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The Best Coffee Shops in Denver As Tried By a Local

Updated: Nov 1, 2022

Originally published on Hashtag Colorado Life.

When you think of Denver, Colorado, you might think of craft beer tours and beautiful hikes. But the Mile High City is known for so much more, including some of the best coffee shops around.

The city has a strong coffee culture and works hard to bring visitors a better-than-average cup of caffeine.

Whether you live here or you’re just visiting, you’ll find there are some really cool coffee shops in Denver.

As someone who is living and working in the city of Denver I’ve been searching for top coffee shops.

Here are the best coffee shops in Denver to sit and sip for a while. These are places that offer a delicious drink along with ethically sourced ingredients.

1. Corvus Coffee Roasters

To enjoy some of the best coffee in Denver that also improves the lives of farmers all over the world, head to Corvus Coffee Roasters.

Corvus founder, Phil Goodlaxson, began roasting coffee in his garage back in 2010, then eventually opened their South Broadway location in 2014.

Since then, the company has grown and expanded and now has four Colorado locations.

At Corvus, they focus on producing the best coffee from their South American and African partner farms. This in turn vastly improves the lives of the farmers and their communities who have dedicated their lives to growing quality coffee beans.

At the original South Broadway location, visitors can sip on deliciously crafted coffee while sitting in their comfortable, modern lounge.

Enjoy a light and refreshing cold brew, or if you’re feeling adventurous, try any of their reserve or exotic specialty coffees that offer the best tastes from Colombia, Bolivia, and beyond.

No matter what you try at Corvus Coffee Roasters, you can’t go wrong.

2. Jubilee Roasting Co.

At Jubilee Roasting Co. they believe that good coffee starts with good people. As soon as you walk into the small, sunny cafe off Park Ave, you’ll feel welcomed by the support staff behind the counter.

After having graduated college and living an adventurous van life, Jubilee’s owner, Peter, launched the business in Aurora back in 2016.

After the success of their Aurora location, they opened another coffee shop in downtown Denver where they roast their own beans in-house.

Grab a drink from their “secret menu” that’s always changing. Or get a nitro cold brew or kombucha straight from the tap. If you’re hungry, try any of their bakery goods or a fresh-made breakfast burrito.

After finishing your coffee, take a picture with the iconic Love This City Denver mural that’s just across the street!

3. Little Owl Coffee

Little Owl Coffee has been open since 2013, and is easily one of the best coffee shops in Denver’s downtown area.

They have their original Blake Street cafe, a new cafe on Tremont Street, and another cafe coming soon in Denver’s LoHi neighborhood. As the name suggests, Little Owl’s Blake Street cafe (located between Coors Field and Cherry Creek) is pretty little.

It offers a small seating area that sprawls outside and into the cozy lobby of the attached apartment complex.

Grab a cup of their Colombian roasted coffee, like the nougaty Roberto Sanchez or the fruity Penrose and curl up in one of the comfy lounge chairs for an afternoon.

The baristas at Little Owl welcome each visitor with friendly, caring attitudes as they craft quality lattes, drip coffees, and seasonal concoctions.

During the summer, they have a peaches and cream cold brew and a honey basil latte that are both as delicious as they sound.

Like their logo says, “We like people, and we love coffee.”

4. Dandy Lion Coffee

When you visit Dandy Lion Coffee, you’ll come in for a coffee and leave with a plant (or five).

After spending three years selling from a cart at RiNo’s Zeppelin Station, Duc and his wife, Dominique, established the new coffee shop in September 2021.

When Commonwealth Coffee merged with Huckleberry Roasters, the roasting warehouse on 38th Ave opened up, allowing the husband and wife team to expand their business.

To bring things full circle, now Dandy Lion Coffee offers Huckleberry coffee at their cafe!

One of the most popular drinks is their Vietnamese iced coffee that’s made with chicory cold brew coffee and condensed milk. The delicious combination creates a creamy, chocolatey caffeine boost.

Another great drink is the lavender latte made with three simple ingredients: lavender, espresso, and milk.

And if you’re looking for a less-caffeinated drink, try Ollie’s Drink (named after Duc and Dominique’s son) that’s a sweet mixture of iced chai, toffee nut, and macadamia milk.

While you enjoy your cup of coffee, sit on the cute hanging swings or shop for gorgeous plants, crystals, and more from this top coffee shop in Denver.

