This past week, I’ve been exploring Colorado Springs with my family. In between runs, hikes, and a visit to the Air Force Academy, I’ve also squeezed in a ridiculous number of coffee stops in a few short days, often dragging everyone along for the ride. In three days, I hit six different coffee spots near downtown Colorado Springs, and I’m here to share my thoughts and favorites.
Switchback Coffee Roasters
Switchback pops up as the highest-rated coffee shop in town if you do a quick Yelp search, and the general consensus is absolutely spot-on. I visited their Shooks Run café, which is about a mile outside of downtown in a residential neighborhood.
I sat outdoors, which was lovely. However, their interior is gorgeous: white walls, airy and open. There are plenty of plants and welcoming tables, as well as a fun yellow-upholstered bench along one wall with booth seating. The café was clean, relaxed and had just the right hipster touch to make me feel incredibly cool just being there.
Arriving at about 8:30 on a Saturday morning, there was a bit of a line, but even ordering for five people, service was friendly and prompt. The baristas poured latte art to perfection. Between the five of us, we tried their iced almond milk latte, almond cappuccino, skim latte, and honey lavender oat milk latte. Everyone was really pleased with their coffee– I think I raved about mine for the entire walk back to downtown afterward. The milk was perfectly steamed, offering a perfect creaminess that complemented the espresso nicely. The honey lavender flavor offered a perfect hint of sweetness and subtle floral deliciousness. As for the food, the avocado toast was the star of the show. The honey sriracha and herb sauce really made it stand out from the many avo toasts I’ve had in my day– offering a perfect mix of sweet, spicy and savory on top of the creamy avocado and perfectly crunchy rustique bread. The bagel breakfast sandwich was also a hit, and the vegan butter honey toast and granola/yogurt bowl rounded out our spread. Every plate was clean when we finished. All in all, just a perfect start to the day.
The Perk Downtown
The Perk was the first coffee stop I made on the trip!
The interior was very classic/cozy cafe: dark walls, with a good selection of non-dairy milk (coconut, almond, oat) and syrup flavors. Their upstairs had a patio with really cool murals if you prefer outdoor dining. We just did a to-go order, but I really liked their cheerful, colorful tables and chairs up there! Definitely upcharges on the higher side for doing both a flavor and a syrup, but around 50-75 cents seems to be a standard charge for non-dairy milk in Colorado Springs. The baristas were friendly and made our drinks very fast, asking for individual names for each.
I got an iced vanilla oat milk latte and it was really sweet and creamy! Obviously tasted like coffee, but the combo of the flavor and milk to espresso ratio made this drink a little bit on the sweet/milky side. I chugged this before we made it back to the hotel! An iced drink definitely hit the spot after a morning run.
Stopped by Loyal for a decaf afternoon sip– looking for something iced to beat the heat. It was about a fifteen minute walk from the hotel, so I was definitely sweating and looking to cool off by the time I arrived!
Loyal had arguably the prettiest café interior I saw in Colorado Springs, and it was up against some stiff competition. The hexagonal tile floors were gorgeous. The café itself was minimalistic and open, with a few well-placed succulents. There was a mix of wooden booth seating that looked great for getting work done, as well as tables with modern metal chairs. The merch here also looked really tempting!
The baristas were super friendly– asking after our days, where we were from, if we wanted menu suggestions. I was looking for an easy iced decaf option, so they suggested an iced americano (with decaf espresso). With a splash of oat milk, that definitely hit the spot! My sister and I sat indoors for a few minutes, enjoying the vibes– at 4:30ish in the afternoon, it was not super crowded indoors– then took to the streets and soaked up the sunshine, multitasking by walking and sipping.
Bird Tree Café
Oh my goodness, this interior was awesome! Near the door, they had a fun inspirational message and artsy bicycle situation. One wall was painted all birch trees like a little forest, and there was an awesome mural by a local artist right near the restrooms. All in all, super cool, funky interior and also some outdoor seating, which I opted for.
I got an iced latte with almond milk and sugar free vanilla syrup. The vanilla flavor was strong and quite agreeable. One hot latte we ordered ended up coming out iced (probably because every other latte was and there was just one barista doing everything) but still tasted good. Overall, a solid coffee– not the largest iced latte I’ve ever had, but refreshing nonetheless. The food menu for breakfast looked delicious as well– Bird Tree seems like more of a brunch worthy café than a standalone coffee shop.
This tiny house coffee shop was so charming and was located right next to Acacia Park. As a heads up, there are homeless people in the park in the morning– but part of what is so cool about Story is that a portion of their proceeds goes toward helping the homeless in Colorado Springs. There are a few outdoor tables on their little patio and even a few inside the tiny little café. I really enjoyed the ordering window as well– definitely worked well in Covid times.
I got a cold brew with oat milk and thoroughly enjoyed it. The barista was super friendly (even though I’m sure I made it a little weird when I went inside and took photos of the interior with my coffee) and it was a really pleasant morning. I probably could have gone for a splash more oat milk but won’t begrudge the team that since I prefer things on the milkier side than most folks. If I had really wanted a high milk-to-coffee ratio, I should have gotten an iced latte. My sister’s iced oat milk latte was amazing. Also super cool to note they roast their own coffee!
Urban Steam is a brunch spot with a super cool, modern interior. It’s located in an industrial neighborhood a couple blocks from a men’s shelter– kind of a random location, but worth a trip. We sat outside, so I can’t comment too much on the vibes inside.
I was excited to see that this was an Aussie-style café, so of course I had to go for a flat white. I got mine with almond milk, and as a result I think I got a better taste for the (very strong) espresso, but to me it tasted a bit bitter and under-extracted. Still enjoyable though! Other orders at my table included an iced mocha (delish!) and an iced raspberry mocha, which was also positively received but very sweet with both the raspberry and chocolate competing with the espresso The food was fabulous– generous portions with plenty of great brunch fare. There was the classic avo toast, eggs benny and French toast, but also some really creative plates. I got the muesli bake, which was delicious, but also felt like a fun little unique and healthy find. People also rave about their “Southern Comfort” chicken and waffles.