Say hello to Mile Hi Buzz, a weblog by Denverite Dan Oltersdorf that features independent Denver coffeeshops. Denver Post columnist David Harsanyi features the blog today so I went over and checked it out. I’m impressed.

First, I never knew there were so many alternatives to Starbucks, places that welcome customers with free wi-fi, good coffee, comfortable seating and an inviting atmosphere. Second, while the blogger states his personal opinions of the different venues, the reviews are by readers in the comments. It’s a very collaborative weblog.

Third, there’s a coffee locator where you type in your zip code and it comes up with both Starbucks and alternatives in that area. There’s also a map, but the locator was more user friendly because it includes cross-streets and the map doesn’t have a mouseover that lets the address pop up when you move your mouse over the dots .

The site lists the most important features of a good coffeeshop: “atmosphere, service, product, and a unique signature.”

If you are missing any one of the above ‘ingredients’, you are gauranteed to have some challenges to running a successful coffee house. Here in Denver, there are a few coffee houses that come to mind immediately that are doing a good job in all three of these areas: Monkey Bean, Perk Hill & ArmaZem (**EDIT: Some other new favorites are Wired on Welton & Michelangelos). I know there are certainly more, but right now, those are my personal “top list.”