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The Springs caffeine scene boasts big names and hidden gems

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Principal’s Office offers quality coffee education. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Principal’s Office offers quality coffee education.

Starbucks? Never heard of it. The Springs has so many tip-top quality coffee shops for folks who like getting their caffeine kick with a little class and refinement that the big chains feel downright outmoded. Good third-wave coffee — pour-overs and true-to-European-origins espresso drinks — abounds, to say nothing of more creative craft drinks with house syrups and other additions. Folks who want their go-fast juice a little more approachable have plenty of locally owned options that present a quality cuppa, too. Consider the following coffee shops just some of the headliners of the Springs coffee scene. Truly, these are just an entry point.

Story Coffee

120 E. Bijou St., storycoffeecompany.com

Located in an idyllic tiny house behind the band shell in Acacia Park, Story hit the Springs scene like a red eye. Owners Don and Carissa Niemyer and crew do their own roasting, offering single-origin beans and blends like their signature Walden blend, which is made with a changing selection of beans, mixed with a target flavor profile in mind. Try it in a range of signature drinks, like Story's sea salt caramel latte, which uses caramel from Pueblo's Hopscotch Bakery. Or go for a coffee flight or an industry favorite, the One and One, which presents an espresso and a macchiato for contrast. Bonus: Five percent of all revenue goes to the Marian House to support the Springs' homeless.

Principal's Office

1604 S. Cascade Ave., principalsoffice.co

Prepare to get schooled on some of the best roasts from around the region and across the country. Ivywild School's in-house coffee and cocktail bar brews traditional, cold and pour-over coffee from many roasteries, giving coffee lovers the chance to experience all manner of flavors. Plus, the spot's mock-cocktail offerings rate generally superlative, no surprise given the quality of alcoholic craft cocktails produced by the team. The PO space itself, tucked away from the larger dining room and just a door away from an east-facing patio, provides a quiet and intimate escape from the din of the school at large, a place for contemplation while you sit and appreciate a good coffee.

Building Three Coffee

2727 N. Cascade Ave., #155, building3coffee.com

When we see that local coffee shops are brewing beans from the Lincoln Center's in-house café and roastery, we feel more confident that we're in for a good cuppa in the immediate future. Their single-origin roasts burst with flavor wherever we've tried them, but there's no place like home. Building Three's staff comes up with creative signature drinks, too, such as a customer-favorite rosemary rooibos latte. Their clean, hip space makes for a fine community center besides, and those who aren't fans of coffee can enjoy kombucha from CoS'bucha and lemonade from the Pikes Peak Lemonade company.

Blank Coffee/Food - 600 S. 21st St., blankcoffee.co - This stylish spot in the Roundhouse on 21st Street - exclusively brews single-origin beans from Denver’s - Middle State Coffee, switching up which beans go into - which drinks on a regular basis. That makes Blank a - constant adventure for coffee lovers. Co-owner Vance - Garrett’s customized espresso maker helps baristas - pour more consistent shots, so that macchiato or cortado - will come out perfectly extracted every time. Day - to day, these coffees can be paired with bougie toasts - and gourmet house-made donuts. Keep an eye out for - regular collaboration dinners with Bonbon Bombardier - co-owner and chef Sean Price, too. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Blank Coffee/Food
    600 S. 21st St., blankcoffee.co
    This stylish spot in the Roundhouse on 21st Streetexclusively brews single-origin beans from Denver’sMiddle State Coffee, switching up which beans go intowhich drinks on a regular basis. That makes Blank aconstant adventure for coffee lovers. Co-owner VanceGarrett’s customized espresso maker helps baristaspour more consistent shots, so that macchiato or cortadowill come out perfectly extracted every time. Dayto day, these coffees can be paired with bougie toastsand gourmet house-made donuts. Keep an eye out forregular collaboration dinners with Bonbon Bombardierco-owner and chef Sean Price, too.

