If you spend a lot of time in coffee shops and if you appreciate the art of a perfectly pulled shot, you will love Steam Espresso Bar. And I do mean love. The month-old spot, which took over an old photography studio on South Pearl Street, is a stunner. The sun-filled space pulls together a careful mix of the industrial (poured concrete and metal) and the reclaimed (wood and brick) for a breezy, arty effect. And the windows…sigh…they’re huge, they’re open, and they allow sunlight to flood the two rooms. Wait until you see the patio.

The shop serves Boulder-based Box Car Coffee Roasters (which just opened an outpost at TAXI) and Steam owners Hani and Zahi Yaafouri do the exquisite beans justice. Order a cortado—if only for the latte art that holds up to the very last sip.

Across town, Josh McNeilly (formerly of Crema Coffee House) has opened Black Black Coffee in a pop-up space on West 38th Avenue. He shares a two-bay garage with Work Shop Denver, a hand-built furniture company, jewelry designer Mildred & Bernice, and backpack maker Topo Designs. True to Black Black’s name, McNeilly serves coffee straight up and unadorned by sugar, cream, or syrup. “For a lot of people that’s a stretch,” he says. “But 99 percent of people who have tried it have liked it.” McNeilly switches roasters every couple of weeks and the cost of his coffees are dependent on the market. “My basic premise is to find and serve the world’s finest coffees.” Stop by on Saturday, noon to 7 p.m. for the shop’s grand opening.

On the Horizon: Looks like Thump Coffee—a cult-favorite from Bend, Oregon—is coming to town.

Steam Espresso Bar, 1801 S. Pearl St., 303-681-7608

Box Car Coffee Roasters, 3459 Ringsby Court and 1825 Pearl St., Boulder

Black Black Coffee, 3640 W. 38th Ave., 720-316-7701

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Amanda M. Faison
Amanda M. Faison
Freelance writer Amanda M. Faison spent 20 years at 5280 Magazine, 12 of those as Food Editor.