Favorite

Coffee and tea houses 

When looking for a little more character than generic supermarket coffee offers, you turn to our local baristas. Many of their menu offerings are, of course, similar. But the way someone roasts, and what happens during the brewing and flavoring processes, can ultimately make or break a drink.

For the benefit of your caffeine intake, we spoke with all the local sit-down coffee shops we were able to reach and asked them to share a signature drink, and also the source of their product (in case you're loyal to a favorite roaster). For those not down with the bean, we also reached our tea houses to discuss their finest leaves.

Agia Sophia, 2902 W. Colorado Ave., 632-3322, agiasophiacoffeeshop.com

Source: Colorado Coffee Merchants

Get the: Dirty Chai (chai with espresso)

Black Bear Coffee and Tea Lodge, 6550 S. Academy Blvd., 226-2327

Source: Undisclosed

Get the: Mocha

Bona Dea Tea House & Emporium, 1824 W. Colorado Ave., 473-8322

Source: Undisclosed, but sourced internationally

Get the: Pear caramel truffle tea

C Cobb Creations Coffee Bar, 236 E. Cheyenne Mountain Blvd., 576-9835, cobbcreations.com

Source: Barista Espresso and Specialty Roasting

Get the: Latte

Canyon Coffee and Café, 1791 S. Eighth St., 633-7400

Source: High Rise Coffee Roasters

Get the: Caramel Canyon (caramel, milk, espresso)

Coffee Cantina, 1801 Cheyenne Blvd., 475-0888

Source: Barista Espresso and Specialty Roasting

Get the: Latte of the day

Coffee Exchange and Wine Bar, 526 S. Tejon St., 635-0277

Source: Barista Espresso and Specialty Roasting

Get the: White Zombie (white espresso, Ghirardelli white chocolate)

Connected Cup, 6071 E. Woodmen Road, 597-7300, connectedcup.com

Source: Serranos Coffee Company

Get the: Cappuccino

Copper Creek Coffee, 3315 Carefree Circle West, 597-4189

Source: Colorado Coffee Merchants

Get the: Irish Polar Bear (white chocolate, Irish cream, espresso, ice cream)

Cowboy Espresso, 105 S. Santa Fe Ave., Fountain, 382-6149

Source: Serranos Coffee Company; Barista Espresso and Specialty Roasting

Get the: Ying Yang (white and dark chocolate, light or regular espresso)

Cucuru Gallery Café, 2332 W. Colorado Ave., 520-9900, cucurugallerycafe.com

Source: High Rise Coffee Roasters

Get the: Cucuru Cuban (espresso with steamed cream and organic sugar)

Deb's Coffee House, 2 S. 25th St., 630-5100, debscoffeehouse.com

Source: Colorado Coffee Merchants

Get the: Hot chocolate

Heavenly Brew Coffee, 5547 Power Center Point, 282-4101

Source: Barista Espresso and Specialty Roasting

Get the: Knuckler (espresso, white chocolate)

Java Express Rx, 2504 Alteza Place, 570-0040, javaexpressrx.com

Source: Firedance Coffee Company

Get the: Mexican spiced cocoa

Kairos Coffee and Tea, 505 Popes Bluff Trail, 226-5150

Source: BuyWell Fair Trade Coffee

Get the: Carmelicious (caramel sauce, vanilla, espresso, milk)

Gift Shop Coffee House, 739 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-4438, giftshopmanitou.com

Source: Barista Espresso and Specialty Roasting

Get the: White chocolate almond latte

Lomer'e Fine Coffees, 1070 W. Baptist Road, 487-7788

Source: Undisclosed

Get the: Glacier (coffee, iced and blended)

The Maté Factor Café, 966 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-3235, thematefactorcafe.com

Source: A community in Brazil

Get the: Maté

Milt's Coffee Shop, 2314 E. Platte Ave., 634-9016

Source: Farmer Brothers Coffee Company

Get the: Drip coffee

Montague's Coffee House, 1019 S. Tejon St., 520-0672

Source: Barista Espresso and Specialty Roasting

Get the: Coconut Assam tea

Mountain Brew Espresso, 115 E. Kiowa St., 577-4347

Source: Barista Espresso and Specialty Roasting

Get the: Irish Nut Mocha (Irish crème, espresso, milk)

Mug Shots Coffee, 8836 N. Union Blvd., 648-1713

Source: Colorado Coffee Merchants

Get the: coffee (expanded menu in development)

Nemo's Coffee, 2230 E. Pikes Peak Ave., 635-2745, nemoscoffee.com

Source: Undisclosed

Get the: Drip coffee

Purple Mountain Coffee, 7601 N. Union Blvd., 272-4136

Source: Purple Mountain Coffee (separately owned and operated)