Loyal Coffee

408 S. Nevada Ave., loyalcoffee.co

This New South End spot's promoting community through efforts like their annual dis-loyalty card. It's like any other ubiquitous buy-however-many-coffee/get-one-free punch card, except customers get their punches from other coffee spots in town. It's cool that one of the best coffee shops in the Springs is trying to elevate the rest of the scene instead of playing it cutthroat. It's cool also that their beans, roasted off-site at a location in the Ivywild School, make some incredible coffee drinks. Their single-origin pour-overs in particular wow, bursting with notes we'd expect to only be subtly present. Plus, enjoy unique beverages like a housemade horchata, and quality food.

Peak Place

2360 Montebello Square Drive, Suite H1, peakplace.com

General Manager Vinnie Snyder has his fingers in a few coffee ventures, his Hold Fast Coffee Co. beans popping up at coffee shops across town. But at the proverbial mothership along north Academy Boulevard, it's hard to go wrong. Traditional espresso drinks showcase subtle flavors in each roast like the barista's trying to diagram whatever fruit, chocolate, herbal or other notes exist. On the quirky side, they've offered specials like a roast aged in Axe and the Oak whiskey barrels, sold by the bag and served on-site. With beer, wine and food also available at the spot, it's a fine destination at any time of day.

Blank Coffee/Food

600 S. 21st St., blankcoffee.co

This stylish spot in the Roundhouse on 21st Street exclusively brews single-origin beans from Denver's Middle State Coffee, switching up which beans go into which drinks on a regular basis. That makes Blank a constant adventure for coffee lovers. Co-owner Vance Garrett's customized espresso maker helps baristas pour more consistent shots, so that macchiato or cortado will come out perfectly extracted every time. Day to day, these coffees can be paired with bougie toasts and gourmet house-made donuts. Keep an eye out for regular collaboration dinners with Bonbon Bombardier co-owner and chef Sean Price, too.

A quiet cuppa

Looking for a cuppa somewhere quieter, maybe off the beaten path a little way? The Springs has a few spots just like that which shouldn't be missed by any coffee lover or even casual coffee dabbler...

Aptly named Perfect Blend: pastries and coffee. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Aptly named Perfect Blend: pastries and coffee.

1979 Coffee

240 E. Woodmen Road, woodmenvalley.org/rr1979coffee

Operated by Vinnie Snyder of Hold Fast Coffee Co. in the lower level of Woodmen Valley Chapel, this spot's well and truly off the beaten path, bearing no streetside signage of its own and tucked away in the church complex. It's somewhat outside of our wheelhouse to feature a place like this, but we think it's well worth the visit for three reasons. First, it's effectively a separate entity, and the church acts as a landlord. Second, Peak Place's beans and training mean the coffee and espresso drinks here, though simple, are as good as anywhere else in town. Third, it's ludicrously cheap for the quality. Want a stellar pour-over for $3? There's no competition.

The Perfect Blend Coffee House

5550 Library Lane, facebook.com/ThePerfectBlendco

Located a stone's throw from the East Library — and, consequently, an ideal place to camp out with a good book — Stephanie Polenz's coffee shop has been open since mid-2018. She brews beans from locals Mission Coffee Roasters, a reliable and widely used roastery, but she exclusively uses house-made syrups, offering flavors like lavender, raspberry, toffee nut and more. She aims to use as little sugar as possible in them, so it's easier to get a strongly flavored coffee beverage that isn't too sweet. Paired with baked goods from local Just BE's Pastries & More, they make for a strong reason to stop in.

R&R Coffee Cafe

11424 Black Forest Road, rnrcoffeecafe.com

An eatery that specializes in country-style cooking located in the heart of Black Forest may not seem like third-wave coffee paradise, but the open-minded have known about R&R for years now. Their house-roasted beans, sold under the brand Golden Pine Coffee Roasters, go into beverages that range from third-wave standards like single-origin pour-overs to more accessible fare. If one stops to think, it makes sense: Home cooking standards like biscuits and gravy made this well deserve a beverage crafted with just as much care. All they've done here is elevate the coffee to match the quality of the food.

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