The Best Cafe in Boulder is…

Via elephant journal
on Jan 21, 2010
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Voting closed, temporarily, a longtime friend at the Trident has successfully demonstrated how anyone could, relatively easily, cheat the poll by clearing cache, removing cookies. We’re searching for new poll system that’s not easily hackable.

We’ll have new poll up, still have time for an honest vote, if this one was indeed dishonest, by Feb 14 (Valentine’s and Eastern New Year). With apologies and thanks to all cafes, and their voting publics, that were playing fair. ~ ed.

We here at elephant often work in cafes, have for years. Known as a “third place” (after home, and work), cafes serve as the center of community. Even more than bars and restaurants, perhaps, cafes help society mingle with folks they wouldn’t otherwise socialize with (including children). I know at the Trident, I often sit a table away from a rabid, well-read, passionate group of Republicans. I love hearing their debates about health care, Obama, Bush, etc.—it pops the bubble that is my happy green cocoon and reminds me that there’s many ways of looking at this thing called life.

We here at elephant prefer cafes that are independently owned, and not chains. That said, we’ve warmed to Starbucks over the years (though I still never patronize it, ever, even in airports).

We here at elephant prefer cafes that are green-minded, like the mostly—green-built Folsom Street Coffee, or Pekoe (which offers bags of rich compost to customers, free). We love cafes like The Cup and Trident, which encourage cell phone users to keep their conversations private, quiet, or outside. We love cafes that provide forums for community, like Laughing Goat, which hosts music and poetry just about every night of the week (and, the Goat has been a longtime supporter of elephant).


But, what you love is, of course, up to you. Let the comments and voting begin, readers—we’ll announce the… Reader’s Favorite Boulder Cafe

…on February 14th (Eastern New Year), and make like (the independent) Boulder Weekly, sending you a nice award plaque you can hang on your wall.

Note: cafes that have multiple locations, like Amante or Pekoe, are only listed once. Cafes that are primarily restaurants, like the Tea House or The Kitchen, we haven’t listed at all. Feel free to give them shout-outs in the comments, however! If I’ve forgotten a cafe, for shame, please say so in comments and I’ll immediately add them in the voting options.


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elephant journal is dedicated to "bringing together those working (and playing) to create enlightened society." We're about anything that helps us to live a good life that's also good for others, and our planet. >>> Founded as a print magazine in 2002, we went national in 2005 and then (because mainstream magazine distribution is wildly inefficient from an eco-responsible point of view) transitioned online in 2009. >>> elephant's been named to 30 top new media lists, and was voted #1 in the US on twitter's Shorty Awards for #green content...two years running. >>> Get involved: > Subscribe to our free Best of the Week e-newsletter. > Follow us on Twitter Fan us on Facebook. > Write: send article or query. > Advertise. > Pay for what you read, help indie journalism survive and thrive.


61 Responses to “The Best Cafe in Boulder is…”

  1. Melony says:

    Very happy to see Ozo listed. Though they are off the beaten-path they offer a high quality experience. Justin Hartman, the owner, is leaving in March to meet the people who grow their beans. He has weaved sustainability into his business practices, including: recycling, paper products are 100% recycled, composting, use of milk from a local dairy, etc…

    They've also just begun their own Roasters Lab. Every Friday they offer a Cupping, otherwise known as a tasting, where you're able to taste their recently roasted blends. The staff are friendly. The coffee is amazing. They also employee Greg Lefcourt, who was the rocky mountain region representative at the US Barista Championship. They know their coffee.

    Nice interview with Justin here on Enlightened Business Blog Talk Radio:

    • coffee fan says:

      Another Ozo employee is Nolan Dutton, who also represented the mountain region at the US Barista Championship (Greg in 2009, Nolan in 2008) and roasts the beans with Justin. Their roasts are wonderful.

  2. Jill says:

    I love the layout and vibe at Laughing Goat the best, but The Cup takes it for me because the coffee. For me The Cup have the best coffee (brewed just the right way) in town!

  3. via FB:

    I've been waiting for an internet cafe or at least a computer lounge in a cafe in Boulder like all other hip, well-traveled cities have around the world. That would be cool…

    Waylon Lewis
    you mean, a place that provides computers? I remember some cafes usta have a public computer or two, but now most everyone has a laptop.

