Higher Grounds Coffee in downtown Golden, CO was a popular meet up place for teachers and students when I was in high school in the late 90s. I just visited them in early 2017 and am pleased to report that they haven’t changed a bit. They are still a popular place for students and teachers from both Golden High School and the Colorado School of Mines. They’re also close enough to everything in downtown Golden to be attractive to tourists. If you’re visiting Golden, add them to your list of places to drop into. The service was great, the ambiance quaint, and the coffee delicious.
The service. I was welcomed with a smile and a warm greeting as soon as I walked in the door. You’ve heard Mike and I complain on our podcast about coffee shop employees ignoring us for minutes on end. Not here. And once I ordered, the service was quick and professional. There was also no awkward coffee language barrier communicating with the barista.
The ambiance. It’s a quaint little shop with board games for guests and plenty of room for people on laptops. An important note for travelers is that there was also a bathroom inside the joint. The menu is large, legible, not cluttered up to the point you get lost looking for drinks.
The coffee. The coffee was good. the wife and I both ordered mochas, as there were no single origin pout overs available. There are solid coffee offerings, even if it’s not a third wave shop. I would recommend sticking to espresso. You won’t be disappointed with it.
Conclusion. The other customers looked at me a little strange while I was inside. That could be because I was traveling with kids during school hours, because I was wearing an Arizona Wildcats hat (in Colorado Buffaloes country), or because I was taking pictures. Not sure which one.
The last notable thing about Higher Grounds was the cup sleeves they used. Their cups had another company’s branding on them (I can’t remember if it was a roaster or not) and the cup sleeves had Centrum Vitamints packages attached to them. Yes, Vitamints. I’m not sure if these were free, cheaper, or maybe the owner has stock in Centrum’s parent company, Pfizer.
But for whatever reason, the coffee sleeve seemed like a good place to brand some multivitamins. I sure hope they’re getting paid well for giving up such valuable billboard real estate. I know I wouldn’t do it. Britevision offers advertising sleeves where cafe owners only have to pay $10 per case for shipping. That’s appealing for cafes just starting out when you compare it to roughly $210 per case of custom printed sleeves. But it seems out of place for an established, well run, and popular cafe within walking distance of a college with over 4600 students.
I would encourage you to visit Higher Grounds the next time you’re in Golden for the coffee experience. But also encourage cafe owners to not give up their own brand presence so quickly.