SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) – According to the World Population Review, Utah is made up of roughly 68.55% Latter-day Saints.
Despite this, the Salt Lake coffee scene is buzzing – literally. Judging by the array of cafés in the area, it seems that residents can’t get their hands on enough lattes and cold brews to satisfy their caffeine cravings. The coffee shops in Salt Lake go far beyond basic chains such as Starbucks and Beans & Brews. In fact, Salt Lake and its surrounding areas are somewhat of a hidden gem for coffee connoisseurs.
To ensure locals and visitors won’t miss out on the perfect sip, ABC4 has compiled a list of the coolest, most eclectic and unique coffee shops in Salt Lake County. Read on to find out where to treat yourself to that specialty cup of joe this weekend.
Cupla Coffee — 175 W 200 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
This cute pit-stop located in SLC’s Axis Building is owned by identical twins Abigail Purdie and Bethany Heath. According to the shop’s website, the sisters landed on the name for their café knowing that ‘Cupla’ translates to ‘twin’ in Irish Gaelic, paying homage to the twins’ ancestry. Since opening Cupla, the two have made their own unique mark in the local food and beverage scene.
First off, let’s talk coffee. Cupla Coffee is proud to roast its own beans sourced from an array of quality plantations around the globe, always remaining fair trade, organic, and shade-grown. The sisters make sure to switch up their brews according to seasonal flavors and supplies. Purdie and Heath proudly consider themselves high-altitude roasters and the faces behind a small batch, tabletop roasting company. The ladies’ website notes that as a high-altitude roastery, they’re able to create unique flavors and quality notes in their roasts, while being a small batch, tabletop roastery allows them to offer customers the best quality, freshest, and perfectly-roasted coffee products.
The shop’s food menu is different from that of other cafés, reflecting the sisters’ personal lifestyles which focus on a low-carb, low-sugar diet where veggies, protein, and healthy fats play a starring role. The twins urge visitors to stretch beyond their comfort zone by indulging in one of their nutritious yet super delicious food options. One just might find that health can, and does taste great.
Honeysuckle Coffee Co. — 8745 S 700 E Suite #2, Sandy, UT 84070
Honeysuckle, a cute little down-to-earth coffee joint with a country twang was established in the suburbs of SLC in the fall of 2017. The owners, Tim and Jenn, are transplants from Charlotte, NC — hence the shop’s southern charm.
The couple chose Sandy for their shop’s location with strategy in mind, writing on their website, “The city of Sandy is quaint, full of people who value relationships and love heritage. For us, the city just made sense as a place we wanted to start our business.”
In terms of their offerings, Tim and Jen aim to enhance the elaborate flavors of coffee by putting the ultimate care into every aspect of their drinks.
The two have a partnership with La Barba Coffee Roasters which roast only specialty grade coffee beans that are imported seasonally. The company focuses on supporting the farmers they work with and everyone in between by only purchasing fair trade, direct trade, and rainforest alliance-certified beans.
Prior to arriving at Honeysuckle, the owners note that every bean is “hand-picked, dried with love, and roasted with the utmost care.”
The team at Honeysuckle is made up of top-notch, dedicated baristas who have worked hard to perfect their craft.
Better yet, all offerings at Honeysuckle, from baked goods and jams to the syrup used to sweeten the drinks, are made in-house from scratch using hormone-free, in-season and mostly local, organic ingredients.
The name “Honeysuckle Coffee Company” was inspired by the honeysuckle flower that is native to Tim and Jen’s home back east. On their website, the couple explains, “We have fond memories of picking and eating the warm honey center from the flower as kids. Our hope is that when you visit our humble little neighborhood shop, you experience a little bit of the southern comforts we grew up with.”
Pay attention to the little things when you visit Honeysuckle, as those small southern delights can be found in the shop’s cozy atmosphere, the staff’s friendliness, and the soul-soothing food and beverages.
Publik Coffee Roasters — 975 S West Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
One of three locations, with a fourth on the way, Publik’s downtown scene is the place to be. This expansive café is made up of two floors and a separate room that can be booked for private parties. The first floor hosts customers at chilled-out, classic wooden tables and countertops, while the upstairs is a more industrial-chic study scene with lounge chairs and closed-door work and conference rooms that can be reserved upon request.
Publik aims to do good by staying true to its beliefs — investing in quality over quantity, a close-knit community, and planet over profit. The roastery is 100% solar-powered and houses an oxidizer that filters out 96% of the particulates from the coffee roasting process.
Publik makes a point to pay tribute to the love and passion that goes into every crop, roast, and cup it’s involved with by partnering with importers who have “strong relationships at origin” and values that reflect its own great quality coffee and a green planet.
