The Mines Student’s Guide to Coffee Houses Near Campus

Higher Grounds
Hours: 5:30am to 7:30pm
Wifi speed: 41 ms ping, 0.51 Mbps download, 1.21 Mbps upload
This cute and cozy coffee shop is a favorite among Mines students and faculty, as customers can be seen reading books on mechanics, debugging code, or chatting about job offers with a hot cup of coffee in hand (and even the cups are homey, if grabbing a drink to stay). Higher Grounds has excellent and friendly staff, the best chai latte in Golden, and pretty decent burritos if hunger begins to set in while working. There are reachable outlets nearly everywhere in the shop, and both tables and couches. Best yet, the shop is the closest shop to campus, and even closer to some academic halls like Coolbaugh than they are to Einstein’s in CTLM.
When all tables are full, it would be nice if the shop were larger, though that would detract from its coziness. Internet speed is satisfactory, but not great. But the most disappointing characteristic about Higher Grounds is their hours. Looking to get some work done or have a conversation over cocoa after dinner? Too bad, because Higher Grounds closes at 7:30PM most evenings, forcing Golden caffeine-seekers to head to Starbucks or even Arthur Lakes Library’s Book and Brew.

Cafe 13
Hours: 6:30-3:00
Wifi speed: 36 ms ping, 7.60 Mbps download, 3.32 Mbps upload
Nestled in the Armory on 13th Street, Cafe 13 boasts serving Conscious Coffees from Boulder just one block from the Mines campus. Warm beverages are both relatively good price and quality, and the staff is friendly. But if hunger begins to set in, it best to walk down the street to a real sandwich shop than overpaying here for a sandwich.
The wifi system likely will not lend easily to staying a while anyway. The reason Cafe 13’s internet speeds are higher than some is that they require customers to sign in with a code from their purchase receipt, and that code is only valid for two hours. Additionally, the shop’s hours expect customers to mostly hang out in the morning. The building is beautiful, the furniture cozy, but only except to spend a few hours here if internet access is not required…or if multiple drinks are to be bought.

Windy Saddle
Hours: 7:00 to 6:00
Internet speed: 32 ms ping, 12.61 Mbps, 8.13 Mbps
Windy Saddle is both a coffee, sandwich, and pastry shop, with many gluten free options. As far as warm beverages go, the prices are comparable to Higher Grounds’ and are quite delicious–their pumpkin pie latte is head and shoulders above a Starbucks pumpkin spice latte. If being near campus is getting tiresome, Windy Saddle is walkable, but in the heart of downtown Golden, between 12th and 11th Street.
The atmosphere is great for conversation, but terrible for productivity. There are a few outlets and the internet speed is relatively good, but the productivity-killer is the noise, as most customers are there to eat or chat. And like many shops in downtown Golden, post-dinner hours are non-existent.

Bean Fosters
Hours: 6:30 to 6:30
Wifi speed: 47 ms ping, 0.54 Mbps download, 0.25 Mbps upload
A self-described “coffee, tea, and people place”, Bean Fosters is worth the five-minute drive from campus down 6th Ave. The bookstore/coffee house provides a homey atmosphere, but not as cozy as Higher Grounds’ as the shop is larger and not fully carpeted. There are a few places for laptops, but is ideally a place to read, write, or talk over a mug of a hot americano. Forget streaming music while working on a laptop, or downloading the latest assignment from Blackboard, for the internet is glacially slow.
Although not very cozy (especially when working near the windows, where the outlets are), Bean Fosters is a nice getaway from campus and the usual coffee shops that double as sandwich places in downtown Golden.

Starbucks on 13th and Washington
Hours: 5:00 to 9:30
Wifi speed: 110 ms ping, 1.40 Mbps download, 1.42 Mbps upload
Starbucks is the opposite of what one pictures when thinking of a cozy college town coffee shop, but it is included here because of the noticeably longer hours than any coffee house in Golden, or even Colorado. Starbucks stays open to 9:30, but students will have wanted to had spent their money and received their caffeine fix across the street at Higher Grounds.
The atmosphere is more conducive to conversations, though the back area has areas good for studying. However, the shop is the opposite from cozy–it is downright cold, even when the outside temperatures are balmy. The internet speeds are quite atrocious, and hopping on CSMWireless in the library is probably a better option. Going to graduate school in Seattle or Vancouver, or places where coffee shops are open all night, is probably the best option.
Book and Brew:
Hours: 7:30 to 9:00 most days, closes at 3:00 Fri and Sat
Internet speed: CSMWireless…
If productivity needs a hot beverage for a catalyst and late hours seem to be ahead, consider going to Book and Brew at Arthur Lakes Library instead of Starbucks. Book and Brew closes at 9 most evenings, but the library stays open until midnight. However, this is not the place to hang out and have a conversation, neither is it the place to be when sick of being on campus.

Best coffee house: Combine Windy Saddle’s internet speed, Starbucks’ hours (and add at least two more hours), the hominess of being around books at Bean Fosters, and everything about Higher Grounds, and there students will find Golden’s Best Coffee Shop. However, until the small town of Golden realizes that students need late night caffeine options, Higher Grounds will be the best place to grab a chai, or whatever your chosen caffeine vice is, and bust out a lab report.

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