Colorado Charm: 10 Must-Visit Coffee Shops in Boulder

Nov 26, 2023 • Leigh McDonald

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Boulder, Colorado, is not only known for its stunning landscapes and love for outdoor activities but also its rich and diverse coffee culture. Coffee shops are deeply woven into the city's fabric and play a significant role in the community. For decades, these coffee hubs have been serving up the most delightful cups of Joe, playing host to both locals and visitors seeking a warm cup of solace, a place to work, or even just a friendly chat. With an array of intriguing options to choose from, like the charming Trident Booksellers and Cafe that doubles as a bookstore or the eco-conscious Ampersand Coffee Roasters that works towards social responsibility and sustainability, Boulder's coffee scene is as vibrant and unique as the city itself.

How We Selected These Coffee Shops

When curating this list of the 10 best coffee shops in Boulder, we had several factors in mind to ensure we're bringing you nothing but the cream of the crop. Our selection criteria included:

  • The quality of their coffee, because a coffee shop is only as good as the coffee it serves
  • Online customer reviews, so we could hear directly from people who've experienced these places first-hand
  • Online customer ratings, to get a sense of the general consensus on these coffee shops
  • The environment of the space, assessing if it's suitable for work or socializing, because a good coffee shop needs to offer more than just great coffee. Places like Skratch Labs Cafe, known for its diverse gluten-free and vegan-friendly menu, also offer catering and venue rental services, making it a versatile space for a variety of occasions.

A Deeper Look at Our Picks

Trident Booksellers and Cafe

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4.7 out of 1058 Reviews • 940 Pearl St, Boulder, CO 80302
Trident Booksellers and CafeTrident Booksellers and Cafe

Nestled in Downtown Boulder, Colorado, Trident is a charming and unique blend of a café and a bookstore, independently owned and championed by its dedicated employees. They offer various books, coffee, tea, art, and various events to keep their community engaged. From the lively, foot-tapping Boulder Old-Time Jam sessions held on the patio every second Thursday to the warm and inspiring Community Writing Circle led by writing coach Teresa, the Trident guarantees enriching experiences to its patrons.

Boxcar Coffee Roasters

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4.7 out of 932 Reviews • 1825 Pearl St ste b, Boulder, CO 80302
Boxcar Coffee RoastersBoxcar Coffee Roasters

Boxcar Coffee Roasters is a Colorado-based café dedicated to brewing high-quality coffee. Their coffee beans are sustainably sourced and expertly roasted at the Rocky Mountain Front Range, ensuring a fresh and delicious cup every time. Aside from their regular offerings, they have a dynamic menu considering the seasonality of coffee beans.

If you're into subscriptions, a popular option is their Single Origin subscription which gives you a taste of their most exciting and freshly roasted coffees. However, Boxcar offers a Blend subscription featuring their four signature coffee blends for those keen on routine.

Boxcar Coffee Roasters is worth checking whether you're a coffee connoisseur or enjoy a daily grind.


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4.8 out of 476 Reviews • 3040 28th St, Boulder, CO 80301

Gabee Coffee, started by Mr. Chae, is a top-rated coffee shop in Boulder that stands for the best quality organic coffee beans. Thanks to Mr. Chae's expert roasting skills, each brew boasts a unique flavor profile and aroma. Beyond traditional Italian coffee, the shop also offers latte and tea-based refreshers.

Notably, Gabee (or Gabi) is an old South Korean term for coffee, reinforcing the brand's close connection to coffee culture. Keep an eye out for Gabee's unique latte art inspired by the Academy Award-winning Korean film, Parasite, a testament to the creativity buzzing around this shop.

Additionally, Gabee Coffee entered the spotlight even further as Mr. Chae secured 3rd place at the USCC Roaster Qualifier Competition. So, if you're searching for a coffee with a subtly rich taste in a warm-hearted community, Gabee Coffee is a must-visit!

January Coffee

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4.8 out of 195 Reviews • 1886 30th St Suite B, Boulder, CO 80301
January CoffeeJanuary Coffee

January Coffee is a welcoming and inclusive multi-roaster specialty coffee shop located in Boulder, CO. Focused on creating a fun environment with great coffee, they serve a highlighted range of roasters from across the country with Onyx Coffee Lab as their house roaster, supplemented by two additional rotating roasters.

The shop has an interesting backstory that began in 2017 when CO-born John and Montana-native Kristi crossed paths, leading to the creation of January Coffee as a love letter and tribute to the coffee industry. The shop also has extended weekend hours and promotes a technology-free environment over the weekend.

Ampersand Coffee Roasters

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4.8 out of 301 Reviews • 6560 Odell Pl c, Boulder, CO 80301
Ampersand Coffee RoastersAmpersand Coffee Roasters

Ampersand Coffee, based in Boulder, Colorado, fuses its passion for quality coffee with social responsibility. The company prides itself in offering a holistic coffee experience emphasizing women’s empowerment, environmental regeneration, and upward spirals. Ampersand Coffee sources ethically, promoting practices like organic farming, regenerative organic certification, and fair trade support. This way, farmers are guaranteed a minimum price safeguarding them from fluctuating market prices, and coffee growers are encouraged to adopt environmentally friendly practices.

Ampersand Coffee adopts a unique approach to environmental sustainability. Specifically, the company partners with the Smithsonian to foster initiatives like "Bird Friendly" coffee, which leverages shade-grown coffee to protect tropical forests and biodiversity. The shop also aligns with the Rainforest Alliance to promote responsible forest management and resource use.

