Keen readers may have noticed we didn't give an award for Best Coffee Shop in this year’s Best of Denver issue. There’s a reason. Coffee shop awards are the third rail of best-of editions. Most people rabidly adore their favorite java joint with the same passion usually reserved for a first-born child, and so when their café doesn’t win Best of Denver, threats usually follow of lynching and/or castration directed towards the numskulls responsible for the oversight. (For the same reason, Westword doesn't give a Best Mexican Restaurant award -- we divide that category into many Mexican awards, because there are so many Mexican restaurants we love.)
But while the Best of Denver 2008 stayed away from the controversial subject of coffee, Forbes did not. With the help of the Specialty Coffee Association of America, it recently compiled a list of “America’s Best Boutique Coffees,” and in Denver the honor went to Novo Coffee, a local roaster that also operates coffee shops in Arvada and the Denver Art Museum. From Ninth Street Espresso in New York City to the LA Mill on the opposite coast, that puts the family-owned Novo in rarified company.
Of course, many over-caffeinated folks surely disagree with this choice. While Novo’s flavorful and nuanced single-origin beans, brewed in their high-tech Clover machines, have earned it many fans, others prefer Aviano Coffee at 955 Lincoln Street, which serves top-of-the-line Intelligentsia beans, or the eclectic charm of Kaladi Brothers Coffee at 1730 East Evans Avenue. And then there are the eccentric East Coast expats who refuse to drink any cuppa Joe that isn’t stamped with the ubiquitous orange-and-magenta logo of Dunkin’ Donuts, even though out here that usually means they have to buy their beans at Target.
So which café do you call home? Which bean blesses your best-of list. Feel free to contribute below – just be ready for some hearty disagreement. – Joel Warner
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.