Welcome back to the third installment of the Colorado Coffee Column. I hope you’ve been enjoying plenty of hot lattes and mochas in this chilly fall weather.
This month my brother and I are traveling across the Independence Pass and landing in a little unknown ski town named Aspen. Ever heard of it?
Right at the base of the mountain, in between yummy gourmet spots and your favorite European-fashion houses, sits Local Coffee House.
The first thing you’ll notice? Eclectic art and a mishmash of contemporary furniture. Wildly different from the coffee houses we’ve been frequenting.
Intrigued? Click the 100+ logo to find out what exactly the local vibe was.
– Margot Calmar, The 100 Companies
We spent the morning careening along the Independence Pass in our rented campervan, headed for Aspen. I won’t lie to you. Stress levels were high as I peered over the side of the road and down the vertical mountainside.
When we finally made it down to the base of the town, we both breathed a sigh of relief. At least we were better off than the man who was currently attempting to bike up it! We parked and hopped out, looking for a coffee shop before we started exploring. We passed by the packed Local Coffee House on Cooper Ave. I was pulled in by the crowd, and immediately interested in the collage of artwork that greeted you as you stepped inside.
I took a quick look at the Yelp reviews, and noticed that they weren’t as high as I had expected. But, they roasted their own coffee and served homemade food, so we decided to stay anyway. I ordered a latte while my brother stuck with a simple black drip. The drip was very solid. Strong and dark. Not exactly good enough to buy a bag of, but certainly made him happy after the precarious drive.
The cappuccino was yummy, but not super strong. In hindsight, I should’ve trusted my gut and tried something a bit more creative. Their menu was just as alternative as their space. I later found our that the dirty chai is to die for.
My brother ordered avocado toast. As per usual, I was surprised that he would order a substantial meal at a little coffee house. But, I stand corrected. He had noticed the many diners sitting on the outside terrace and trusted the crowds opinion. And in this case, majority rules. The avocado toast was remarkable. Perfectly ripe avocados on homemade sourdough with gourmet adornments.
I realize this installment is leaning more towards a food review than a coffee one. To be honest, the food was the standout. The coffee was very good. We both agreed that we would return. But the food took that cake (no pun intended).
As for the vibe of the spot, it was a bit hard to get a grip on. It was very white and very cool. While not quite cozy, it did allow the art to take center stage. It made for an interesting backdrop if you were stopping in to remote work.
Many of the reviews mentioned issues with the staff. We didn’t experience any negative energy from the staff. Distant? Yeah, maybe a bit. But with masks and coronavirus precautions every interaction feels a bit more distant these days. There was nothing odd or cold about these baristas in particular.
The moral of the story: travel there (maybe not by bike), grab a funky coffee, order avocado toast, plug in to your own music and sit down to relax. The energy inside this place is refreshing, which is a nice twist on the typical coffee shop at the base of a ski mountain. You’ll definitely enjoy your time, and come back for more. I know we will.
Join us next month as we head further west towards Carbondale.