Caffeine Crawl Colorado’s first weekend showcases Boulder and Fort Collins’ epic coffee cultures
BY SADIE COLWELL
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE
A warm summer night in the shoadow of the Rockies, a keg of beer, and a slew of baristas ready to pour ”this combination could mean only one thing: Caffeine Crawl Colorado! The first of two events kicked off at Barista Pro Shop with a Thursday Night Throwdown to go down in history. Shots were pulled on a Stella di Caffé, Pacific Barista Series Almond milk was steamed and swirled, and judges called the shots as happy winners took home prizes from Barista Pro Shop, Dragonfly Coffee Roasters, Sweet Bloom Coffee, Barista Magazine and The LAB.
Caffeine Crawl Fort Collins started strong at Harbinger Coffee, with Andy Sprenger of Sweet Bloom Coffee joining Harbinger’s Jonathan Jarrow for a great presentation on coffee sourcing, roasting and brewing highlighted by Andy’s Ethiopian Reko. Crawlers departed on foot or bike for Bindle Coffee, where they excitedly took a lesson on espresso extraction. In keeping with FoCo’s thriving bike culture, The Coffee Registry set up at Eastside Park with a pedal-powered coffee bar and kegged cold brew to beat the heat.
Bean Cycle took the cold brew game up a notch with a delightfully refreshing, Kyoto-based Coffee Arnold Palmer, and Derrick helped inquisitive Crawlers brew their own iced Chemex and V60. We gave our caffeine receptors a pleasant change of pace with matcha tea and good vibes at Happy Lucky’s Teahouse before heading to Starry Night Espresso Cafe, where to our delight, frappes and fresh baked biscotti were waiting. We were thrilled to add Everyday Joe’s to this year’s lineup: The volunteer run cafe serves up Huckleberry Roasters and a whole lot of community. Aaron and the team handed out root beer milk lattes while Chris shared Everyday Joe’s vision for connection through neighborhood outreach and great coffee in Fort Collins.
At Nuance, Toby told the story of how he and his wife came to be chocolate makers as we sniffed our way through the chocolate-making process, from raw cacao bean to the final product ”in this case, delicious cacao nib studded milk chocolate bars.
We arrived in Boulder early Saturday morning and donned our bike helmets ”tasting comparisons awaited! Crawlers grabbed Yelp swag bags filled with samples of Prana chai to brew at home, a coffee flavor wheel magnet from Midwest Coffee Trading, swag from OZO and Boulder Channel 1, Earnest Eats bars for between-coffee snacking and more. Dragonfly Coffee Roasters served a Clover-brewed geisha alongside an ˜espresso mint julep,’ a refreshing twist on traditional iced espresso drinks. OZO brewed two coffees ”a natural and a washed Ethiopian ”three ways: French press, Chemex and V60 ”to highlight different flavor aspects.
We sipped ice-cold glasses of nitro tapped coffee at The Cup, and learned a little more about sustainability and their farmer relationships from Chris. Espresso and poetry mingled well at Innisfree Poetry Bookstore and Cafe, and Buchanan’s Coffee Pub compared brew methods using an Ethiopian coffee. Trident Booksellers and Cafe welcomed us to the back patio and presented a variety of differently processed teas, including Darjeeling, Oolong and Pu-erh.
At The Unseen Bean, we tried medium and dark roasted brews as Gerry shared his love of coffee and his journey of learning to roast without sight ”an inspiring story! Sarah’s passion for the chocolatier life shines in every piece of chocolatey goodness she makes, and Piece, Love, and Chocolate delighted our taste buds. Pekoe Sip House served an icy blended matcha drink titled œThe Green Buddha, and the team happily answered all our questions about different kinds of tea. Josh of The Coffee Ride set up shop at The Pro’s Closet (fittingly, a bike shop) to serve cold brew topped with San Pellegrino and share his unique business model ”delivering fresh-roasted coffee to Boulder via bike.
We ended the weekend with cold beer and new friends on the patio at Upslope Brewing, hosted by Dragonfly Coffee. Caffeine Crawl Colorado weekend #1 was a sunny and caffeinated success, and Northern Colorado has thoroughly won our hearts.
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.