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The 7 Best Coffee for a Cause Across Denver

These days, I’m drinking way too much coffee. Sure, that is related to my inherent caffeine addiction, but I also can’t resist the foam art on a fancy latte. A fancy foam art latte makes me happy, so naturally, I stumbled into a coffee shop near my work for a birthday treat last month.  Little did I know, that this coffee shop would spark my next line of research. Prodigy Coffeehouse (see below) has a clear message that they are not just here to make and serve delicious craft coffee. Their whole business is built on making a difference. I felt inspired to find the best Denver coffee shops with charitable causes and missions to make the world and the local community a better place. Somewhere I wouldn’t feel guilty about spending nearly ten dollars on a thoughtfully-crafted cup of coffee. These 7 best Denver coffees with a cause don’t skip on quality roasting and brews and provide comfortable workspaces with incredible breakfast burritos.

Support Women, Immigrants & Cultural Diversity

  • Berkeley 
  • “Women-owned. Guate inspired. Bilingual café” 
  • Hours: 7 am-3 pm, closed Tuesdays 

Convivio Café opened its doors in November 2022 and made a big splash. Founded by Kristin Lacy and Vivi Lemus and thoughtfully named “Convivio”, or a gathering where all are welcome, this cafe strives to support its community through inclusivity and fair-trade practices that support the farmer and culturally-rooted food. As a bilingual cafe that is both women and immigrant-owned, it provides a comfortable environment for customers from all walks of life. Convivio values working with “artesanos” (artisans) across Central America and West Denver to support “farmer-roasted” coffee and short supply chains that keep more money in the producer’s pocket. In other words, the coffee goes right from the farmer into your cup. I enjoyed an exquisite cup of Guatemalan medium roast coffee with an incredible vegetarian breakfast burrito while my cousin sipped on a chai latte. 

Support the Future of Denver’s Young Adults

  • Original: 40th & Colorado, Globeville: 45th and Broadway
  • “Prodigy: a person, especially a young one, endowed with exceptional abilities” 
  • Hours: 6:30 am-4 pm daily 

At Prodigy Coffeehouse, their mission is to foster leadership, healing, and other skills that will support economic mobility and sustainable lives for youth in the Northeast Denver communities. Each barista you see is completing a 12-18 month apprenticeship in which they learn exactly how to run a coffeehouse. Along with its mission, prodigy boasts top-quality craft coffee in a beautiful space with garage doors that provide natural light and a warm breeze in the summertime. I indulged in a tasty brown sugar latte and bacon breakfast burrito here while completing some work using the cafe’s free WiFi (no password required 👏. 

Support Real-World Learning for Denver Students

  • Highlands
  • “Radically changing the way business, education, and community intersect” 
  • Hours: Daily 6:30 am-5 pm

Pinwheel Coffee’s mission supports hands-on, real-world learning experiences for the Denver youth. Students at Embark Education are not only your friendly neighborhood baristas they’re also the entrepreneurs behind the business. Students were involved in the entire process of creating Pinwheel Coffee from researching locations to designing and creating a business plan. Now that the business is up and running, their focus has shifted to learning more about ethical sourcing practices and the science behind the bean. So, grab a cup of Joe and support the education of your local Denver youth. I ordered a scrumptious honey latte and paired it with their yummy breakfast burrito. 

Support Denver Girls

  • Jefferson Park (ish) 
  • “Inspiring women from bean to barista” 
  • Hours: Monday-Friday 8 am-3 pm 

Strong, Smart, and Bold Beans is a creation of Girls Inc. of Metro Denver. Girls Inc. is an organization that serves girls ages 6-20 by providing research-based programs meant to inspire strong, smart, and bold qualities in our girls. They also participate in advocacy for women’s rights. As an enterprise of Girls Inc., Strong, Smart, and Bold Beans provides employment for girls in metro Denver while serving exclusively women-owned and operated roasters. All proceeds from the cafe go back into Girl’s Inc. Strong, Smart, and Bold Beans is located in the STEAM on Platte building where it is cozy, modern, and quiet. The perfect work environment. However, you can also support the coffee shop by finding their coffee truck and/or catering your next event! I had to purchase my coffee to go. It left me feeling strong, smart, and bold throughout my busy day. 

Support Sustainability

  • Virginia Village
  • “Coffee for good” 
  • Hours: Monday-Friday 7 am-6 pm, Sat. 8 am-6 pm, Sun. 8 am-4 pm

This list wouldn’t be complete without the best Denver coffee for sustainability. At Unravel Coffee, sustainability comes first. Most notably, Unravel uses exclusively glass jars. That’s right, never not once was a paper cup wasted here, not even for to-go orders. The jars are slim enough to fit into your car cup holder so that you can continue on your way without hassle. The jars do not cost extra, but you can opt to join their jar exchange program for 50 cents. This program allows you to bring jars back in exchange for a new one. Now at Unravel, the sustainability ends with glass jars but begins with sustainable sourcing practices. Founders Jim Deter and Steve Holt are committed to their mission of intentional sourcing from Ethiopia and in-house roasting. Here, like Convivio, the beans go directly from “shrub to cup”. You can learn more about their practices here

Support the Neurodivergent Community

  • Littleton & Park Hill
  • “Divergent, Inclusive, Representation, Transforms”=D.I.R.T 
  • Hours: Monday-Saturday 7 am-1 pm 

As a speech therapist, this mission is near and dear to my heart. DIRT Coffee Bar is “transforming hiring practices” by employing and offering vocational training programs for neurodivergent individuals. Their goal is to close the employment gap and make workspaces more equitable for those with disabilities. Not only do they train neurodivergent individuals to be baristas, but they focus on developing transferable vocational skills for employment beyond DIRT. DIRT serves up specialty coffee from local roaster Huckleberry coffee. I should also mention that, of course, DIRT is woman-run. I sipped on an almond milk latte while working in the inclusive & cozy cafe in the Park Hill neighborhood.  

Support Rhinos in RiNo

  • RiNo
  • “Lekker: Great, Tasty, Fantastic”
  • Hours: Daily from 6:30 am-1 pm

Lekker Coffee donates 10% of its profits to Care for Wild a Rhino sanctuary in South Africa. The best way to describe this spot is jubilant. Each customer is greeted warmly by the mother-daughter-duo behind the counter. This passionate pair takes the time to get to know their customers and make you feel welcome in their space. Seriously, these ladies LOVE what they do and you can feel that. Beyond the passionate business owners, is the bright and tasteful decor that wakes you up and boosts your mood. Before you leave, be sure to check out the live feed of the Rhinos you’re helping save in Africa. Lekker serves up some delicious, locally roasted NOVO coffee as well as burritos and pastries from Denver’s Onefold. So, enjoy your cup of joe while supporting the conservation of our planet’s finest. I got their delish drip and a hearty vegetarian breakfast burrito.

We can call the best Denver coffee with a cause a win-win-win situation. You get to enjoy a delicious cup of coffee that brightens the rest of your day without feeling any guilt. You’re spending money where it counts. It’s also no secret that there’s been heightened pressure around social issues lately and we’re all feeling it. It’s nice to know that supporting a cause you care about can be as simple as purchasing a latte. So, I hope you found the best Denver coffee with a cause that aligns with your values. I hope you feel inspired to share with friends. Spread the word that by supporting some local coffee shops, you’re helping your community and supporting social change. 

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