Here’s a tongue twister for you: The Colorado Coffee Column heads to Camp 4 Coffee in Crested Butte. Say that five times fast!
We have something special in store for you in this month’s installment of the Colorado Coffee Column. We’re heading all the way from Aspen, to Carbondale, through Paonia and past Gunnison to make it to Crested Butte.
To be fair, we did miss a very important turn along the way. But the long ride was well worth it for the coffee we had awaiting us. Tucked away at 402 1/2 Elk Ave, we found a coffee lovers dream.
– Margot Calmar, The 100 Companies
When someone recommends a coffee shop, I tend to be a natural skeptic. You see, we hail from the Boston area. Bostonians know one coffee shop and one coffee shop only. Dunkin Donuts. As someone who is interested in coffee with a little more of a story, I tend not to trust recommendations. You never know if they are also a secret coffee-fiend, or a triple-syrup-shot pretender.
So when my brother and I parked our campervan at my father’s best friend’s house in Crested Butte, I was prepared to override the “local” knowledge with my extensive Yelp research. Color me corrected. My father’s best friend recommended Camp 4 Coffee and handed me a wooden token for one free cup.
We ventured into town, and resisted the urge to stop at the cute sandwich and ice cream shops that dotted the main street. On a side street sat the home of Camp 4 Coffee, an adorable little cabin covered in colorful license plates. Hung across the sign on the front was a sign “TOGETHER WE GOT THIS.” I must say, that is exactly how I would describe this little coffee shop. Brimming with togetherness. The line was out the door, curving onto the sidewalk. Lots of locals, but some newcomers as well. In this weird COVID-19 world, seeing lots of coffee-lovers supporting their favorite spot (responsibly) made us feel like we were witnessing the essence of a strong, loyal, Colorado mountain town. I also tend to believe that any place where people wait outside (regardless of weather) must be pretty darn good.
When it was our turn to head inside, we stepped into a wooden abode. Packed full of coffee, equipment, baked goods and merch, there was barely any room for us. The baristas were young and quick to smile, not in the least offended by touristy questions and lack of local knowledge. We both ordered lattes, and fought the temptation to try a baked good. While we waited, we admired the charming display of beans on the wall. All hand-roasted by a small local team. Come to find out, only two humans know the recipes for roasting. It reminded me of the Chartreuse monks, hidden away in the mountains, creating secret drinks to share with the world.
Long story short, we loved our coffee. The espresso flavor was strong, the milk-to-froth ratio balanced and the latte art worthy of awards. We had both finished our coffee before we even made it back to our campervan.
After a long day of hiking, we found ourselves back in line at Camp 4 Coffee, desperate for a cold brew to replenish our dehydrated bodies. It was the first coffee shop of our entire tour where we were excited to go back that very same day. We even bought beans to bring back to our family at home.
Where are we now? Back in the NE, fending off the Dunkin-coffee army and ordering Camp 4 Coffee’s 5lb bags of the Blue Mesa roast. This is one stop you won’t want to miss.