By Deborah Flomberg

What makes a good coffee house? Is it the aroma of the freshly roasted beans wafting through the air as you walk through the front door? Or is it that first sip as you sit down in a comfy chair and settle in for a long talk with your closest friends? Maybe it’s the attention to detail that each barista uses as he or she carefully crafts your favorite cup.

(Image Credit: Thinkstock)

Whatever it is, there is a lot of it in Denver, but there are a handful of locally-owned coffee shops that really rise to the top of the cup. Here are a few of Denver’s best. Visit them this weekend and see for yourself just how great these local hot spots are.

Sonder Coffee and Tea
9731 E. Iliff Ave
Denver, CO 80231
(720) 295-4674

Sonder is a small shop without lots of seating, however there is usually a spot or two available and plenty of free Wi-Fi to soak up your connections as you sip on a hot cup of coffee or tea. Sonder roasts their own coffee in small batches and it’s clear why they go to all that trouble. Coffee here is simple, elegant and very well crafted. Tea lovers will also enjoy Sonder, as  you can grab some of their very flavorful teas such as Mountain Berry, Pomegranate or the Village Mist herbal blend. Whatever you choose to indulge in, Sonder is a great spot to swing by, enjoy a cup or two and take in the comfortable, relaxing atmosphere with a friend or three.

Hooked on Colfax
3213 E. Colfax Ave
Denver, CO 80206
(303) 398-2665

As one of Denver’s most popular local coffee shops, Hooked on Colfax is another fabulous stop on your tour of tasty coffee in Denver. It hosts a variety of local Colorado roasters and local companies, so when you shop here, you’ll only be supporting all-local business. The espresso goes through multiple roasts with a great attention to detail as the water goes through its own five-stage water filter. Whether it’s this specific filtration or the impressive skills of the Hooked on Colfax baristas, the result is a cup packed with flavor that’s never bitter. Swing by for a cup, enjoy a tasty breakfast or pastry, or enjoy one of the many local art shows, live music or other events happening at this popular local coffee shop.

Related: Top Spots For Locally Roasted Coffee In Denver

Stella’s Gourmet Coffee and Such
1476 S. Pearl St.
Denver, CO 80210
(303) 777-1031

Since 1991 Stella’s has been an important part of the Denver coffee house landscape. If you’re looking for a spot with plenty of seating and lots of room to meet with that important client or to catch up with friends, this is it. The rooms wind and turn and you’ll find lots of cozy nooks just waiting for you and a pal to curl up with a hot cup of joe. Stella’s serves local coffee roasted Pablo’s Coffee, but they also make many of their own syrups. If you’re a vanilla fan, you definitely want to give Stella’s vanilla a try. With a huge (dog-friendly) patio, a massive bike rack and some of the most creative baristas around, Stella’s is a great place to visit for coffee, tea and friends.

Bardo Coffee House
6150 W. 38th Ave
Wheat Ridge, CO 80033
(720) 485-3508

Don’t let the look of the simple website fool you, Bardo Coffee House knows what they’re doing. As the website explains, they’ve been working hard to make coffee, so hard, in fact, that they didn’t have time to create a proper website. So just swing by the newest location on 38th Avenue and you’ll be glad you did. At Bardo you’ll find delicious coffee, a friendly atmosphere and plenty of tables to enjoy a chat with a friend or two. Plus, the extended hours (till midnight every day) make this a great spot to visit for that late night cup that you’ve been craving. Take a chance and swing by Bardo Coffee House, you’ll be glad you did.

Related: Best Places For Iced Coffee In Denver

Mutiny Information Café
2 S. Broadway
Denver, CO 80209
(303) 778-7579

Mutiny Information Café is another super exciting local hot spot offering up the local coffee by Pablo’s Coffee. You’ll find everything from drip to espresso to French press with all the lattes, mochas and even an amazing spicy Bhakti Chai brought in from Boulder. However, you’ll also find a great expansive independent book shop, a record shop and a comic book shop all in one. Mutiny is the kind of place you can visit for a cup of coffee or tea and then stay for several hours before you realized how much time has passed.  There are tables, of course, for those that prefer to sit and enjoy their coffee, or you can take yours to browse and peruse the packed shelves for a special hidden gem while you sip on your rich cup of coffee.