As I stood in line to grab a bagel and a cup of coffee before heading to work, it occurred to me…the economic downturn has affected many things, but peoples’ passion for coffee is not one of them. There were six folks in front of me at the Bagel Stop Café in Parker, all wanting their daily dose of caffeine. The drive-thru line was five cars deep and five patrons had already set up residence at a table with their various laptops, newspapers, textbooks, and yes, of course, a cup of coffee. My wait in line prompted me to ponder what makes a great coffee shop and I came up with three things – 1) good coffee, 2) an atmosphere that meets the customer’s needs – whether that’s a quiet place to work or a gathering place for friends, and 3) friendly service.
While Parker is home to at least four Starbucks and a Caribou Coffee, I find that the quaint, mom-and-pop coffee shops offer a better coffee experience. In Parker, you’ll find three popular perks that I would consider to be great coffee shops.
Bagel Stop Café, 10401 S. Parker Rd, Parker, CO 80134
The Bagel Stop Café is open Monday through Friday from 6 AM – 2 PM and on weekends from 7 AM – 2 PM. Along with your morning latte, this family owned restaurant serves traditional bagels, bagel sandwiches, breakfast burritos, smoothies, and muffins. The café offers four varieties of brewed coffee, along with a selection of espressos, lattes, iced coffees, and specialty drinks. Prices are reasonable. A 16 oz cup of my favorite hazelnut coffee and a honey butter bagel cost less than $4. Coffee refills, for dine-in patrons, are 50 cents. Comparable to Starbucks, specialty drinks range in price from $3.60 to $4.09. The one drawback to the Bagel Stop Café is that getting your favorite flavor of bagel has about the same odds as a Colorado Lottery scratch-off ticket. Plain bagels are always plentiful, but an “everything bagel”, aptly named The Mountain Man, is as elusive as Bigfoot.
Fika Coffee House, 19559 E. Main Street, Parker, CO 80138
Located on Main Street in beautiful, historic downtown Parker, Fika typifies one’s expectations of what a coffee shop might look like. My first visit to Fika was on impulse. As I walked past the door on my way from the library, the rich smell of a dark roast wafted past my nose and drew me in. The cozy feeling of home kept me and I sat for a long time reading and sipping a latte.
Fika is open Monday through Friday from 6 AM – 5 PM, Saturdays from 6 AM – 3 PM, and Sundays from 8 AM – 1 PM. The specialty drink selection is extensive and the prices at Fika are much better than their competition. My large vanilla latte set me back only $3.50. Fika offers wireless internet service and serves breakfast burritos and pastries to compliment their coffee.
Steaming Bean Coffee, 19190 E. Main Street, Parker, CO 80134
Tucked inside the Lemstone Christian Store at the corner of Parker Road and Mainstreet, you’ll find the Steaming Bean. Larger than most shops in Parker, “the Bean” has a cozy seating area with a leather sofa and lots of overstuffed chairs, along with numerous tabletops scattered about. Steaming Bean features Smoked European style slow roasted coffee and espressos made from their own award-winning Black Canyon beans. In addition to brewed coffee and a large selection of specialty drinks, the Bean serves tamales, burritos, pastries and other baked goods from local vendors. The service is friendly, the atmosphere is inviting, and the prices are comparable to most major coffee houses; with two small lattes and a cookie taking the better part of my $10 bill.
The Bean is open Monday through Saturday from 6 AM – 8 PM and offers free wireless internet service. On most weekends, Christian bands play at Steaming Bean.