You want a cup of coffee. But not just any cup of coffee. You want to know your beans. Where they came from. How fresh they are. And how they were handled before they became your wake-up call. The best way to do that? Seek out a local roaster.
To help you along, we've got the scoop on 14 in the Springs area, plus a Pueblo favorite.
625 W. Colorado Ave., barista-ecocoffees.com
Two-decade-old Barista Espresso roasts in a warehouse off West Colorado Avenue. Barista uses a drum roaster with an afterburner, which, according to one of their staff members, "is really important so we don't pollute." Individuals can buy fair-trade and organic-certified beans on-site (like its classic Five Bean House Espresso sourced from around South and Central America), but Barista is primarily a wholesaler, so your best bet is to find its coffees at local restaurants and coffee shops, such as The Coffee Exchange (526 S. Tejon St.), Jives Coffee Lounge (16 Colbrunn Court), and Over Easy (28 S. Tejon St.; 5262 N. Nevada Ave., #100).
757 Gold Hill Place, Woodland Park, 687-6670
Formerly a Gold Hill Java location, bought by former employees Dennis and Emilie Fryer, Cafe Leo roasts small batches of single-origin coffees for their cozy cafe, and Dennis says they really focus hardest when roasting or pulling "beautiful espresso shots" in the elegant aftermath.
Colorado Coffee Merchants
302 E. Fillmore Ave.,coloradocoffeemerchants.com
Colorado Coffee Merchants owner Eric Umenhofer has been air-roasting the Ümpire Estate and Idle Truck brands for 10 years. Drop by the shop mid-morning for an espresso drink or a cup of his popular smoky-sweet 1918, and there's a good chance you'll get to watch, hear and smell their beans go through the roasting process — and get a full explanation of the system if you ask. CCM coffee can also be found in drinks at shops including Peak Place Coffeehouse (2360 Montebello Square Drive, Suite H-1), Agia Sophia (2902 W. Colorado Ave.), and Library 21c's Her Story Café (1175 Chapel Hills Drive).
Firedance Coffee Company
2814 N. Prospect St., firedancecoffee.com
A 14-year-old wholesaler, partly specializing in flavored coffees used for fundraising by local churches and the like. Try them at Bikini Xpresso locations (bikini-xpresso.com), Humble Coffee (2103 Templeton Gap Road) or Caspian Cafe (4375 Sinton Road).
High Rise Coffee Roasters
2421 W. Cucharras St., springscoffee.com
Toby Anderson, owner of High Rise Coffee Roasters, carries 38 varietals, with 12 to 14 roasted and on the line ready for sales. "We try to get everything off the line in a week," he says. "The big deal is freshness." You can purchase his drum-roasted beans at High Rise's Cucharras location, or taste the coffee at Maté Factor Café (966 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs), Ski Barista (124 E. Cheyenne Mountain Blvd.) and Nosh (121 S. Tejon St.) — or at any of the local Discover Goodwill retail centers.
Mission Coffee Roasters
11641 Ridgeline Drive, #170, missioncoffeeroasters.com
Owner Brett Bixler has been roasting beans since 1991, most recently over the past two years in the Springs through Mission Coffee Roasters. He uses a Diedrich infrared-based drum roaster, which processes "clean, fresh, hot air through a heat exchanger," resulting in a coffee that's "sweet and clean." Taste the result at Mission's north-end coffee shop — and at the new CityRock Climbing Center cafe Ute & Yeti (21 N. Nevada Ave.), from which a portion of the proceeds support outdoor adventure nonprofit UpaDowna. Or look for Mission's beans around town — they'll soon be at local Whole Foods markets.
Pikes Perk air-roasts its beans, and owner Rick Roehrman finds a primary home for them at Pikes Perk Coffee & Tea House (5965 N. Academy Blvd., #203). You can also find them at Boonzaaijer's Dutch Bakery (610 E. Fillmore St.) and Adam's Mountain Café (26 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs), where the restaurant features a unique-to-it fair trade/organic dark blend, available via the espresso bar or in half-pound bags by special order.