5. The Bardo Coffee House

With its comfortable, laid-back vibe, the Bardo Coffee House is a favorite spot for Denverites.

Locals can visit their current locations on South Broadway and West 38th Ave. And soon, you can also visit their new cafe on South Wadsworth Blvd.

The wind-powered coffee houses are open from 6am to midnight every day and have free wi-fi for late-night students and workers.

Some of their most popular drinks are their specialty lattes, like their signature Bardo latte that has a sweet, dark chocolate and vanilla flavor. This drink will remind you of a Tootsie Roll!

There’s also the Blondie latte that combines caramel and white chocolate (yum!), and their Dente latte that has notes of chocolate, cinnamon, and orange.

Bardo also offers a wide variety of baked goods, like chocolate croissants from Handcraft Bakery, delicious banana breads from City Bakery, and handmade breakfast burritos that they make in-house.

As they say, “Your cup of sanity awaits…”

6. Whittier Cafe

Nestled in Denver’s Whittier neighborhood is the city’s only African espresso bar, Whittier Cafe.

Whittier cafe, has been nicknamed “The activists’ coffee shop” by locals. The space is decorated with beautiful African artwork and boasts multiple “Black Lives Matter” signs.

The owners believe in serving quality coffee to their community while proudly supporting social justice movements.

With many great espresso drinks, teas, and smoothies to choose from, you could stare at their menu for an hour.

If you’re not sure what to get, the baristas recommend trying an iced lavender latte with oat milk. It’s the perfect blend of sweet, creamy, and floral.

If you’re hungry, Whittier makes their own crispy, fresh-pressed paninis filled with turkey, cheese, and veggies.

Following their African roots, Whittier serves beer and wine from Ethiopia, Kenya, and South Africa. And every Sunday they host an Ethiopian Coffee ceremony where they roast and brew coffee in a jebena.

7. Steam Espresso Bar

Steam Espresso Bar specializes in crafting exceptional espresso beverages for those visiting the beautiful South Pearl neighborhood.

Visitors can grab a quick drink from the takeout window or sit and sip for a while in their shaded, dog-friendly patio.

When the owners purchased Steam’s location back in 2012, they converted the former photography studio into the sprawling espresso bar.

Take a peek outside to see an old, abandoned plane that’s a remnant from the studio’s past.

Now, ten years later, they’ve just opened a second location on Tejon Street—a historic firehouse they’ve turned into a cafe!

At either location, order an iced honey latte for a sweet, refreshing drink that you can enjoy with any of their fresh bakery bites.

Hang out inside the coffee shop and admire the soft lighting, exposed brick, and gorgeous wood paneling. Then shop for local items like coffee, tea, honey, and chocolate.

8. Crema Coffee House

If you need a caffeine kick while in Denver’s RiNo district, then head to Crema Coffee House.

This spacious coffee shop has plenty of room for remote workers, gathering friends, and those just looking to grab a bite.

With a wide variety of drink options, including kombucha and fresh juice, this is the perfect coffee shop to sit in for an entire afternoon.

You could spend the whole time admiring the hipster décor, like the exposed brick, funky local art, and massive chandelier.

But make sure you’re sipping on one of the coffees from their 22+ roasters or enjoying any of the food they make in-house, where they use the best ingredients possible.

And if you’re looking for a cool corner store, then check out Crema’s Bodega just down the street that’s full of snacks, drinks, and gifts.

9. Blue Sparrow Coffee

Just around the corner from Crema Coffee House is Blue Sparrow Coffee, a cute little cafe that’s dripping with dark teal paint and natural light.

The indoor seating is limited, but there’s plenty of outside seating in their garden.

This Denver coffee shop offers a beautiful handwritten menu with traditional espresso and specialty drinks, but they’re best known for their drinks on tap.

They’ve got a creamy nitro cold brew, a relaxing yet energizing CBD cold brew, Upstart Kombucha, and a fruity Japanese iced coffee.

And if you’re hungry, they’ve got plenty of fresh baked bites from local shop, Black Box Bakery.

10. Mutiny Information Cafe

Mutiny Information Cafe, located in an old building on South Broadway that was built in 1904. It was originally home to bookstores for over 35 years.

In the past ten years, they have become so much more than a book shop or a cafe.

