Food & Drink » Dining Reviews

Wayfinder Coffee Co shows quality roasting and baking


Wayfinder’s stylish space backdrops well-made drinks. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Wayfinder’s stylish space backdrops well-made drinks.
Head north on Austin Bluffs Parkway, between Stetson Hills and Dublin boulevards, and amidst a sea of homes you’ll find a small shopping center hosting a CrossFit gym, liquor store and the newly opened Wayfinder Coffee Co. (Beefcake, brews and beans ... bully.)

Wayfinder co-owners Anna Summers and Megan Libby told the Indy back in August the name stood symbolic of both a landmark, in this case for gathering community, plus a guide to international flavors. When I speak with Summers post-meal on-site, she adds that she also wants guests to feel a bit like they’re traveling even if they’re just down the street from their home. She and Libby, close since high school, have explored the world on trips together over the course of a decade, gathering culinary and cultural insight, she says; both count some past restaurant experience, too.

Their globetrotting theme sets the tone of a visit, reinforced by giant-sized maps and vintage-style suitcases and luggage lockers creatively utilized as bookcases, or hand towel holders in elegantly tiled bathrooms. (Cloth towels, a sophisticated touch seldom seen outside The Broadmoor.) Traffic flows around a beautiful service bar topped in a zig-zagging exposed wood beam canopy, built by Libby’s father. A shiny new Diedrich roaster looms behind a glass enclosure; Libby attended training classes hosted by Diedrich Roasting School and sought mentorship from Denver’s Copper Door Coffee Roasters (also proudly woman-owned) before developing Wayfinder’s house labels.
Location Details Wayfinder Coffee Co.
6140 Austin Bluffs Pkwy.
Colorado Springs, CO
6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday-Friday; 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday-Sunday
Coffee Shop
As evidenced by a completely proficient 8-ounce cappuccino, a sample of a clean espresso shot, plus a nicely under-sweet, spice-forward holiday gingerbread latte, the tutelage paid off. Libby prefers a darker Italian roast style, available in Wayfinder’s Trailblazer blend of Brazilian, Guatemalan and Ethiopian beans: “We went for a more robust style,” says Summers, “we want to focus on caramel and chocolate flavors in an espresso that holds up to milk better.” But they also cater to preferences for lighter roasts, and do cold brew and pourovers. If you don’t dig coffee at all, get an Italian soda, like the Cranberry Snow, its San Pellegrino base infused with a touch of elderflower and cranberry syrups and lime juice, with an aromatic thyme sprig playing garnish.

Both woman bake, so accompanying pastries lean imperfectly authentic and charming. Which is to say I’m unconcerned to knock the density of my croissant’s dough because I’m enjoying the lavish chocolate filling too much. And I don’t care if my dark chocolate cookie cloys with a crumble of candy cane atop, because a respectable cookie should on Christmas week, and it’s otherwise divinely rich. Zero grievances on a moist, fluffy sparkling apple cider muffin exuding baking spices essence or a pretty “cream cheese crown” of folded croissant dough enveloping dark fruit compote under a tacky textured sweetened cream cheese dollop. These flavors travel.

To India next, with a pop of sweetness from Major Grey’s mango-raisin spiced chutney on a toasted turkey and Swiss panini. Dip its crunchy crust into hearty, chunky and herbaceous tomato soup. Or dunk the whole Caesar’s Choice panini in, the soup’s acidity playing off the brined artichoke hearts’, with red peppers and wilted spinach sweating into melted Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses.

This is simple enough and affordable café fare, grapes and potato chips unpretentiously accompanying sandwiches as if in a kid’s lunchbox, but it’s quality, and well planned, like a good voyage should be. Next on the itinerary: a wine and beer menu launching around month’s end.

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