable pick-me-up, or if you’re seeking a destination drive for some drip.
Owner Shanyka Lock-Alcordo told the Indy last year
“Our mission is to be in places we aren’t expected to be.” Which explains the location in an underserved area just outside Fort Carson (and an upcoming mobile unit for the southeast side). A quality coffee shop utilizing Building Three-roasted beans, sharing a shopping center with a vape shop, strip club and pizza spot: Right on! Order the Buzzed Badger, essentially an orange-dark chocolate-cayenne pepper mocha, or Honey Badger, infused with just enough local honey syrup, with a nutmeg garnish.
Oskar Blues subsidiary Hotbox Roasters supplies the house drip and espresso, while local roasters are also rotated into offerings like pourovers. House-made syrups make for nicely non-cloying drinks, like a honey lavender latte. Or go for a spice-forward cardamom ginger latte. Springtime saw a cherry blossom matcha latte as a special. Are you getting the picture? This place is good! Co-owner Kate Firoved trained at Seattle’s corporate Starbucks location, and co-owner Haleigh Dehn came from former proprietorship of the south end’s Public House.
Spotlighting the roasting of neighboring Hold Fast Coffee
, Peak Place also serves a rotating selection from other area roasteries; last time we were in, Denver’s fine Corvus Coffee informed our excellent traditional-sized (8-ounce) cappuccino. Taste from a variety of gadgetry, like an AeroPress, Chemex or Hario V60. Sound scientific? It is, in terms of reaching to find the best expression of a given bean. Peak Place is up there with the best locally.
Java Punk Coffee
Keyword: steampunk. Java Punk’s cool as hell, stylish with steampunk decor and personality. More importantly, it’s brought third wave coffee to the Powers Boulevard corridor. (You know how downtowners gripe about having to drive out east for something? Yeah, well, easterners gripe about the same thing, like driving 25 minutes for a serious cup of coffee, says co-owner Stephanie Hinton.) Inertia Coffee Roasters
provides the beans, and Java Punk does interesting drinks with them, like The Strand: three espresso shots over a couple spoonfuls of framboise raspberry jam and fresh blackberries, with raspberry syrup-drizzled whipped cream.
Taking on two Starbucks locations near them, Serranos roasts a new dark bean or blend monthly, making all its espresso drinks with the popular house Carl’s Blend, named after owner/roaster Carl Nolt. Monin syrups help compose a variety of popular sweet drinks, a highlight to any visit. As of this writing, to give a sense of Serranos’ tone, the monthly drink specials were: a Nutty Irishman with Irish cream and hazelnut; a crème brûlée latte with hazelnut and caramel; and the Emerald Island Snowball, described as a milkshake-like white chocolate and frosted mint drink. Bonus while in the area: Check out Palmer Lake’s capable Speedtrap, which serves a very fun Nutella Latte.
When last by this worthwhile stop on any Highway 24 jaunt, we spoke with staff about catering to local palates while still trying to lean third wave
. What that looks like tends to be a balance between medium and dark roasts, like a house-roasted Ethiopian-Guatemalan blend. Notably, the latte art’s on point here, so expect a really pretty presentation. Make it a mocha, or cinnamon-dusted cappuccino, or whatever you fancy from the wider menu, including tea drinks.