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Lots of people consider themselves coffee enthusiasts—and chances are good you’ve got one on your holiday gift list. There’s the gotta-have-it-first-thing addict, as well as the sip-and-savor-over-a-good-book (or magazine!) breed. Some guzzle it down on their way to work or use it as a rage-suppressant to get them safely (and sanely) past I-70 traffic to their favorite ski resort. Still others see the roasted beans as a way to make the world a better place. No matter the type of coffee drinker in your life, we have you covered with gift ideas from six local roasters and cafés.
Dark Heart Coffee
Situated just a couple blocks off downtown Loveland’s main drag, Dark Heart Coffee leans into its edgy, industrial chic decor (think: refinished cement flooring, metal accents, and lots of black). And yet with pockets of exposed brick, (black) wood paneling, and fresh flowers, the ambiance exudes a perhaps-surprising warmth that’s far from snooty. That was intentional, says founder Justin Real, “The past 15 years in specialty coffee has unfortunately brought a very pretentious vibe with it. My wife and I sell a different experience of amazing quality coffee without the pretentiousness to go with it.” It doesn’t hurt that Real’s coffee—roasted just a couple miles away—is delicious. Convinced? Start with one of their blends: Dawn to Dusk ($16), if you like rich and chocolatey or Bright Side ($19), if you prefer a lighter roast with citrusy notes. You can also fully commit with the Roaster’s Choice Single-Origin Subscription (prices vary). 419 N. Jefferson Ave., Loveland
Corvus Coffee Roasters
Phil Goodlaxson’s reasons for getting into the coffee business are different from most. Certainly, he loved a good cup of joe, but what he really sought back in 2010 was a challenge and a chance to make a positive impact. “I got interested in coffee after trying to find an ever-changing craft— something you could never do perfectly—that positively impacted people through the nature of the work,” he says. Today, he and his wife, founders of Corvus Coffee Roasters, do that by partnering directly with the coffee farmers, visiting them in person year after year, helping them increase the quality and/or quantity of output, and then paying two to three times market price for the best beans. “It really doesn’t take huge charity efforts and handouts to make an impact,” Goodlaxson adds. “It is simply finding people who want to produce quality—but have never had any buyers for quality—and paying them what their coffee is worth.” So what’s best to give your coffee-lover this holiday season? Tough question. Corvus’ Dead Reckoning ($19), with its chocolate-covered berry notes, is its flagship blend. There’s the Coffee Taster’s Gift Box ($54), which offers a flavor assortment with gorgeous presentation. But if you have a true coffee connoisseur on your list, it’s worth splurging on one of their reserve coffees (starting at $25). Trust us. Multiple locations
There’s something about a used bookshop that captures the imagination. Not only are countless stories hidden behind battered covers, but there are also remnants of prior owners and the trails that led each book to the store. Bean Fosters leans into that world of possibility and adds small-batch, locally roasted coffee into the mix. So while you could order a bag of the Ethiopia Guji Taro Natural ($18) or Colombia Juanambu Canyon ($20) from the online store, we highly recommend an experiential gift that involves swinging into one of their two brick-and-mortar stores for a beverage and a browse through the used (and for sale!) book collections. Hit the Golden shop for a cozy, old-world vibe or the Littleton location for a more modern take. 720 Golden Ridge Rd., Ste. D, Golden; 9956 W. Remington Place, Ste. A-1., Littleton
Lekker Coffee & Watering Hole
Founded by a mother-daughter dream team and located in the heart of RiNo, this lovely local coffee joint serves up Novo Coffee—which uses sustainable practices from bean to cup—and donates 10 percent of its annual profit to Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary, the largest rhino orphanage and sanctuary in the world. “My mom Dawn and I opened Lekker Coffee with the intent of spreading the word about what’s going on with the rhino poaching crisis around the world,” says co-founder Kara Finkelstein, noting that she and her mother also love human connection and are self-described morning people. “Spreading awareness through coffee just felt right.” Share Lekker’s mission (and some good vibes) this festive season by gifting its “Do Good Drink Good” tee and $1 of the purchase will go directly to the rhino orphanage. 3460 Larimer St.
Prodigy Coffeehouse does more than roast great coffee in small batches (Its berry-, chocolate-, citrus-noted house blend is a delightful light roast.). It changes lives. Dedicated to helping young adults who are disconnected from school and/or work build professional aptitude and life skills through business experience, this coffeehouse in Denver’s Elyria-Swansea neighborhood offers 20, 12-month apprenticeships each year. During their time with Prodigy, participants study the art of craft coffee (roasting, cupping, and customer service, among other subjects) and build a foundation for a career in the industry. But that’s not all, says founder Steph Frances. “More importantly, they discover their own inherent greatness, becoming the next generation of leaders who will go forth and enrich this city.” 3801 E. 40th Ave.
Have a flavored-coffee fan on your holiday list? Me too. And after a recent exchange wherein my dear friend described traditional coffee as having “notes of gym sock,” we’ve decided to just agree to disagree on how coffee should taste. Enter Denver-based Boyer’s Coffee, which has been roasting beans in the Rocky Mountains since 1965 and offers a wide variety of both traditional and flavored varieties. Purists will appreciate the French Roast ($11) or the Costa Rica + Honduras Mash-Up ($11), while flavor fans will dig the Chocolate Mousse, Butterscotch Toffee, or (for a festive touch) the Eggnog (all $11). Bonus: Boyer’s School that Coffee Built program provides funding to build schools in coffee farming communities. Multiple locations