Local Eats: Aspen Coffee

Local Eats: Aspen Coffee

Life is just better with a great cup of coffee in hand. It just is. The heat, the aroma, the caffeinated goodness as it hits your lips and warms your body— everything about it just makes the day more do-able. And when you discover a truly excellent brew, handcrafted by enthusiasts who obsess over every step in the process, it’s more than just a beverage, it’s an experience.

Two longtime best friends, Matt Johnston and Kelly Lyda, are all about creating that experience. In 1994, they tapped into the emerging coffee culture when they opened their first Aspen Coffee Company location. Downtown Stillwater, OK was officially amped. “In 1994, coffee shops were becoming very popular due to things like Starbucks and the TV show, Friends,” Johnston reflects. “We realized a lot of college towns had independently owned shops that did well. Stillwater didn’t have one, so we got started and renovated a building downtown.”

Something good in the neighborhood

Four Stillwater locations and two Edmond cafes later, this buzzing coffee shop still gives you all the feels of the original magic they stirred up 25 years ago. There’s a reason their lattes are legendary, with full, rich flavor and no burnt taste or harsh after-bite. Not only does Aspen Coffee source the best beans from all around the globe, they roast them in small batches more frequently, making it as fresh as it can be. “Roasting in small batches allows the Master Roaster to pay more attention to small details in how the beans react under different situations,” Johnston says. “This lets the roaster make fine adjustments and bring out the best flavor profile for each variety of coffee.”

Atmosphere and Aspenheads

The chilled-out vibe at the Edmond Aspen Coffee shops is no accident. Big tables, open spaces and rustic decor invite customers to hang out, relax and stay as long as they like. It’s a perfect spot to re-fuel and check email, meet a client for business or hang with friends. Or make some new friends. As Johnston tells his employees (Aspenheads), “Make great coffee and love the people.”

Bites and brew

Did someone say fresh pastries? Most are made in-house and are the perfect soul mate to your favorite drink. Delicious sandwiches, salads and breakfast burritos give you meal-time options from morning to night, too. You can’t resist trying new things at this flavor powerhouse, especially knowing that the meticulously roasted coffee makes every drink a slam-dunk. Warm up with a Breve–it’s like a cappuccino but made with steamed half-and-half instead of milk. Yes, please! Or get a quick shot of motivation with the hot help of a Cortado which blends equal parts espresso and steamed milk, making it one smooth operator. The iced coffee, frozen drinks and fruit smoothies add more fun to the liquid lineup. It’s the perfect treat at this busy time of year. There’s no better way to make the most of the holidays. All you need is love… and coffee.

Stop by Aspen Coffee Company’s Edmond locations at 180 West 15th St. or 3649 E. 2nd St. or visit www.aspencoffeecompany.com.

Laura Beam

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