With so much going on in specialty coffee in Colorado, Caffeine Crawls took place in Fort Collins and Boulder first, and recently in Denver and Colorado Springs, as well
BY SADIE COLWELL
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE
The second weekend in the Caffeine Crawl Colorado two-part series started on a high note with a packed cafe (and patio) at Huckleberry Roasters‘ kickoff party and latte art throwdown. And when Colorado Springs’ first Crawl began the next afternoon at Radiantly Raw Chocolate‘s new space in Manitou Springs, where Jacquie, Alan, and their team wowed Crawlers with raw chocolate truffles and a history of their company, the city couldn’t have been more welcoming.
Fifty Fifty Coffeehouse served delicious pourovers of Switchback Coffee Roasters‘ El Salvador and some welcomed snacks to balance the building caffeine buzz. After a short presentation by Heather, we were encouraged to mingle and make new friends in the spirit of Fifty Fifty’s community-oriented mission.
Class was in session at The Principal’s Office, and Tyler gave us plenty to think about as he described the hundreds of hands coffee passes through before arriving in our mugs. We thoughtfully sipped Onyx espresso and tonic, as well as a coffee-infused rum. Learning about neighborhood events and the great food and beverage program at Wild Goose Meeting House took place around their community table and over nitro cold brews, not to mention Left Hand Brewing‘s Milk Stout pairing (which was delightful). Peak Place Coffeehouse pulled out all the stops with an age-comparison coffee tasting to help us understand the flavor effects of time on roasted coffee, and Colony Class handed out cold brew and shared plans for their new cafe at Mountain Fold Books. The Mountain Fold crew served up Sweet Bloom pourovers, a peach galette, and a poetry reading, and then we headed to The Coffee Exchange for ˜white espresso’ drinks.
Switchback Coffee Roasters knows how to throw an afterparty, that’s for sure. We sipped wine provided by Colorado Collective, whiskey from Axe and the Oak, and beer from Fossil Brewing before heading inside to hear the Menendez family’s coffee story from Miguel, a fourth generation El Salvadoran coffee farmer. Simply put, Colorado Springs blew us away, and we headed to Denver in a happy coffee coma.
Saturday routes kicked off bright and early in the mile-high city: Pigtrain Coffee served Conscious Coffee cold brew on tap, and Huckleberry Roasters held a cupping just for Crawlers. Copper Door Coffee served a cold-brew flight and collaborated with Backyard Soda Co. (on hand with Earl Grey Lavender Soda samples) to create a 7-spice root beer coffee mocktail. Biking and driving routes ran all day, and we buzzed to Amethyst Coffee for blend vs. single origin Chemex brews, Commonwealth Coffee for a Costa Rican pourover vs. espresso, and Black Black Coffee for AeroPress and Chemex brews from Middlestate Coffee Roasters. To our delight, the Menendez family had more insight to share at Corvus, and Fluid Coffee compared chilled hot brew to cold brew as they prepped for their 10th anniversary celebration that evening. Boxcar Coffee at The Source sampled a unique cold brew method, and The Sophisticate’s Tea served up three chilled tea lattes from its mobile cart.
Drip Denver sampled a creamy Sumatran cold brew (with Bailey’s added by request!) and Metropolis offered a house-made blackberry iced tea in addition to cold brew. Purple Door Coffee shared its mission for employing homeless youths and young adults while maintaining a high standard for great coffee, and made good on its word with a stunning cherry coffee soda. Kenya was key at Thump Coffee, where we sipped a microlot iced Chemex brew, and at Sweet Bloom where we participated in a full cupping with a Kenyan coffee at three different roast levels.
Novo took ˜cold brew coffee cocktail’ to a new level with The Nautilus: Fort Collins Dancing Pines Gin & Brulee liqueur, orange zest, cold brew, and lightly whipped heavy cream. Going to Denver? You’ll want one of those.
Denver’s cafe scene has grown exponentially since the first Colorado Caffeine Crawl in 2011 The Colorado Springs coffee community is a hidden gem, and the people creating specialty coffee, tea, and chocolate there are truly exceptional. It was an absolute thrill to be sharing the caffeinated magic with coffee lovers and beverage creators. Until next year, Colorado!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brimming with ambition, sarcasm and caffeinated zeal, Sadie Colwell is fascinated by all things beverage and the extraordinary humans behind them. Recently relocated from KCMO to Fort Collins, Colorado, you can find her behind the bar of Harbinger Coffee or hunkered down with a cappuccino, fervently planning the next Caffeine Crawl or blogging for The LAB. When she isn’t traveling to caffeinated cities, she drinks a lot of local beer and lets her dog take her for long, vivacious walks through City Park.