Situated on Colorado’s western slope, Gunnison is a small town that’s isolated by way of mountains and passes and just two roads that lead in or out. It’s a beautiful stop nearby the iconic resort town Crested Butte (both existing in the same county and school district) and is a destination all on its own—known for Western Colorado University, high alpine desert biology and beauty, ranching and agriculture, Colorado’s largest man-made reservoir, and endless mountain recreation.
Gunnison is my hometown. I love the fresh air and the deer that hang out on Pine Street and how there’s only one set of schools (elementary, middle, and high), all on the same walkable block. And with a mix of nostalgia and taste, I’m a huge fan of Gunnison’s coffee shops.
Whether you’re in Gunnison for a vacation, a weekend, an afternoon, or just driving through, chances are high that you could use a delicious pit-stop—either to fill your tanks with caffeine, pastries, or ice cream. You can’t go wrong with a cup of coffee, a mug of tea, or a freshly baked artisan muffin.
Here are the coffee shop options in Gunnison, Colorado, each unique in their delivery of fresh java and small-town vibes.
Mochas Coffee House and Bakery
710 N Main St, Gunnison, CO 81230
Mochas is the longest-standing coffee shop in Gunnison, recently celebrating 24 years of business. Now that The Bean is no longer downtown, this shop is considered one of the loyal local choices. It has an ordering space and a seating area (they’ve expanded and remodeled several times over the years), and they also have a drive through window.
This shop is located at an iconic location by City Market, in a small strip mall area that they’ve dominated for ages. There’s picnic tables and chairs outside for open seating, though most people grab a booth inside to chat and hang out. The vibe is fun and vibrant, with art and music and the hum of happy customers.
Mochas has all the goods: coffee, smoothies, milkshakes, Italian ice sodas, ice cream, pastries, wraps, bagels, sandwiches, bagel sandwiches. They’ve got an inclusive menu that always feels too large to get through, but is there if you want to try something new.
For me, I think of Mochas through the lens of gaining my independence. I walk here with my friends on the weekends and drive here after school once I finally got my license. I interviewed some community members over chai when I worked as an intern at the Gunnison Country Times. Now as a visiting adult, I come to Mochas for strong, delicious coffee and the chance to bump into someone I know.
700 N Main St Suite A, Gunnison, CO 81230
The newest addition to Gunnison’s coffee shops is the Coffee Trader, a large and modern space that feels welcoming and smooth. They live in a large yellow building right on the corner of Main Street and Denver, a perfect spot to either walk in or drive through their convenient window.
This is the fifth Coffee Trader location—they have others in Montrose and Grand Junction and have been perfecting their brews since 1999.
Overall, the Coffee Trader has a vibe that welcomes customers to stay a while. There’s plenty of room to relax at the tables or sit for a while and work, whether on homework or a novel or a grocery list. Their coffee is delicious and affordable and their drink menu is clear and expansive—with seemingly endless options for a specialty drink, whether its tea, espresso, or chocolate-based.
I’ve only been here once, and it was a wonderful experience. My latte was refreshing and flavorful and the service was outstanding and quick. I’ve heard great things about their food and pastries as well, and will be going back for more in the future.
Double Shot Cyclery
222 N Main St, Gunnison, CO 81230
As far as innovation goes, Double Shot has it down. This place is a combo unit: coffee shop meets bike shop. They’ll fix your bike while you sip their brews. Gunnison is a mountain biking haven, so this is right up the alley for both locals and visitors alike. They’re located right on Main Street and have a very walkable or, perhaps more on-brand, bikable spot downtown.
Double Shot considers themselves a hub for coffee, cocktails, food, bikes, and community. They’re a one-stop-shop in more ways than one and are highly service-oriented.
When I’ve been to Double Shot, I have enjoyed their downtown location, their chill and non-pretentious vibes, and the friendliest staff who somehow can repair bikes and make a killer cappuccino. There’s no shortage of talent!
Tributary Coffee Roasters
120 N Main St, Gunnison, CO 81230
Definitely one of its kind in small town Gunnison, Tributary Coffee Roasters is a bright, minimalist, and super cool coffee shop located right downtown on Main Street.
Tributary serves up a mix of coffee and non-coffee drinks as well as a great array of food options. Beyond the classic café baked goods, they have some real food options, from burritos to quiche to biscuit sandwiches. They pride themselves on using organic ingredients and sourcing most of their products from local and regional producers.
They’re clean and fresh and have colorful art and keep everything else understated—a sharp menu, a straight-to-the-point counter area, a quirky and hipster vibe that’s a direct contrast to other eclectic and cozy options. It’s like straight out of a city street and it’s the kind of energy that I’ve always thought Gunnison could use.
I’ve been here twice and I dig the vibe. I wasn’t a coffee drinker at the time, but I enjoyed my chai and checking out the new space.
880 N Main St, Gunnison, CO 81230
And, of course, if you’re looking for a convenient and consistent java option, there’s a Starbucks in the Gunnison City Market. You know the deal: coffee, pastries, oatmeal, espresso, blended drinks.
Employees at this location can’t accept tips (because they’re considered City Market/Kroger employees), so please be extra kind to them.
Fun fact: I worked here during the summer after my college graduation. It was my first adult, full-time job.