National Coffee Day was this past week and I realize that even though I do not need to have coffee everyday, I do love coffee and the coffee culture I see in my area. This is not a definitive list of the best x, y, z but what I can personally recommend based on where I spend my money based out of the northwest Denver area. The coffee has to be good and the community has to be inviting to consistently get my coin.
Confluence (Two Rivers Coffee x Sweet Bloom Coffee)
This is a new combining of forces of two of the best coffee experiences I have consistently gone to over the years. Eric at Two Rivers Coffee has really stood out to me over the years for being a purveyor of exceptional craft coffee in the area. In the beginning he brewed Sweet Bloom coffee in his shop and recommended it to me as the best beans in the area. I lived between the two shops for years and would go between them whining about why Arvada had such a great coffee shop and wondering why I thought the best beans in the nation were so close to us with Sweet Bloom in Lakewood. To be fair I have seen Sweet Bloom beans in the most random but high-quality places around the country so I am not hyping them for no reason. Recently they announced they are joining forces and I am thrilled because both businesses have been consistently fantastic.
Ampersand Roasters (Federal Coffee and Global Goods)
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I do not often see coffee from Chiapas, Mexico so jumped on this @ampersand.coffeeroasters bag while at @federal.coffee yesterday. HOLY WOW will you look at that crema! It is absolutely delicious with some big ol’ fatty beans. Thank you Sonia for bringing this into my life.
Sonia Rosas at Federal Coffee introduced me to Ampersand Coffee Roasters when her shop opened at Federal and 23rd. As a fellow brown woman from Los Angeles I was so excited to see her shop open then was elated that her americanos did not suck. They are really good and so is the SoCal vibe she has cultivated in her shop. It is welcoming to all kinds of people in an effortless way.
She introduced me to Ampersand as a mission-driven roaster that work with agreements for coffee-producing operations around the world where women benefit from their labor in the coffee industry. Their tagline is “Empowerment Through Coffee” and the tasting options at their storefront in Gunbarrel are generous. I have also found Ampersand at the mission-driven Global Goods coffeehouse in Arvada that uses volunteers to fund initiatives to support African conflict refuges in their co-working and coffeehouse space. Please note that Global Goods also has the best pie I have found in the Front Range.
In northwest Denver finding a small coffeehouse with parking and ease can be a little difficult but there is Dolce Sicilia. Wheat Ridge is the bedroom city just west of Denver proper and you can find a little Italian bakery that is consistently applauded for their baked goods. What people overlook all the time is the small servings of heaven in the Lavazza coffee cups (if you order for there). They have been the best americano and cappuccino in Wheat Ridge for quite some time.
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My #freeday volunteer shift at @denverzoo was canceled because of ❄️ so I am taking a few to sip an americano at @whittiercafe when I spied a #winterwarmup box at the cafe. Donate gloves, boots, jackets, hats, scarves, socks for families and people in need. Are you donating gently used or new items for those who can use them? We have this program, #coatsforcolorado @impactdenver and many others through the Denver metro area. Every area seems to have something to donate or receive if you are in need. Empathy is why we help each other ❤️
You cannot talk about best coffee and coffee shops in Denver without mentioning Whittier Cafe. The owner Millete Birhanemaskel is from Ethiopia herself and knows a thing or two about coffee with even having offerings for coffee ceremonies. The coffee is good but the community that rallies around this business is even better. If you are a person who walks the path of caring for others and turning out for community you will always run into customers willing to collaborate on a variety of topics. I do have to give another coffee ceremony shout out to Sara Gebre of Jebena Coffee & Culture who can bring ceremonies to you with her catering and event offerings that are delicious.
For cold coffee I gotta give it up to Beet Box (who rocks vegan everything with beans and greens being my favorite food there even though they are known for beet brownies and donuts), Blue Sparrow (the best CBD coffee IMHO), and Queen City for providing the creamiest nitro cold brew.
When I will get something beyond black coffee or americanos my go-to is Amethyst Coffee at Lakeside or Broadway. They are very punny and will put creamy cashew milk in anything. I had a hot drink there recently that even had cashew milk, tahini, and black sesame seeds that knocked my socks off. I also gotta give up coffee concoctions to Downpours on Tennyson who for years has greeted fall with trays of freshly roasted sugar pumpkins to make a pumpkin syrup from real food if you are into pumpkin lattes.
Cafe con Leche
Cafe con leche gets it own niche with my recommendations. You can get cow milk or other milk at Cherry Bean who goes easier on the sugar. You can get a full blast of sugar unless you get the vanilla soy in which case most baristas will tone down the sugar for you at Buchi.
I know I’ll edit this section many times because we have so much GREAT COFFEE in our area. The espressos at Cafe Parisi and Tavernetta are fantastic. I am pretty excited to try the affogato or cold brew float at Smith + Canon Ice Cream Co.