Complementing its eco-friendly initiatives, Ampersand Coffee advocates for women's empowerment through its partnerships with organizations like the International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA) and Cafe Femenino, which advocate for gender equality in coffee-growing communities.

The Laughing Goat

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4.6 out of 1356 Reviews • 1709 Pearl St, Boulder, CO 80302
The Laughing GoatThe Laughing Goat

The Laughing Goat is a unique and popular coffee shop in Boulder, Colorado. It offers a distinct coffee experience at its four locations: Boulder, Pearl Street, Baby Street, and Norlin Library.

For potential visitors, this coffee place is known for its warm and welcoming atmosphere. It runs an accessible and informative website where you can easily skip to the content that interests you. The shop prides itself on being committed to quality and the community, reflecting the unique spirit of its Colorado home.

Beleza Coffee Bar

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4.7 out of 343 Reviews • 2680 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80304
Beleza Coffee BarBeleza Coffee Bar

Beleza Coffee Bar (pronounced 'Bell-ay-za', Portuguese for 'beauty') is about much more than just coffee - it's about creating an atmosphere that inspires a chill vibe and communicates 'it's all good'. Nestled in the Community Plaza at Alpine and Broadway in Boulder, this specialty coffee shop inspires and delights the local community with finely crafted beverages and excellent service.

Fantastic roasters nationwide import high-quality coffee, offering customers rotating selections of different blends and origins. Local Colorado roaster, Sweet Bloom Coffee, is a notable anchor. Beleza's founders, Greg Lefcourt and Nafisa Ramos, bring unique expertise - Greg handles the coffee program, having been active in the specialty coffee industry since 2000, while Nafisa focuses on healthy food and drink fare.

They have intentionally switched off Wi-Fi to foster social interactions and cultivate a community atmosphere. Customers are welcome to bring their laptops and use mobile hotspots but are encouraged to be mindful of others.

Post COVID, when we were able to offer seating again after 15 months, we decided to switch off the Wi-Fi and focus more on social interactions vs. office space. This was both because of the need to have more available seating for our patrons, and because for many people the prior months were spent in front of screens, so we wanted to provide more of a community atmosphere. We have been very pleased with the outcome and have received positive feedback from our customer base as well. You are more than welcome to bring your laptop and hot spot from your phone, we just ask that you are mindful.

OZO Coffee | Arapahoe

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4.6 out of 643 Reviews • 5340 Arapahoe Ave, Boulder, CO 80303
OZO Coffee | ArapahoeOZO Coffee | Arapahoe

The OG location for OZO. The inaugural café on Arapahoe Ave. in east Boulder was launched in 2007. Driven by passion, founders Justin and Rebekah Hartman painstakingly built this establishment, marking it as both a specialty coffee haven and a vital community hub. This spot is renowned not only for its exceptional coffee but also for fostering great friendships.

OZO Coffee | West Pearl

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4.6 out of 825 Reviews • 1015 Pearl St, Boulder, CO 80302
OZO Coffee | West PearlOZO Coffee | West Pearl

The Boulder café at 10th and Pearl St., established in 2010, stands out as a top-tier coffee destination. It's a bustling hub for coffee lovers, featuring an expansive brew bar and meticulously crafted espresso drinks. Worth a visit when you're on the west side of Pearl St.

The Charm of Boulder's Past

Nestled in the heart of Colorado, Boulder is home to a vibrant population of approximately 107,000 residents. This city's rich history is peppered with captivating stories of the Wild West and the Gold Rush era, making it a melting pot of historical significance. Interestingly, Boulder also enjoys a robust relationship with coffee, with its residents being known coffee enthusiasts. Over the years, the city has seen a steady growth in the number of coffee shops, each offering unique brews and experiences to its customers.

Reflecting on Boulder's Coffee Culture

Boulder boasts a diverse range of coffee spots that attract people from all walks of life. Whether you're a student seeking a quiet study nook, a professional looking for a quick caffeine fix, or a tourist exploring the local coffee culture, you'll find a spot that caters to your taste and mood. Here, we explore the top 10 coffee shops that have shaped Boulder's thriving coffee scene and have become popular hangouts for locals and visitors alike.

Boulder's coffee scene is a dynamic reflection of its diverse population. The variety of coffee shops in the city, each with its unique personality and offerings, demonstrates how Boulder has embraced coffee culture and integrated it into daily life. From quaint, cozy corners serving artisanal brews to bustling, modern cafés perfect for networking, Boulder offers a coffee experience for everyone.

Savor The Coffee Scene

The city's vibrant coffee scene has something for everyone - the coffee connoisseur, the casual coffee drinker, and the curious tourist. As you navigate through the city, you'll notice the integral role that these coffee shops play in community bonding and socialization. So, next time you're in Boulder, don't miss out on this essential Boulder experience. Visit these coffee shops, find your favorite, and immerse yourself in the delightful blend of caffeine, culture, and camaraderie.


My coffee journey spans 15 years of diverse experiences. Starting from those first sips, my passion for the industry has grown steadily. I've enjoyed working at a local coffee shop, exploring cultures worldwide, meeting incredible farmers on plantation tours, and helping launch a family member's coffee roasting venture. Throughout this journey, discovering and buying coffee from local roasters to support community businesses has been a pleasure. Through Roast Love, I aim to create content that informs, raises awareness, and helps you, the reader, buy and brew that perfect cup of coffee.

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