On the corner of Boulder and Institute, at the intersection of a busy thoroughfare and a quiet neighborhood street, the location of Switchback Coffee suggests the atmosphere you’ll find inside: simultaneously bustling and peaceful, full of life and of rest, a place to fulfill your work and place to feel at home. The sun rises on the front door, spilling light into the bright white space making the place a warm respite, both metaphorically and really.
In what has become a hallmark of creativity and tenacity, Switchback started in a garage in 2010 where owner Brandon Delgrosso and some friends started roasting. Delgrosso’s aim was and still is to source the best and fairest beans (is it always organic? Nope, its always better than that. Is it always fair-trade? Nope, its always fairer than that) to produce a cup of coffee which always surprises with a story that produces pride.
In the years since that garage beginning, Switchback has evolved to be both a roaster and cafe, consistently directing its evolution toward simplicity and hospitality. Manager Michelle Johnson is helping shape the place into a pause from chaos, a place where the baristas know their coffee as well as your name. Here you’ll find a diverse but familial set of patrons: olympians taking a break from their training, suits from downtown meeting over coffee, Colorado College students buried in their books, moms and grandmas and everyone else.
The food offerings have evolved too, with beautiful presentation and well-crafted flavors, up a notch from standard cafe fare. The avocado toast is a house staple you’ll regret not ordering, but the street tacos are some of the best around. Order at the bar in classic cafe form, and the staff brings your coffee and food to your table in a gesture toward upscale.
If stereotypically in specialty coffee the customer is the enemy, Switchback is breaking the stereotype with class and warmth. Approachable craft, attention to detail, genuine encounter with genuine people.