It’s no secret that the weather is changing and that the dark, cold months are slowly creeping in. Despite the impending chills and crisp morning air, I still prefer a cold brew over hot coffee. If you think about it, it’s actually not that crazy of an idea to grab a cool beverage in the cooler months, especially when Denver is home to some of the better — if not best — cold brewed coffee. I’m sure the general consensus is that hot coffee seems more reasonable, but here’s my logic in defending my cold brew obsession: I don’t stop drinking ice water because the air is crisp.
Boxcar Coffee Roasters is no stranger to brewing up a rich and hearty cup o’ joe. They’ve been recognized for using the “boil-maker” process of brewing grounds directly in hot water — a system created for higher altitudes. Another brewing process they execute that won’t go unnoticed is their equally flavorful flash-brewed cold coffee ($4.25). This take on the standard cold-brewed-cup differs by brewing a hot coffee with more water over less ice, as opposed to pouring boiling hot liquid over a cup of ice. The flash brewing process allows the melting ice to dilute the coffee in just the right way to allow for a more flavorful result and although they keep their exact recipe a secret, you can get a feel for it. Boxcar pours their cold coffee straight from the tap (the nitro aspect) and is located just inside The Source in the RiNo district. Also inhabiting space in the same building is Babbettes Artisan Breads and Bakery who just so happen to have the flakiest, buttery croissants that cut through the acidity and compliment each sip of full-bodied iced coffee. 3350 Brighton Boulevard., Denver; www.boxcarcoffeeroasters.com
Located in the Sloans Lake neighborhood, SloHi Coffee + Bike Co. uses locally-sourced roasts to brew that perfect coffee beverage. Sip on their iced coffee while perusing through all your bicycle needs in the adjoining shop. Their rich cold brew coffee ($3.75) is brewed cold then pushed through a keg using very little nitro. SloHi uses a small amount of nitro to avoid messing with the body of this cold cup. With less nitro comes less of a cascading effect during the pour, but the flavor is still very present in each sip. I recommend adding a bit of cream to your icy beverage then picking out a bicycle cup holder so you can get on your way to enjoying all that autumn in Denver has to offer. 4436 West 29th Avenue, Denver, www.slohicoffee.com
If you haven’t heard of the cause behind Purple Door Coffee — located in Five Points and just over three years old — now would be as good of a time as any. Their mission is and has been to provide stable employment to the homeless youth of Denver, while creating a meaningful and supportive atmosphere. So, not only will you enjoy a daily rotating menu of medium to full-bodied iced cold brew ($3.51), but you’ll also be part of a great cause that benefits the youth of the Denver metro area. 2962 Whelton Street, Denver, www.purpledoorcoffee.com
Located in the LoHi, Golden Triangle and Baker neighborhoods, Metropolis Coffee is one of the few shops offering Whiskey Barrel Coffee’s bourbon barrel-aged nitro cold brew ($5.90) on tap. The unique and fragrant whiskey flavor comes from barrel-aging green coffee beans, a process Whiskey Barrel has perfected. After the initial aging process, the beans are then roasted, cold brewed and pushed with nitro through taps like the one at Metropolis. This cold brew is the perfect caffeinated treat for the designated driver with a coffee whiskey fetish. Metropolis Coffee has three locations that can be found here.
Black Eye Coffee prides itself in keeping things classic and as authentic as possible. They’re known for roasting their own coffee beans which they supply too both of their locations — Capital Hill and LoHi. This attention to detail allows them to create just the right body for each of their unique brews, and their cold brewed coffee ($3) is no exception to this. Medium body and poured over ice, this mason jar of cold brewed coffee is meant to be enjoyed black. Black Eye Coffee has two locations that can be found here.
All photography by Lucy Beaugard.