The place deserves its own sentence. What a café! Rich with people, rich with design, rich with flavor, rich with class.
Café Max lives in that ideal space between a coffee shop, a bar, and a restaurant; it’s that quintessential hybrid that Europe has coined the café. You come here for drinks, for bites, for casual meetings or girl-chat over fine tea. You come here for a romantic glass of wine, a summer patio beer, or a morning coffee on the way back from the farmer’s market.
It is perfection.
And Café Max does it with all the European sensibilities I’ve come to miss in the States.
There’s a great balance between minimalism and that feeling like you are surrounded by little treasures. White walls and mid-century modern furniture give it a clean feel, while little trinkets, antiques, and vintage pottery make the space feel comfortable and familiar.
If you want to work, there’s a place for you complete with wifi and power outlets. If don’t want to work, there’s a space for you, too, as Max left one of his walls sans-outlets to make sure that regular café guests could enjoy a space of their own.
Pick your delicious poison: tea, coffee, wine, beer — Café Max has it all. Everything is incredible, but here are some items of note:
Café Con Leché
Max comes from a multi-national family, so it’s no surprise that he’s familiar with this cuban classic. But Max does Café Con Leché in the traditional cuban fashion — that is, without condensed milk.
The café comes out separately from the leché and is served alongside 3 natural sugar cubes. Max also puts a little salt in the steamed milk, “just like your Cuban grandma used to make!”
Question the authenticity of this like one customer who asked for the condensed milk and a small, old Cuban woman who lives just down the street may just come in and smack you with her coin purse. And if a small, old Cuban lady tells you how it is, then that’s how it is.
Goat’s Milk Lattes
Goats are where it’s at. And the French know this. (Hello, chèvre!)
I love that goaty taste, so this is a real treat! Plus, the color is udder perfection.
Max’s partner, Yuki, is a connaisseur of fine teas, making Café Max’s menu one of the best in town. Teas come out in gorgeous Japanese cups which make you just feel absolutely elegant.
For those with a latte lust, the matcha latte brings together the yummy Japanese tea flavor with creamy milk.
Seasonal and Curated Beer and Wine List
It wouldn’t be a European café without European beer and wine. Travis Plakke, who also advises the FIVE™ and Park-to-table dinners in town, seasonally selects top notch wines and exotic beers for Café Max.
The food is perfect for snacking like a gourmand, featuring delicious bread from Grateful Bread Company (one of my favorite baguettes in Denver) and other little treats like fig jam. Gluten free options are available on request because that’s the same type of class you’d expect from a café that lets you order a goat’s milk latte.
On the sweets or pastry side, you’ll find everything from the decadent chocolate petit fours to the almost savory rosemary cake, served with pears and unsweetended whipped cream. Decadent shortbread squares go marvelously with the rich coffee and taste like real butter.
I cannot wait for Café Max in the fall — beautiful rain soaked afternoons while I type away in the beautiful interior, nibbling on brie and fig jam. I cannot wait for the chilly winters, when the glass will frost over from warm bodies inside enjoying steamy lattes. I cannot wait for the spring when I can enjoy an afternoon tea outside on the patio.
Café Max is located at 2412 E Colfax Ave. Denver, CO
What are your favorite cafés in your hometown? What makes a good café so special? Let me know in the comments!