Purple Mountain Coffee
218 W. Colorado Ave., purplemountaincoffee.com
Abby Kreuser and her mom Pat started Purple Mountain in 1998. A few years ago, they sold the business to The Perk Downtown (14 S. Tejon St.), and the Perk wisely kept Abby on. The drum-roasting process is now done out of a space at her Kreuser Gallery (218 W. Colorado Ave.). You can pick up varietals, blends or "Dancing Chile Pepper"-flavored coffee beans there, or at places such as the Garden of the Gods Trading Post (324 Beckers Lane, Manitou Springs) — or just pop by the Perk and have them whip you up something special.
R&R Coffee Café
11424 Black Forest Road, rnrcoffeecafe.com
R&R has been air-roasting small batches in Black Forest for seven years now, currently under the Golden Pine Coffee Roasters label. Stop by the café for a basic cuppa the signature dark-roast Forest Mint Blend, a "frou-frou" espresso drink, or a pour-over flight of four different brews. You can also find R&R coffee being used at Special Grounds (7601 N. Union Blvd.) and Wesley Owens Coffee (1744 Lake Woodmoor Drive, Monument), or purchase bags of beans at Sparrow Hawk Gourmet Cookware (120 N. Tejon St.).
Serranos Coffee Company
625 Highway 105, Monument, serranoscoffee.com
Serranos Coffee Company opened up 20 years ago, and manager Elliott Shindel says its best-selling barrel-roasted beans are probably "Carl's Blend," named for owner Carl Nolt (who's been roasting for much longer than the shop's been running). The reason they're a favorite? "They're not too dark, and not too light," Shindel says, "so I think they hit people's taste buds just right." Stop by the Monument cafe to try out a drink or take home a bag of beans.
Solar Roast Coffee
226 N. Main St., Pueblo,solarroast.com
Solar Roast claims the title of "world's only commercial, solar powered coffee roaster," with a process that's "slow and low, like a good BBQ." Though it's been based in Pueblo since 2007, with a coffee house on Main Street, Solar Roast's organic beans (such as the signature Solaris Blend) can be purchased in the Springs at Natural Grocers (7690 N. Academy Blvd., 1825 S. Nevada Ave.) and Mountain Mama Natural Foods (1625 W. Uintah St.).
Spanish Peaks Coffee
1044A Elkton Drive, spanishpeakscoffee.com
Spanish Peaks launched in Pueblo but now calls the Springs home, as a micro roaster, product distributor and wholesaler: Coffees served at spots like Coyote's Coffee Den (675 Hwy. 115, Penrose) and The Heavenly Dessert Bakery & Cafe (3475 Pine Tree Square, Suite D).
2330 N. Wahsatch Ave., stircoffeeshop.com
Owner Sabrena Soong procures beans through and roasts under R&R's Golden Pine label. She serves a variety of coffees and specialty drinks alongside celebrated pies, inside an artsy, converted old auto garage.
SwitchBack Coffee Roasters
330 N. Institute St., switchbackroasters.com
In four years, SwitchBack has moved from a small storefront on Colorado Avenue to a larger space on Institute Street, and then expanded into the next-door Fifty Fifty Coffee House. It now sells both roasted and green beans (if you want to try roasting at home), and espresso and manual brews. You can also find their coffee at Wild Goose Meeting House (401 N. Tejon St.) and at Nourish Organic Juice (303 E. Pikes Peak Ave.). Keep an eye out for the Peak Bagger Guatamalan/Ethiopian Blend — it's chocolaty, syrupy and slightly stone-fruity.
1025 S. Sierra Madre St., urbansteamcoffee.com
Kelly Bubach opened Urban Steam 2½ years ago. Find everything from espresso to pour-over single cups (alongside waffles or paninis) in the cafe. Bubach says because his operation roasts at such a small capacity, drinkers can pick up some really unusual coffees when available — from the naturally processed Yemen and Ethiopian Red Sea Blend, to the Anokhi, a blueberry-forward Indian Liberica.
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