My only real plans were to meet the lovely team behind Artifact Uprising for a casual lunch. Their office is an a collaborative space near downtown Denver. We chatted about their future plans and I got to see many of the beautifully printed products in person. They introduced J and me to Ninety Plus Coffee, one of their neighbors in the space. We had an impromptu coffee tasting and got schooled in the art of coffee farming by Steve Holt (yes that is his real name), the VP and Brand Strategist. It was a fascinating discussion, and one of the coolest facts I learned was that Taiwan and South Korea are actually the big buyers of some extremely precious and expensive beans (we're talking like $100/lb beans pre-roasted).
After we successfully caffeinated, we headed downtown to check out some shops. We hit up Ironwood (a neat home goods shop) and Sweet Action Ice Cream, where I had the best ice cream I can remember having. It was a creamy Salted Butterscotch with just the right amount of salty balance, and J and I fought over every bite.
Oh yeah, and then we caffeinated some more. Surprise surprise. At Novo this time, where we had two cortados with different single origin beans for comparison's sake. In NYC, you would be hard pressed to find a cafe that used single origin beans in your espresso+milk drink. I've seen a few places that do pull single origin shots, but almost never for your cortado. These were indeed dramatically different from your usual cortado in flavor profile.
Meanwhile, as I'm posting my adventures on Instagram, I get a few tips to check out Steadbrook, a men's clothing store with a coffee shop inside. At this point, I've hit my caffeine limit, but we decide to head over anyway to see what the buzz is about, especially as the owner himself has commented beckoning us in (really got to love Instagram when I'm traveling for things like this).
The shop/cafe is impeccably designed. Minimal with great wood surfaces, as well as stunning afternoon light. And that box! (It has its own hashtag natch.)
I couldn't have asked for a better few hours spent in Denver. I'm looking forward to going back someday and actually being able to spread out my coffee consumption. :)