With the world of craft beer and liquor growing steadily, people often forget about the other part of the ever growing specialty beverage industry.  I’m talking about the drinks that shake us from our nightly slumbers and help us take on the challenges of everyday life, and after a night with its more “spirited” cousin it is often the only thing lifting our heads from our pillows, caffeine! 

Sure the other side of the craft beverage world helps us deal with the worries and problems of the day, hopefully after the day is done, but millions upon millions of people around the world turn to caffeine to face the day ahead.  Here in Fort Collins we have a good number of specialty coffee and tea shops with friendly and knowledgeable staff.  But how do you know which one to go to?  Well SavoringFortCollins and The Lab Team are here to help.  The Lab Team has established a fun new way to explore the local beverage seen, The Caffeine Crawl.

On our crawl we went to five different stops around Old Town.  We started with the local chocolate shop, Nuance.  This is where we checked in with Sadie and got our schedule of events along with a goody bag full of coffee samples and other fun items.  Now I know this isn’t a coffee or tea shop but they do serve special chocolate drinks, often mixed with coffee.  Coffee and chocolate has and will forever be a great duo so what better place to start our journey than with coffees sweet mistress.  The owner gave a really interesting and fun lesson on where chocolate comes from and why he started his business as we got to try various samples.  It turns out chocolate has a lot more going on than just milk or dark. 

Next we stopped at Bean Cycle, a local coffee shop that roasts their own beans!  Here we tried a drink that is traditionally from Central America.  One of the baristas gave us a step by step on how to make the drink, turns out he got the recipe from one of if not the oldest and most trusted methods of recipe retrieval, his mom. 

The next stop was one that we have never been to but were extremely interested to try, Cranked Up Coffee.  This is a one man coffee cart, but not just any old coffee cart.  As you come closer you see the word Nitro on the side of the cart.  If you have ever had a Nitro beer than the next time you see this cart stop and grab a cup.  The nitrous makes the cold brewed coffee naturally creamy and a little bit sweat with absolutely no cream or sugar added.  If you see him in the afternoon he often has nitro macha tea on his cart, haven’t tried it yet but you can be sure next time I see it I’m running after. 

On the way to our next caffeine fix we stopped at Revolution Artisan Pops.  Here they make homemade premium popsicles with as much local ingredients as they can get their hands on.  We tried the Harbinger Coffee with sweet cream pop and the Raspberry Hibiscus Pop.  Both were extremely tasty but I still prefer a little cream to enhance that flavor. 

Across the street we stopped at a local staple in the coffee community, Mugs.  They have been around for more than a decade serving great coffee and baked goods to the local community.  They have a shop both in Old Town as well as next to campus on Laurel so you can see how they have been so successful here in a city filled with young professionals and students alike.  They gave us a little break from the coffee side and we got to try some delicious tea and baked goods that were specifically paired for the day’s event.  The coconut oatmeal chocolate chip cookie was quite delightful paired with the Smiling Bear Chai. 

As our crawl was quickly turning to a caffeine fueled skip we headed for the final destination on our tour, Harbinger Coffee.  Here we learned just how different coffee tastes straight up as opposed to over ice.  Next thing we knew the owner brought out something I didn’t know was possible, coffee foam.  He had a whip cream dispenser and had concocted a way to make coffee flavored foam.  What an interesting way to top of the day (pun intended).

The Lab Team is based in Kansas City and here in Fort Collins but they do caffeine crawls throughout the United States so look for one near you.