In a college town like Boulder, Colorado, local coffee shops are a must for study and hang out. And while downtown Boulder is chock-full of trendy coffee lounges promising the best cup of this or the most breathtaking latte art, I’m here to make the case that The Cup Espresso Cafe on Pearl Street is undoubtedly the best coffee shop in this town. Here’s why:

1. The Flavor is Fresh

Coffee drinkers know that a stale coffee bean makes for a rancid, cow dung taste post-brew. While some coffee chains hide an old bean by adding sweeteners and artificial flavors, The Cup Espresso Cafe guarantees only the freshest beans for the freshest flavor. Only beans roasted within ten days of less make the cut at this Pearl Street gem to ensure quality taste. All the beans are roasted at a craft micro-roastery in Boulder, Colorado called Conscious Coffee.

2.  Fair Trade and Organic Products Only

At The Cup, customers can feel good about what they’re drinking because all of their products are organic and fair trade certified. The coffee beans at The Cup are produced with rigorous social, environmental, and economic standards that promote safe working conditions for the growers. To the socially conscious coffee drinker, it’s a relief to know your purchase empowers growers and helps them improve their community. Customers can purchase beans from all over the world, including organic Guatemalan, Bolivian, and Peruvian beans.

3. Low Key Vibe, but High Key Atmosphere

The Cup is hands down the best hang out cafe in Boulder, Colorado. The interior has an industrial-meets-comfort vibe, with comfy lounge chairs amidst a brick and wood interior. The cafe is divided into two sections. The front of the cafe is set with a cluster of high top tables, and on warm days transforms into an open-air patio. A short hallway decorated with pictures of fair trade workers leads to the back of the cafe, which offers long tables and a charming wooden cell phone booth in the back corner. Whether you’re people watching, studying, or stopping in for a quick cup of Joe, you won’t be disappointed by the fun, laid back atmosphere.

4. Their Website is Easy to Navigate

Ok, so maybe not everyone gives a hoot about user interface design or navigability, but you have to show some respect for local businesses that invest in their website. The Cup Espresso Cafe website is easy to navigate and offers information on literally anything you’d ever want to know about their business. With a couple clicks, the customer can access the full menu, purchase cool products, and learn what’s what in the world of coffee (a charming news feature they’ve dubbed “The Cupdate”). Their company site is a dream to customers that like to do their research before they purchase.

Katy Caballeros moved to Boulder from Grand Rapids, MI. She studied English and writing at Aquinas College and pursued a liberal arts career path gone crooked, occupying jobs ranging from telemarketer to kindergarten phonics tutor. Passionate about local advocacy, Katy admires Boulder’s proclivity towards progress, scholarship, and environmentalism. When she isn’t writing or listening to KUNC, Katy likes to explore local cafes and bookstores with her partner, Em. Passionate about motivating young people, Katy is an assistant coach for the Boulder High School cheerleading team (Go Panthers!). Grateful to be welcomed into the Boulder community, Katy wants to give back by informing Boulderites about the best places to play and visit in their community.