The company utilizes advanced technology that takes density, bean size, and processing method into consideration in order to collect and analyze data that gives its coffee the same great taste with each sip.
According to representatives, the word “Publik” is Dutch for “community,” emphasizing their belief that coffee shops are the watering holes that cultivate close groups of neighborhood locals.
Along with delicious drip brews, vibrant espresso shots, smooth cold brew, kombucha on tap, and local beer offerings, Publik sells delicious house-made breakfast toasts and paninis that incorporate their famous out-of-the-box jams like the savory-sweet heirloom tomato spread.
Salt Lake Coffee Break — 430 E 400 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
If Publik is the more sophisticated option on our list of can’t-miss cafés, then Salt Lake Coffee Break is the classic, hole-in-the-wall, hipster hangout.
To describe this joint with one word? “Different.” Open every day from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m., college students come in flocks to study, chit chat, kick back on the outdoor patio, and observe the unique art-brimmed walls in awe.
The venue consists of two separate rooms — one with love seats and countertops that hosts the coffee bar, and another with tabletops and a large open floor concept.
Along with coffee, lattes, pastries, and everything in between, Coffee Break also offers customers a wide array of loose leaf tea options that line the countertop, which are best when mixed and matched to your taste preference. And trust us, they do not skimp on the teabag fillings.
Check out this grunge scene next time you’re trying to embody your inner Breakfast Club character. We promise it won’t disappoint.
Alpha Coffee — 7260 Racquet Club Drive, Cottonwood Heights, UT 84121
Last but certainly not least is Alpha Coffee, a third-wave business that’s making a huge impact not only on Utah’s coffee scene, but on veterans, the community, and the planet as a whole.
The owners, Carl and Lori Churchill, built Alpha from the ground up when they launched their business back in September 2010 as an online company from their basement, initially dubbed “Lock-and-Load Java”. Fast forward six years later to when the couple opened their first shop at the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon in 2017, and the real magic started to surface.
Carl and Lori base their business on the company’s mission statement — “Awesome Coffee, Be a Warrior, Have Fun, and Give Back.”
As a combat veteran with 21 years of service under his belt as both an enlisted soldier and military officer, Carl, along with his wife Lori, made a point to incorporate a big aspect of donation and charity into their business.
Sitting down with ABC4, Carl and Lori shared how they’re taking steps to better the world through the company’s Grounds for Good program.
“The focus is on veterans, planet, and community,” said Carl. Grounds for Good is an expansion of the couple’s Coffee for Troops program, a project that provides troops with one of their most requested care package items: coffee – and good coffee at that. In addition to sending donated coffee directly to deployed troops in combat, the Coffee for Troops program matches the coffee purchases of all deployed service members with a donation to troops, as well as doubling the orders altogether.
Carl spoke of the decision to expand the program beyond veterans to the planet and community, saying, “We feel that climate change is a really big issue, as is pollution here in the valley, air quality, water conservation, and all of that stuff. For the planet, we’re working with the Nature Conservancy in Utah. We’ve donated money to them and we have initiatives to reduce our use of plastics and encourage the use of renewables and customers to bring in their own cups.”
He continues saying, “For the community, we’ll be donating coffee to the TEDx Salt Lake City event that’s coming up, and we recently did the Tillman Honor Run and raised almost $4,500 for the Tillman Foundation.”
Lori added, “We’ve kind of lived our lives in this way since we’ve been together; being very aware of the community and of our carbon footprint on the Earth. We’ve been members of the Nature Conservancy for years now so it’s cool to have them come full circle and for us to be doing something together with our business.”
When asked about what makes Alpha different from other Utah coffee shops, the couple says they feel their shop offers a true “give back” sense of community that can’t be found elsewhere, as well as a real focus on high-quality coffee and well-trained, talented, skilled baristas.
In terms of what their shop has to offer, their menu includes some of the best food and beverages in the state.
“We have something for everyone,” Lori explained. From specialty seasonal coffee drinks like the Koa, a blended chocolatey-coconut summer beverage topped with whipped cream, to basics like their European-style OG cappuccino, Alpha pretty much offers anything coffee one could think of. The menu also incorporates fruity plant-based energy drinks, creamy Italian sodas, and both warm and iced tea options.
For food, Alpha offers an array of both sweet and savory items, though their hearty breakfast burritos take the cake as the fan-favorite. Locally made gelato, scones, quiches, cookies, danishes, pastries, and breakfast sandwiches are also featured on the Alpha menu.
The shop does not fall short in terms of atmosphere, either. The venue is vast with a beautiful view of the mountains. Cozy up by the café’s fireplace with a cup of drip brew and we promise you’ll feel right at home.