The shop has become a chill spot for those who want to read, shop their record and comic book collection, and eat cereal. Seriously.

You can grab a fresh coffee that’s made from beans they roast themselves at their Trinidad location.

Try their house latte, mocha, or a rich, spicy chai from Sherpa Chai. While you sip, check out their book, record, and comic book collections, play classic pinball games. Or say hello to the coffee shop kitty, Biggie Smalls!

If you’re hungry, you can get a bowl of cereal from their Cereal Bar (mix together up to three different kinds!).

And keep your eye out for fun events like open mic nights, magic shows, and even their very own Comic Con, Mutiny Con, that happens every August.

11. Amethyst Coffee Company

If you love plants and coffee, then you’ll love Amethyst Coffee Company. Draped all along the sunlit walls are the winding vines of pothos plants.

There are plants stacked on shelves and counters throughout the shop, and there are even dried flowers hanging on the walls.

It’s the perfect spot to sit on the couch and cozy up with a warm coffee and a good book.

The barista-owned and operated coffee shop has been open since 2015, serving delicious coffee and tea to its Broadway patrons.

One of their most popular drinks is their honey and cinnamon latte. After trying one, it’s clear why this is a fan favorite.

At Amethyst, they’re focus isn’t just on coffee, but on the people who produce, make, and drink it.

12. Sapor Coffee & Concepts

Located in Denver’s Highland Park area just above the river, Sapor Coffee & Concepts, opened their doors back in 2018.

After working with his uncle at Sweet Bloom Coffee for years, Caleb Sprenger decided to open his own coffee shop with his wife, Jeannie.

They both love coffee, tea, and coming up with creative drink specials all year round.

This year, their salted brown sugar Thai tea latte has been a big hit. The sweet, creamy drink was inspired by a combination of suutei tsai, a Mongolian milk tea and cha yen, a Thai tea.

Sapor (whose name comes from the word meaning savor and flavor), also offers a variety of teas from Spirit Tea and eight different single-origin espressos from Sweet Bloom.

Stop in here for a great quality drink made by the small, passionate team (Caleb, Jeannie, and their friend, Jeremy).

13. Rivers and Roads Coffee

A cool coffee shop in Denver that’s sunny and dog-friendly is Rivers and Roads Coffee, a cozy joint just north of City Park.

Located in a large lot off Bruce Randolph Ave, Rivers and Roads shares a building with several other small businesses and offers plenty of outdoor seating.

If you choose to sit inside, you’ll be bathed in all the natural light coming from their many windows and large garage doors.

At Rivers and Roads, you can get breakfast or lunch any time of day. All of their food, from their breakfast fries to their cheesy avocado sandwich are made in-house from scratch and are completely gluten-free.

It’s no surprise that their coffee is also roasted in-house in small batches from the best quality green beans from around the world.

Whether you try their drip coffee, cold brew, or butter coffee, you’re sure to love it.

14. Rosebud Cafe

Back in 2016, Rosebud Cafe opened on the corner of 1st Ave and Pennsylvania Street.

Since then, they have been offering tea, coffee, breakfast, and lunch to the lovely Speer neighborhood. The coffee and the atmosphere is all served with a warm greeting and a heartfelt smile.

Inspired by her love of tea, owner Homeira opened the cafe and named it after the rosebuds she uses to make fresh, herbal tea.

In addition to herbal teas, Rosebud also offers chai tea that’s made with love, in-house. For a spiced, creamy drink, try their iced dirty chai!

Tea lovers can also admire Homeira’s very own antique tea kettles that are on display in the shop. Each of them have been collected from countries all over the world. For a unique caffeine kick, try their “Chagaccino,” an organic coffee made with chaga mushrooms, cacao, cinnamon, vanilla, and monk fruit sweetener.

The combination of coffee and chaga will leave you feeling energetic for hours without the harsh crash of a traditional coffee.

And if you’re feeling hungry, enjoy a delicious breakfast sandwich packed with fresh-cracked eggs, tomato, bacon, and avocado on a bagel or toasted sourdough. We hope you’ve enjoyed learning all about the best coffee shops in Denver, and that you’ve gotten a caffeine high just from reading this article.

Now get out there and start sipping!

When your caffeine high wears off, get your buzz going at any of these craft breweries, Denver distilleries, and fun cocktail bars.

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