I’m not much of a coffee girl which might explain why I don’t get the coffee culture surrounding coffee houses, cafés, whatever you call them. And contrary to what some might think, I don’t get around downtown Boulder as much as the typical Young Urban Hipster (granted, I am NOT a young urban hipster). Half the time when friends suggest a place to meet in town I have no idea what they are talking about and the only reason I get there is because of Google. But I am slowly learning my way around. One of my favorite places in downtown Boulder happens to be a coffee shop.
My friend Andrew introduced me to Atlas Purveyors a year ago when I was looking for a coffee shop to supply the caffeine for our Food and Light participants. Actually, Andrew introduced me to Chris Rosen, one of the owners of Atlas and a genuinely kind and good individual. Chris is the one I blame for my addiction to tea slushies. I’d blame Kit, Brandon, and the rest of the staff at Atlas too, just that I usually hit Atlas during Chris’ shift. I always considered myself immune to the lure of coffee houses because I don’t drink coffee, but Atlas is much more than coffee.
atlas is part of our community
Boulder has a ton of good coffee houses in the downtown Pearl Street area. I once overheard someone walking on Pearl sarcastically remark, “Another coffee shop opening in downtown Boulder? Yeah, I guess we don’t have nearly enough!” But based on how full Atlas is at any given time, one might actually be led to believe that we don’t have enough coffee houses in Boulder. It’s popular and there are many regulars who frequent the establishment to have meetings, to work, and to just hang out.
i enjoy the chalk art and chalk graffiti
But how is their coffee? Well, I’m glad you asked because I’ve been on a mission for the past two years to drag Jeremy around Boulder to sample the coffee and espresso at various locations. He’s picky. More importantly, he’s got discerning taste when it comes to caffeine. I’ll mix it up and take him here and there, but in the end it always comes back to Atlas. Atlas has the best espresso according to the boy. Atlas also has a terrific staff according to me.
chris makes a latte to go
i love watching the latte art emerge
Chris commands an extensive knowledge of coffee and tea. He really researches where their products are sourced and how they are made. At the beginning, I used to get a Thai iced tea boba, but one (sad) day, Kit informed me that they stopped serving Thai tea because of the dyes, which are bad for you. I appreciate that because addicts like me will order that over and over again. And my friend Kathya astutely pointed out to me that Atlas is more tea house than coffee house. Now that I think of it, it’s true. People order pots of tea all the time at Atlas. Their west wall is lined with jars of beautiful teas – every single one of them carefully selected for the best flavor, the best ingredients, the healthiest choice.
a patron enjoys her beverage while getting some work done
The staff at Atlas are always expanding and challenging my taste horizons. I’m that person who finds something she likes and I generally stick with it because why ruin a good thing? But half the time I walk in and request my latest favorite, I will be steered toward something new – which becomes my new favorite. See, Chris likes to experiment and make blends that aren’t on the menu and offer them up for a sample. I have never been a fan of Earl Grey and yet he has totally changed my mind with Pearl Grey and a history lesson on Earl Grey to boot!
matcha slushie with boba (of course)
Atlas offers breakfast fare, sandwiches, salads, and a few bottled beverages as well. They feature the artwork of local artists and host the Boulder Open Coffee Club (tech talk) every other Tuesday. It’s usually standing room only.
The only things I would really want as far as “improvements” go would be 1) a little sign that sticks out from the storefront so my friends from out of town can find Atlas easily from the street and 2) perhaps taking over the neighboring space (who needs that bank next door anyway?) to expand and install more comfy couches.
To be honest, even if Atlas didn’t have great tea and coffee, I’d still go there because the people are terrific. But lucky me and you – they have phenomenal teas and coffee (espresso) and know how to create a beverage that will make you pause after the first sip and say “wow.”
Full Disclosure: I wrote up Atlas of my own volition. Chris gave me a few discounts and freebies on lattes, tea slushies, and experimental flavors when he learned I was planning to write a post, but it doesn’t change anything because I love Atlas absolutely and completely regardless.