Get the: Dirty Mocha Frappe (ice cream, espresso, coffee grinds, crème de coco, vanilla syrup)

Rico's at Poor Richard's, 322 N. Tejon St., 630-7723, poorrichards.biz

Source: Purple Mountain Coffee

Get the: Spicy sipping chocolate

Speedtrap Coffeebar, 84 State Hwy. 105, Palmer Lake, 488-2007, speedtrapcoffeebar.com

Source: Serranos Coffee Company

Get the: The Entrapment (dark chocolate peppermint mocha)

Spice of Life Café, 727 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-5284

Source: Coffee Bean International, Portland, Ore.

Get the: Cheetah (chai and matte tea)

Wesley Owens Coffee, 1773 Lake Woodmoor Drive, Monument,481-2145

Source: Serranos Coffee Company

Get the: Bhakti chai

Wisdom Tea House, 65 Second St., Monument, 481-8822, wisdomteahouse.com

Source: Columbine Coffee Roasters; International Tea Importers

Get the: Kashmiri chai latte

Roasters

Though differentiating coffee roasters is difficult, as each are essentially sourcing the same product, variations do emerge when you consider the roaster's skill, as well as the method, roast profile and not a little luck, says Ryan Wanner, roaster for R&R Coffee Café.

"You'll never know everything," he says, "and as soon as you do you might as well get out of the business because you'll be proved wrong."

With that in mind, note that all our local roasters offer some combination of small-batch single-origin and blended coffees from around the world, usually with a selection of organic and fair-trade beans. Some roasters are effectively coffeehouses, too; others roast only for other businesses or retail operations. Those that have storefronts in which you can enjoy their specialty drinks will be highlighted below.

Barista Espresso and Specialty Coffee Roasters, 625 W. Colorado Ave., 578-1185

BB Bean Coffee, 829 N. Tejon St., 527-5048

Boulder Street Coffee Roasters, 332 N. Tejon St., 577-4291

Get the: White Hot Mocha (house white chocolate, espresso)

BuyWell Fair Trade Coffee, 4850 Northpark Drive, 598-7870, buywellcoffee.com

Coffee and Tea Zone, 25 N. Tejon St., 632-3887; 12225 Voyager Pkwy., 488-8893; 6628 Delmonico Drive, 599-8841; coffeeandteazone.com

Get the: Coconut Bubble Tea

Colorado Coffee Merchants, 302 E. Fillmore St., 473-8878, coloradocoffeemerchants.com

Get the: Iced mocha

Dog Tooth Coffee Company, 505 E. Columbia St., #100, 632-0125, dogtoothcoffee.com

Get the: Iced Go Dog Go (chocolate, espresso, hazelnut, vanilla, milk, French roast coffee)

Firedance Coffee Company, 2814 N. Prospect St., 577-4398, firedance-coffee.com

Get the: Valentino (white chocolate, raspberry, espresso, milk)

Gold Hill Java, 757 Gold Hills Place, Woodland Park, 687-6670

Get the: Mocha

High Rise Coffee Roasters, 2421 W. Cucharras St., 633-1833

Laura Lee's Teas, 2367 N. Academy Blvd., 634-5922, lauraleesteas.com

Get the: Cinnamon orange tea

My Cuppa Tea, 7828 N. Academy Blvd., 593-2386

Pikes Perk Coffee and Tea House, 5965 N. Academy Blvd., 522-1432; 14 S. Tejon St., 635-1600; Colorado Springs Airport, 596-1590; pikesperkcoffee.com

Get the: Latte

Purple Mountain Coffee, PO Box 62367, 487-1916, purplemountaincoffee.com

Raven's Nest Coffee, 330 N. Institute St., 632-3433

Get the: Raven's Nest Latte (blend of syrups, espresso)

R&R Coffee Café, 11425 Black Forest Road, Black Forest, 494-8300, rnrcoffeecafe.com

Get the: Caramel Happiness (two different caramels steamed into milk, espresso)

Serranos Coffee Company, 582 State Hwy. 105, Monument, 481-9445; 7335 N. Academy Blvd., 266-0843; serranoscoffee.com

Get the: Mocha

Solar Roast Coffee, 226 N. Main St., Pueblo, 719/544-2008; 3429 Dillon Drive, 719/289-7458; 210 N. Santa Fe Ave. (inside the Buell Children's Museum), 719/583-6216, solarroast.com

Get the: Bull Breaker (four espresso shots, chocolate, cayenne pepper)

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