    Alyson D
    An internet cafe for travelers

    Waylon Lewis

    boy, this is hard! i love love spruce confections but they don't have internet hook-up so i can't vote for them as a work-away-from-home/office alternative.

  4. Lori says:

    Umm … Great Awakening? It's by BHS and is awesome.

  5. Green Key says:

    It's called "The Bookend," not "Bookends." Duh.

  6. Dan says:

    I smell a rat… how is a coffee shop I've never even heard of (I've lived in Boulder for years and years and years) be in first place? Ahead of such greats as Trident or even – as a great but newer coffee shop- The Cup?!

    • jaz says:

      Because Atlas is new and it's great and you should check it out, Dan!— 1505 Pearl St.

      • sanserif says:

        I still smell a rat. But the poll is flawed anyway. It tracks votes via IP, not by individual people. So if I'm sitting in my favorite coffee shop and want to vote, I can't – someone already has from this IP.


        • It tracks votes by computer, I thought. 1800 folks sitting in one cafe over the course of a month can vote 1800 times.

          • Okay, I checked, and it says that multiple users from different computers on same network (ie in one cafe) "may experience problems."

            That said, that's an error on the conservative side…there's no rat, no way to cheat, you can't vote twice from one computer, the worst that can happen is someone owns 150 old laptops and bothers to take said laptops to 150 different hotspots. In fact, I think that must be what Atlas is doing, you're onto something Sanserif.

  7. We're lucky to have so many greats to choose from. I personally prefer a place that does black coffee really well (many neglect it in favor of the higher profit margins of the "drinks").

    Oh, and this article reminds me that I need to spend more time sitting in these places and less time darting in for a cup to go … but for those like me who are still stuck in the commuting rut, be sure to check out the new Vic's on 30th and Walnut for short lines and a quick in and out.

  8. Laughing Goat Lover says:

    I love that the Laughing Goat is open so late and has live entertainment every night. I think this coffee shop is a great place to go when you don't want to go to the bars and also ties many aspects of community together into one establishment with a great atmosphere. I also think they have the most delicious espresso in town!

  9. Ef Rodriguez says:

    Atlas Purveyors is the new sweetness. Great vibe, clean and ZERO attitude from the staff. I love how the place is developing.

    They're also making great use of Twitter. I recommend the slush.

  10. To the naysayers:

    First, we appreciate the controversy all of this has employed, and would love to put our proof behind our lattes.
    Come in between 6-10am between Monday through Friday with the codeword "Electronic Ballot Box" for a free 16oz tea or coffee.

    But hey, offer valid only once per person. Nobody likes a cheater 🙂

    Second, it is with humility that we (the three partners, who have voted for ourselves three times) offer our thanks to those who've voted for us so far. It's been a blast to get to know our Boulder #Tech, #CU, and other communities. We look forward to getting to know the skeptics.

    Oh, and we know the website is shite. We blame it on the interns.

  11. lindsey says:

    i love atlas. my fave new spot. Did a great job with that space. Love the chalkboard wall. And the people that work there are pretty good lookin 🙂

  12. Reality says:

    Anyone who knows anything knows Atlas is not the best cafe in Boulder. They just have more tech savvy friends than most of the other cafes. The Trident has a number of older regulars and fans who aren't Twittering all their friendsor tweeting at all for that matter. Get real.

  13. Andrew H
    why so long of a vote? any reason besides traffic shilling?

    Waylon Lewis
    Feb 14th. It's the Tibetan/Eastern New Year, and the Day of Love Declaring, seemed like a good day to call it. But guess it's a bit far off, hey? Will give fans of cafes other than Atlas and Trident a chance to wake up and smell the coffee, I guess.

    Linda Sparrowe
    where's atlas cafe, Waylon?

    Waylon Lewis
    It's right by The Cup, on East Pearl. Great place, and apparently, very active fan base/friends/family, they're voting it up.

    Linda Sparrowe
    oh yeah, right on the corner there, eh? i've been there and it's nice.

  14. Voting for Boulder Weekly's best of Boulder is also online. We all know voting is based on getting out the vote, organization, it's not all merit-based unfortunately—same in politics!

