Aspen runs on Local—at least that’s what Candice Carpenter Olson and Michaela Carpenter have embraced since opening the cool coffee shop on East Cooper Avenue next to Mezzaluna last winter. Originally, Local Coffee House was but a beverage bar tucked in the back corner of Maker (formerly called Maker + Place), a design-minded shop showcasing the mother-daughter duo’s carefully curated selection of artisanal textiles, housewares, jewelry and more from around the world. Its purpose: to enhance the browsing experience via hot drinks. “Aspen had way bigger plans for us,” Carpenter says. “Now Maker is featured in Local Coffee House because the demand for caffeine and sugar in this town is out of control.”
What began as pastries and baked treats soon became plates of avocado toast and black rice porridge; now Local serves a full-blown breakfast, lunch and après-ski menu, thanks to a monthlong offseason renovation that added a commercial kitchen to the property and welcomed a dedicated chef, Julia Lund. Shortly before that, the women opened a second Local Coffee bar just down the Cooper Avenue pedestrian mall, inside Radio Boardshop’s satellite rental shop, and concurrently participated in the Snowmass Base Village grand opening celebration.
Since pulling this off surely must require high doses of their namesake concoction, the pair is diving headfirst into coffee production itself. Recently, the operation invested in a small-batch roaster for churning beans under the wise eye of Carbondale’s Blue Spruce Coffee (formerly Cilundu) owner Lance Norton, known locally as an obsessee who maintains a tight relationship with the farm-to-cup process.
“We’re in this pioneering phase of fourth-wave coffee shops, creating more of a sharing economy around coffee,” Carpenter says. “Like wine tasting, the more you learn, the more you can appreciate it.” In fact, this is exactly what fuels Local. “The people who come to Aspen are from around the world, and they drink in the best coffee shops in Milan or London,” Carpenter Olson says. “That’s what we aspire to. We want to show (visitors) a local one-off, so they can experience Aspen.”
Local Coffee House’s new Black Magic cold-brew shots are petite picker-uppers that pack a smooth caffeine punch. Produced without additives or fillers common in other energy drinks—just ethically sourced Ethiopian-Brazilian-Colombian house espresso blend steeped overnight—the 4-ounce bottles are ideal for grabbing en route to the gondola just a 67-second stroll away, according to co-owner Candice Carpenter Olson’s count. 614 E. Cooper Ave.