Growth of the Denver Coffee Roasting Scene
Like many parts of the United States, the growth of independent coffee roasters in Denver, Colorado has really taken off in recent decades. Before 2003 or so, the number of independent roasters in the area could be counted on less than two hands; today, there seems to be one on every street corner- becoming more ubiquitous by the day.
What has caused this spike in popularity? Part of the reason is due to increased awareness and demand for high quality coffee- fueled by the growth of Starbucks and the subsequent flourishing of the independent café scene. However, maybe the biggest reason for the spike in coffee popularity in the area was the expansion of the local craft beer and culinary scenes, encouraging consumers to pay close attention to quality ingredients and methods of preparation. Together, these factors lead to one of the larger city-specific coffee booms in the United States.
Denver Coffee Roasters Reviewed
Let’s look at some of the options available for locally roasted coffee in Denver, and some of the ways these roasters differ from each other.
Copper Door Coffee Roasters
Locations: 7581 E Academy Blvd
900 W 1st Ave #180
At the time of writing: 4.4/5 rating across three review aggregators you've definitely heard of.
Like the bulk of coffee roasters in the area, Copper Door Coffee Roasters also operates a café front that also sells various pastries and has vegan options. Before their café opening, they specialized solely in the wholesale market between 2006-2014. Their cafes are small with no frills, but are exceptionally comfortable and their main focus is quality coffee. They have several freshly roasted options, such as Brazil Serra Negra, Costa Rica Santa Elena, as well as several other single origin options and a couple espresso blends.
One perk that Copper Door offers is homemade syrups for flavoring lattes, instead of mass produced ones that are more popular for café chains. While many love their coffee, it is pricey: the 16 oz bag of Brazil Serra Negra comes in at $15.95, and the prices only go up from there.
Additionally, Copper Door is also a 100% female owned coffee roaster.
Pablo’s Coffee – 6th Avenue
Locations: 3806, 630 E 6th Ave
At the time of writing: 4.33 rating across three review aggregators you've definitely heard of.
Founded in 1995, Pablo’s Coffee – 6th Avenue is one of the older roasters in the Denver area. Their selection of roasted coffee is quite large, including a variety of both single origin options- such as their Papua New Guinea Nebilyer Valley- and blends- such as their Two Stroke Smoke. While a 12 oz bag will run you about $13, many swear by Pablo’s blends.
The location is known for its elaborate, artsy, and roomy interior. One potential downside, however: they don’t offer WiFi. Some customers claim that this is a benefit and promotes social interaction, but those who want to work or casually browse are out of luck. If stopping in for breakfast, you’ll have several food options ranging from pastries to burritos, as well as various dairy and non-dairy milks.
Locations: 4301 N Pecos St
1800 Wazee St
At the time of writing: 4.53 rating across three review aggregators you've definitely heard of.
Huckleberry got their start as a roaster in one of the owner’s garages, but as the business started to blossom, opening a café was the best way for them to grow. They offer a modest selection for a specialty roaster, but do offer some exceptional single origin and national blends. One of their stars is their Kenya Gichuki, coming in at $21.50 for 12 oz, and traceable to a single, family owned farm.
Some say that their interior art is a little strange, but Huckleberry Roasters is often praised for its quiet and calm environment, as well as their drip coffee and cortados. With guests saying their coffee is aromatic and colorful, Huckleberry Roasters is a must try by anyone in the area. Additionally, Huckleberry Roasters prides itself on being socially conscious.
Sweet Bloom Coffee Roasters
Locations: 1619 Reed St
At the time of writing: 4.76 rating across three review aggregators you've definitely heard of.
Located just a hop, skip, and a jump outside of Denver, Sweet Bloom is known for their excellent roasts, as well as their “Connect with the Producer” initiative in which coffee producers from near and far are flown in to share their stories and meet the people who will be roasting and preparing their coffee. Sweet Bloom has options ranging from Ethiopia to Colombia, with each traceable to specific farms. Many reviewers claim Sweet Bloom Coffee Roasters has the best coffee they’ve ever tried, with others even claiming to have had otherworldly experiences while drinking it! Their current premium option is Gesha Village – Lot 86 from Bench Maji, Ethiopia – at $26 for 6 oz. While this may seem expensive, the price is fairly reasonable for ultra-premium coffee: Starbucks has options that go for over $50 for 8 oz.
Sweet Bloom Coffee Roasters has a café and retail front, however, it isn’t their main focus. The café offers all the staples; lattes, cappuccinos, drip coffee, and so on, in a warm, comfortable setting. Sweet Bloom also achieved the highest rating across the three reviewing aggregators we checked.
Corvus Coffee Roasters
Locations: 1740 Broadway
4925 S. Newport St
At the time of writing: 4.56 rating across three review aggregators you've definitely heard of.
Boasting several high-tech brewing methods and house roasted coffee, Corvus Coffee Roasters is a staple in the Denver area. According to locals, Corvus offers some of the best iced coffee available, and in a cozy setting with a notoriously friendly staff. However, many reviewers do note that the drink prices are a little steep and a lack of seating. Corvus offers a wide selection of espresso based beverages and standard coffee, in addition to a selection of seasonal beverages and pastries.
Corvus’s roasted coffee primarily consists of single origin blends, with 12 oz bags as low as $15. However, their premium Sidra Reserve Coffee from La Palma Estates in Colombia goes for $36 for 150g.
Kaladi Coffee Roasters
Locations: 1730 E Evans Ave
At the time of writing: 4.37 rating across three review aggregators you've definitely heard of.
Founded in 2000, Kaladi Coffee Roasters is a local favorite. Like many others on this list, they have an in house café that offers espresso beverages and regular coffee, as well as pastries. Locals praise the unique café environment, commenting that it doubles as a second home for hanging out, and also appreciate their fair menu pricing. Many say that they have the best espresso in the Denver area.
Their roasted coffee selection is also one of the largest on this list, with nearly all of their offerings being Fair Trade Certified. Compared to some others on this list, Kaladi beans are also some of the least expensive ones, coming in at around $15 for a pound, up to $16.75.
Locations: 7295 Washington St
At the time of writing: 3.9 rating across three review aggregators you've definitely heard of.
While nearly all the other roasters on this list have opened up within the past 20 years, Boyer’s Coffee has been around for quite a bit longer, predating Starbucks by six years. Roasted in the Rocky Mountains since 1965, Boyer’s boasts two seemingly ancient coffee roasters: one manufactured in 1915 and used primarily for their Old School Vintage Roasts and another made in 1944 used for almost everything else. One of their claims to fame is their high elevation bean storage and roasting, which they claim promotes a high elevation growth profile in their coffee.
Of all the roasters on this list, Boyer’s is perhaps the most “commercial”, being sold in select grocery stores. Some may be weary of this when considering speciality roasters, but it does imply a certain degree of value- most of their 12 oz bags coming in at $9.95. In addition, they also have a massive selection of beans to choose from, including single origin options. Locals love the open and inviting environment of the café front, and claim it is the best place to meet friends in the area. They also offer tea and pastries and are known for great customer service.
Grab a cup!
The coffee roasting scene in Denver, Colorado is still growing and these are just a handful of the options in the area. But, whether you’re looking for a special one time treat or a new regular specialty roaster, these roasters each offer something special. These roasters, and the larger coffee community in the city, have put Denver on the third-wave coffee map. Given such a vibrant coffee scene, you shouldn’t settle for anything less than a great cup of Joe!