  15. bloops says:

    mentally delete that extra "in."

  16. Molly McIntyre says:

    Pekoe Sip House is the best!!!!

  17. Lou Shouder says:

    Personally, my favorite Boulder coffee shop isn't on here.

    Flatiron Coffee may have only newly become a Boulder independent, but they definitely take it for me. They not only have the best coffee, espresso drinks, staff, and atmosphere, but they have the most breathtaking view of the Flatirons I have ever seen.

    They support local businesses, serve milk, soy, and rice milk, have three coffee choices every day, a variety of delicious foods, tons of coffee bean choices from two roasters, merch, book trade shelves, live music, a book club, give a discount for in-house or personal mugs, and a frequent buyer card.

    In short, they have everything.

    And yet, they aren't on your list… I think you guys need to do some more research.


  18. Laura says:

    I agree!!! Flatiron Coffee has everything the more well-known coffee shops do! They're a new independent shop embracing their Boulder roots and they know they're stuff and offer a great, creative atmosphere away from the hustle bustle of pearl street. If you don't vote for them (if they get on the list) at least do yourself a favor and check it out sometime!!!

  19. Cheryl says:

    Duh, wish I coulda had the chance to vote for Flatiron Coffee! Definitely the Boulder independent "cafe" that I visit the most.

  20. Reality says:

    BTW, it is possible to cheat, Waylon. I watched it happen. you should check out your and let em in on it.

    • I'm hearing from the good folks at the Trident that they've successfully demonstrated that the poll can easily be cheated. We'll let know, and find a better poll, if one exists. It's a bummer if anyone out there does care enough to cheat, but not enough to wrangle votes the good ol'fashioned way—

      • pad1 says:

        I think it is great that the Trident, which was leading the vote count, was the one which reported that voters could cheat. Very commendable! – PAD1

  21. Reality says:

    Watch this.

  22. Lucy says:

    Waylon, I think you imply that "The Cup," "The Laughing Goat," and "Pekoe" are "green-minded." I love these coffee shops,
    but they are only green until the temperature gets hot. Then they blast their air conditioners and open their big glass doors. They use vast amounts of electricity so they can cater to customers who want both cool air and a cool European-style cafe environment. If they really want to be green, perhaps they could get swamp coolers. Or put the challenge to their customers: do you care about the environment? Then live with the heat.

  23. Reality says:

    How's Take Two doing NOW? This poll is strangely more flawed than the Bush/Gore election. I'd be on the phone to right now asking how they could not have real polling software. THIS IS SUCH A SHAM. Traffic whore.

  24. reality says:

    Er, Page. Never heard of em? me neither.

  25. anon says:

    Traffic whore… wow. I think you might need to drink less coffee.

  26. anon says:

    Waylon said that he would be happy to list any coffee shops he forgot… the man writes blogs, he isn't the omniscient coffee-shop god of Boulder. Calm down, people.

  27. Kitzel says:

    hilarious, "omniscent coffee-shop god of boulder" waylon, that is totally what i am calling you from now on. leave it to the good peeps of boulder to get all hot and bothered by a "best cafe" poll. love it.

  28. Lauren says:

    I love The Cup.. the employees are friendly and welcoming. They really know how to make an amazing Bhakti Chai!! The best drink out there.. I am addicted!!

    • I love the Cup, too, suprised they're not wrangling more votes, we've blogged them up several times on the 'phant for their use of cork coffee sleeves, and the awesome cell phone booth. Nice peeps, and my friends loooove their coffee.

  29. Scumbag says:

    This isn't about coffee, this is about hot sassy baristas and there's only one place for that…THE GOAT!!!!

  30. […] and tapping away at our MacBooks while arguing about Gladwell or Pollan’s latest piece at our favorite local indie café, then cycling off to yoga […]

  31. […] to milk via that smooth, complex, soulful and oh-so-so-sexy beverage we like to call the latté. I’m getting withdrawals right now just thinking about it… and I have one in front of […]

  32. […] few months later I caught another one of Ramaya’s shows at the Laughing Goat where he played with the rising star Gregory Alan Isakov. Gregory Alan Isakov’s music is […]

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