Fort Collins daytrip: Deconstructing Decaf with Harbinger Coffee, plus Bean Cycle Roasters

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click to enlarge MATTHEW SCHNIPER

  • Matthew Schniper

Harbinger Coffee

505 S. Mason St., #100, 847-274-2253, harbingercoffee.com

Trusted Springs coffee sources direct me to this 5-year-old Colorado State University-area roaster, which also has a newer location near Timnath, a tiny town southeast of Fort Collins. As third-wave expectations go, Harbinger rates completely on-point, with a minimalist one-room café that’s a simple horseshoe-shaped bar with peripheral seating. I go for a flat white, sometimes called an Aussie cappuccino, actually a smaller-volume latte with a much thinner microfoam topping, allowing the respective coffee nuances to lead the flavor.

Here, that means malty chocolate essence with floral citrus notes, according to tasting notes on the Guatemala-Ethiopia blend Simply Sweet roast. I detect more chocolate later via a bag of outstanding Colombian roast I take home, that’s been decaffeinated via the sugar cane vs. Swiss water process.

My barista confirms this process helps the bean retain more robust flavors, saying these decafs are hard to pull out of a blind tasting because they perform so well. He also makes me feel validated by saying “decaf drinkers are the true coffee fans because they aren’t just drinking it for caffeine.”

Backup Plan: Bean Cycle Roasters

click to enlarge MATTHEW SCHNIPER

  • Matthew Schniper

144 N. College Ave., 970-221-2964, beancycleroasters.com

A market area greets you upon entry into 15-year-old Bean Cycle, with trendy aspirational and girl-power stationery and the like. It’s all ladies kicking ass behind the service counter, too. Rock on!

In search of nutrition, we order the Smoothie Operator, blending apples and carrots with blueberries, strawberries and turmeric for an expectedly sweet treat. And because what’s health without CBD these days, we nab the R2CBD2, a buttered bulletproof 12-ounce coffee with a 10mg kick for a fair $4.

The fat floats, dominating the first couple sips, but afterward a smoothness pervades, the butteriness folding into a chocolaty Guatemalan roast.