The 50th Caffeine Crawl took place in Northern Colorado, and showcased the rich and exciting coffee scenes of Boulder and Fort Collins, CO.
Summer in Northern Colorado set the stage for an epic 50th Caffeine Crawl ”30 local cafes, roasters, chocolatiers, tea houses, juicieries and even a popsicle shop participated in a great weekend spent touring the best of Boulder and Fort Collins by bike, foot and car.
With a view of the Flatirons and the bustling energy of Pearl Street on a summer Saturday, we kicked off Caffeine Crawl Boulder at OZO Coffee ”a demo of three different manual brewing methods served side by side highlighted the flavor differences produced by each one. Allegro Coffee Roasters at Whole Foods Market welcomed Crawlers with an award winning Rwandan coffee brewed via Chemex, and a cold brew with almond milk and honey.
Along the crawl were a number of specialty producers sharing goods and explaining how they make their products. Piece, Love & Chocolate explained their chocolate making process and sampled a spicy drinking chocolate alongside cappuccino truffles. The Cup Espresso Cafe served up chilled nitro coffee with a Honduran cold brew and their espresso blend on nitro tap as well. The Point Cafe took the nitro game up a notch with nitro cold brew AND a unique nitro coconut milk chai, plus whole bean samples for continued home bar goodness. The Unseen Bean welcomed us with brewed coffee and coffee chocolate to nibble while Gerry Leary, owner and roaster, shared his journey of learning to roast without sight ”an inspiring story!
Alpine Modern served a delicious Kenya AA and shared their company’s vision and cafe ambiance. We sampled delicious house made chai and oolong tea at The Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse, and explored the uniquely historic building. Dragonfly Coffee Roasters poured Kenya AA V60 brews paired with a local lavender honey on the back porch of Trident Booksellers and Cafe, and Seeds Library Cafe took coffee + food pairing to a whole new level ”a flavorful fresh veggie bite alongside a cold brew, peach and basil tonic. Ku Cha House of Tea prepared a traditional Chinese tea ceremony highlighting Oolong tea in their gorgeous tea room.
Sunday morning dawned warm and sunny, and Nuance Chocolate kicked off the sold out Caffeine Crawl Fort Collins with an amazing flavor exploration through Ghana, the Dominican Republic and an incredibly rare Peruvian single origin chocolate.
Bindle Coffee got bike routes off to a great start with a lineup of summer signature drinks, a roasting demo and cupping, and some killer pastries ”lemon lime zucchini cakes and mini rose peach empanadas. Equipped with new knowledge ”how aging affects the flavor of coffee ”we geared up and headed to our next stops in typical Fort Collins’ fashion: via bike!
The Coffee Registry set up shop at Genesis Coffee ”a cafe creating opportunities and new beginnings for at-risk youth in the Fort Collins community. We sampled a Colombia Inza Verdeas Vecinos Chemex brew while Brett Prior, director of Genesis Coffee, shared the unique mission of the cafe. Switching gears to nitro, ‘The Ordinary’ cold brew flowed freely while Coffee Registry owner and roaster David Sutton explained his company’s presence in the FoCo coffee scene. Cranked Up Coffee had more nitro cold brew on tap at the corner of Mountain and College, and a delicious exploration of community and coffee welcomed us at Everyday Joe’s. Eric Wrisner, co-founder of Flat Hat Coffee, explained the difference between cold brew and iced coffee, and we sampled both in the bright, cheery museum cafe.
The first ever Caffeine Crawl popsicle stop did not disappoint ”Revolution Artisan Pops served up coffee cream popsicles using Harbinger Coffee and Morning Fresh Dairy cream, as well as a hibiscus raspberry pop using Happy Lucky’s Teahouse tea. Bean Cycle Roasters sampled a horchata-based summer drink and sent Crawlers home with the recipe, and we sampled three unique beverages at Happy Lucky’s Teahouse ”not technically in the tea family, but tasty nonetheless.
Harbinger Coffee served up iced coffee and a return of the famous ‘coffee foam’ from the first Fort Collins Caffeine Crawl, alongside juice samples from Wunder Juice. Ku Cha House of Tea took us on an exploration of tea, and Mugs Coffee Lounge had a full tasting menu waiting, including house made pastry pairings, signature drinks, and iced teas. Beagle Coffee Co and Lion Head Coffee wrapped up our FoCo experience with a roasting demonstration and a delicious coffee whiskey cocktail. Beth Kopp, Wolverine Farm Letterpress & Publick House manager, shared the mission of the company with us before serving up a tasty New Belgium & Bean Cycle Roaster’s collaboration coffee beer to kick off the afterparty!
A lineup of awesome door prizes including giveaways from Topo Designs, Pi Chai and participating shops highlighted the event, and local musicians provided an awesome ambiance. We couldn’t have put on the 50th Caffeine Crawl without the help of our amazing sponsors ”Toddy, Wholesome Sweeteners, Earnest Eats, Zipcar, Yelp, Conundrum Coffee, InterAmerican Coffee, Barista Magazine, and Colorado Coffee Collective, just to name a few!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brimming with ambition, sarcasm, and caffeinated zeal, Sadie Renee is fascinated by all things beverage and the extraordinary humans that make them. A KCMO native loving life in Fort Collins, Colo., she spends most of her time drinking extravagant amounts of coffee and planning the next Caffeine Crawl for The LAB. When she’s not on a plane to a beverage destination, you can find her conducting research at a local brewery or pouring the occasional latte behind the bar at Everday Joe’s Coffehouse. After she lets her dog take her for a long, vivacious walk around the neighborhood, she likes to soak up some mountain magic and wind down with a good cocktail.