Hot cacao at Ozo. And of course they have coffee, too.
Hot cacao at Ozo. And of course they have coffee, too. ( MARK LEFFINGWELL )

CU sophomore Lauren Thurman says coffee scares her, so she tries to avoid coffee shops.

"A large part of my attempted aversion to coffee is definitely the addiction aspect," she explained. "I want to be able to wake up every morning ready to go and clear-eyed. I dread the idea that I might not be able to be that way without coffee."

Despite her preference of home-prepared tea (an Earl Grey from Luna Roasters, to be specific), Thurman can appreciate why someone would go to a coffee shop instead of making their beverages at home: "'My Mr. Coffee makes me a mean drip coffee' isn't nearly as exciting as 'This one barista with the tattoos just does the best latte art.'"

For people who are more of the latte art persuasion, Boulder has a number of java offerings beyond the Starbucks standard. From Baseline to Pearl and beyond, each shop has its own personality and feel, in addition to their varied offerings.

One of Boulder's newest coffee shops is Amante on Baseline (2850 Baseline Road, amantecoffee.com). By far the most student-friendly of the three Amante locations in Boulder, the Baseline shop has plenty of seating space, including an outdoor balcony lounge area with a fireplace and a stellar view of the Flatirons. Amante is one of the more upscale shops in Boulder, with a focus on Italian coffee. It certainly has a modern-European vibe, and is best-suited for people who know their stuff when it comes to espresso. Buffs over 21 can get a different kind of buzz from Amante's full liquor bar, which is well-equipped to make coffee-based martinis.


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Students hoping to sip some off-campus coffee (but who don't want to venture too far) can swing by Buchanan's Coffee Pub on the Hill (1301 Pennsylvania Ave., buchananscoffeepub.com). In addition to standard coffee shop fare, Buchanan's offers a wide range of specialty drinks, including the Mood Bender, a Moroccan mint tea soy latte that is sure to calm down even the most stressed out student.

Melissa Bennett, left, and Morgan McKillop, study at Buchanan’s Coffee Pub on The Hill.
Melissa Bennett, left, and Morgan McKillop, study at Buchanan's Coffee Pub on The Hill. ( CLIFF GRASSMICK )
Students can also find delicious café food, from bagels and croissants to "The Frat" pita sandwich.

Trident (940 Pearl St., http://tridentcafe.com) is a great option for students who prefer to study unplugged: it's notorious for its lack of outlets, but is celebrated for its coffee and atmosphere. Connected to Trident Booksellers, the shop's staff serves up drinks quickly and leaves patrons to their own devices. They rotate their tea seasonally to ensure quality, but generally have a good-sized collection to choose from, and large coffee drinks are indeed large -- they generally come in a pint glass.

Just down the street from Trident is Ozo Coffee (1015 Pearl St., http://ozocoffee.com), popular among Boulder's tech and startup crowd. It is often buzzing with people discussing their newest business ventures, so it is best for people who are looking for activity instead of tranquility. Ozo's staff is incredibly knowledgeable about different roasting techniques and offer a free tasting on Friday afternoons to help patrons learn more about what they're drinking.

On the other end of Pearl one can find The Cup (1521 Pearl St., http://thecupboulder.com), a shop that is great for hippies and hipsters alike. The Cup buys from Conscious Coffee and has displays featuring the people who grow and harvest the coffee sold in the shop. The shop is broken into a lively, social section in the front and a back room with a more studious atmosphere. It's also a good place to grab a bite, from fancy sandwiches to tasty cakes and other treats.

There is a surprisingly large number of coffee shops on campus, as well. Celestial Seasonings has three locations -- in the Engineering Center, the law building, and the UMC -- to help students get their tea on. Pekoe in the ATLAS building has boba tea and Udi's salads. The Laughing Goat in the Norlin Commons helps students get their caffeine fix late into the night. And CU's own Baby Doe's in the UMC has a wide menu of coffee and tea beverages, as well as refrigerated options.

Boulder is chock full of local coffee shops, each with their own style and vibe. And even the most coffee-averse of Buffs, like Thurman, find themselves visiting at least one. "I haven't sought out that many cafes yet -- I'm a bit of a homebody," she said. "During finals week, though, I am inevitably a coffee person."

Jessica Ryan is a community manager in Boulder and a CU grad. On Twitter: @JessicaLRyan.