Among the vices students find themselves exploring, caffeine is often under-addressed. As an essential part of student life, not much beats the daily ritual of enjoying a morning cup of coffee. And while Starbucks is pretty ubiquitous, boasting more than 12 locations in town, Boulder offers up a number of other coffee shops that hit the spot. From The Hill and campus to Pearl and north Boulder, each shop has its own personality and vibe, in addition to its various wares.
Pearl Street’s West End is buzzing with coffee shops, from Ozo to Amante. But among the usual shops, you’ll also find an unexpected place for a caffeine fix: The Yellow Deli (908 Pearl St., 303-996-4700).
Junior geography and e-bio major Hannah Moench said she spends most of her time there. “They have bottomless iced maté, which will keep you going all day long,” she said.
The Yellow Deli is open 24 hours except Fridays and Saturdays, making it a great place to hunker down and crank out a big paper.
“They’re generally pretty chill with me staying there as long as they aren’t busy,” Moench said.
A few doors down from The Yellow Deli is Trident Booksellers and Café (940 Pearl St., 303-443-3133), great for students who prefer to study without too many wires — it’s known for its lack of electrical outlets, but many people love its coffee and atmosphere.
When Moench isn’t at The Yellow Deli, she can be found getting social at Trident.
“You meet everyone there, from students and entrepreneurs to geniuses and professors and even musicians and homeless people,” she said.
On the other end of Pearl one can find The Cup Espresso Café (1521 Pearl St., 303-449-5173), a great shop no matter your persuasion. The Cup buys from socially-responsible Conscious Coffee and has displays featuring the people who grow and harvest the coffee sold in the shop.
Recent communication grad Rachael McNeely made The Cup her studying home all through college.
“I feel so comfortable here,” she said. “I like that there’s a good atmosphere — it has a quiet space in the back if you want to study, but then there’s also a more social room in the front for group work.”
Like many of The Cup’s regulars, McNeely is a fan of its newly introduced iced coffee served on a nitro tap, along with the food offerings.
“I really like the quiche … the food is so good here, and not a lot of people know about it,” she said.
For McNeely, The Cup is great for more than just coffee. “I’m able to spread out and get comfortable, and I love the details like the garage door,” which lets air, patrons and sound flow from outside.
The East End also hosts some of Boulder’s more gourmet shops , such as Boxcar Coffee Roasters (1825 Pearl St., 303-527-1300), which shares its space with Cured cheese shop and roasts its beans in-house.
Senior international affairs major Richa Poudyal visits Boxcar every so often. “If I let myself splurge, I would always be getting cappuccinos; Boxcar makes a great one if I can scrape up the change,” she said.
Otherwise, her standard lattes work just fine.
“It’s always worth getting a Venetian Cream at the Laughing Goat, though,” Poudyal said.
For Buffs older than 21, the Laughing Goat Coffeehouse (three locations) also serves beer and wine and has a popular happy hour on weekday evenings.
Campus plays host to an impressively large amount of coffee shops, too. One of those Laughing Goat shops is there in Norlin Library. Pekoe Sip House’s campus extension in the ATLAS building serves up boba tea and Udi’s salads, on top of standard coffee shop fare. Celestial Seasonings has three locations — in the Engineering Center, the law building, and the UMC — to help students get their tea on. And CU’s own Baby Doe’s in the UMC offers a variety of coffee and tea beverages, as well as refrigerated options.
Despite the popularity of local coffee shops in Boulder, Poudyal said she wishes the scene were a bit different.
“I think it’s ridiculous how competitive the coffee shop market is,” she said. “I’m still mourning the loss of Roma and Atlas and other shops that haven’t been able to stick around.”
Nonetheless, the scene is constantly changing and students have options no matter where they go. McNeely’s advice? “Find somewhere that you can feel at home, and make it ‘your space.'”
Follow Jess Ryan on Twitter: twitter.com/jessryanco.