If I say the words “college student study spot,” what comes to mind? A coffee shop, perhaps? Coffee shops are one of the quintessential study spots for college students worldwide, and yet many coffee shops aren’t well adapted for long study sessions. Here’s eight Denver based coffee shops that are!
What makes a coffee shop good for studying? Well, I suppose it depends on the individual. For me, there definitely need to be at least a few outlets available to plug my laptop into, as most of my work is done via my laptop. And yes, I said “outlets” plural, because there’s nothing more frustrating than seeing the two available outlets already taken up by others when your laptop keeps ever-so-gently reminding you that it has low battery. I also like to have various seating options in the coffee shops where I study. Usually I alternate between a standard chair and a comfier armchair or couch, depending on what kind of work I’m getting done that day. Lastly, I love to see a varied menu and/or some good seasonal options to keep things interesting. I love my espressos but when I’m struggling through a 20 page paper, something as simple as trying a new drink can really pick me up!
1. If you want to stay on campus: Beans Coffee Shop
Most, if not all, DU students will know this one! Beans Coffee shop is a student-run coffee shop located on DU’s campus, and as of last year they opened a second on-campus location. They always have fresh snacks, and they have new specials each week of the quarter to keep things exciting. Their original location has some good seating options with plenty of outlets and is very student-focused. (Their second, newer, location doesn’t have seating within it, but it is located in an academic building that has tons of seating options throughout, and is great for grabbing a to-go on the way to class!) I loved studying at the original Beans, as I always knew I’d be in a student environment.
2. If you’re into the indie hipster vibe: Steam Espresso Bar
With industrial lights and giant windows that used to be garage doors, Steam gives off a friendly hipster vibe. Their menu seals the deal with fresh juices and healthy snacks, as well as some of the best espresso in Denver. I loved the quiet, studious atmosphere and the shared workspace feel. Somehow studying at Steam always made me feel a little more grown up or mature. I also like the different seating options, with both chairs and stools, that gave me some variety on longer study days.
3. If you’re a night owl: Roostercat Coffee House
I stumbled upon Roostercat when my best friend and I were looking for a study spot that would stay open past 8pm. We’d been driving around for about 30 minutes, stopping at any coffee shop we saw, hoping it would be open. Enter Roostercat, who drew us in immediately with its late night hours, a patio, and an outdoor fire pit. Outlets abound, as do chairs, making it easy to plug in your electronics or hold a late night group meeting. The seating options expand with a few couches at the front of the house and the outdoor seating area. I loved the community feel of Roostercat as well as their lavender latte. Though their menu isn’t the largest, what they do have tastes delicious!
4. If you want to join the crowd: Kaladi’s Coffee Bar
This was the first non-Starbucks coffee place I went to in Denver, on a suggestion from a friend. It’s right next to campus, and has an extremely varied menu. There’s plenty of outlets in between each of the many tables. There aren’t any couches or comfy chairs but that allows for a lot of different tables and benches for maximum space usage. It’s a friendly, collaborative workspace which means you can always find a small spot to slot yourself into and work away.
5. If you want to study in between classes: Lost Coffee
Lost Coffee was a long-awaited new addition near DU’s campus, as students impatiently waited for the newly-remodeled space to open. With its high ceilings, white walls, and giant windows overlooking the two busiest streets near campus, it’s the ideal place to stop and get some homework done in between classes. They know it’s an almost-campus coffee shop, and have decorated it accordingly. There’s outlets in a few places, and there’s long workbench tables to accommodate group meetings or busy rush hours of students. Its bright atmosphere will keep you awake, as will the nice selection of tasty coffees.
6. If you’re a total nerd: The Molecule Effect
Let’s get one thing straight: nerd is a compliment here. And therefore, Molecule Effect is one of my all time favorite coffee places I’ve been to, because they’re nerdy and proud of it. With an inventive drinks menu and coffee served in beakers, how could I not absolutely love this place? Their modern decor and carefully chosen artwork adds to this (including the amazing mural outside – check it out before you head inside to study!), and their couch and chairs fit in perfectly! The couch is also super comfortable which is a great plus. They’ve got several outlets located throughout, and they don’t mind if you sit there for a few hours to study. They play good music through their speakers, and the atmosphere is quiet which allows some great study time. (They also have wine!)
7. If you’re looking for a modern study oasis: Platform T
I truly wish I had found Platform T sooner in my undergrad career! Platform T is one I found in the second half of my senior year, and then promptly started going to at least once a week. Confession: although I like coffee just as much as any undergrad/recently graduated student, I’m a huge sucker for iced tea, too. Luckily, Platform T has plenty of options. And when you inevitably are too overwhelmed to choose one, their staff will kindly suggest a few options to help you out. Their menu also holds delicious snacks, great for longer study sessions, and glasses of wine – perfect for a celebratory moment after submitting a final paper! As with their exhaustive menu, their seating options seem limitless. Tables with chairs on one side and a comfortable booth-bench on the other, round stools, lower stool-chairs, and high tables with barstools are just some of the options. I loved the clean minimalist atmosphere and the great playlists they used too!
8. If you want the coziest study session possible: Keith’s Coffee Bar
I seriously considered not sharing Keith’s with you, because I want to keep it my little secret. It’s not a completely unknown coffee spot… but most undergrads don’t know about it, and I certainly didn’t share it with most people until I’d graduated (hey now, I like my quiet study sessions!). I found this coffee shop by happy accident when I went to an appointment at the hospital opposite it and immediately fell in love. The warm colors of the decor, the friendly staff, the extensive specials on the menu, outlets every few feet along the walls, and most of all – the comfy chairs! Though I usually sat at a regular chair + table when I had a lot of writing to do, I often sank into one of their gorgeous armchairs to slog through a pile of reading. A small warning: weekend mornings have live music, so plan to go later if you prefer quiet – or go early to watch and then take your books out later on. Also, try the apple pie cider in the fall. You’ll thank me.
I hope you’ve found some coffee shop inspiration, and if you’re in Denver – or plan to visit sometime soon – give one of these a try!
P.S. A bonus coffee shop: Festive Cup Coffee – This one is not one I would go to for studying personally, and it’s in the neighboring area Highlands Ranch rather than Denver itself, however it’s a unique coffee shop and gift boutique that I believe is worth visiting. Their coffees taste delicious, and they have all sorts of cute gifts – from funny mugs, to motivational quote posters, to unique jewelry!