The Capital One Cafe Experience: Banking & Caffeine Combined

Written By Branson Knowles

Looking to shake up the modern day banking experience, Capital One introduced their Capital One Cafe — banking with a little bit of a boost. 

As an ex-banker who spent years at Chase Bank, these cafes always piqued my curiosity. To be honest, it felt like cheating a little bit. You know how much easier my job would’ve been if I could have just offered my customers a cappuccino?

After all these years seeing their fancy ads on TV, I finally got a chance to stop by a Capital One Cafe when my girlfriend and I took a day trip to — frozen — Boulder, Colorado. We stopped by the Cafe that sits in the center of the popular Pearl Street Mall. 

I didn’t know exactly what to expect when we walked in. I knew Capital One Cafes were exactly as their name suggested, cafes that also housed Capital Ones, but I didn’t know how the two came together.

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Turns out, they come together just about as well as coffee and creamer, and that’s saying something coming from an ex-Chase Bank banker who still uses them.

Walking into the Capital One Cafe felt like walking into any other coffee shop, except it was much calmer and quieter all around. The cafe had a few patrons, but they all seemed to be busy working on their phones or computers.

My girlfriend and I were looking for a caffeinated boost to help us through the rest of our cold day in Boulder. We went straight to the barista and noticed two Capital One “Cafe Ambassadors”, as they’re referred to, hanging out in the middle of the coffee shop/bank. 

They said hi to us, and that was that. Honestly, I was a little surprised. I thought we were going to immediately hear about Capital One’s latest and greatest. Instead, we were allowed to be on our merry way without much disturbance. I really enjoyed being left to our own devices.

At Chase Bank, when a customer walked into the branch, we were taught to intercept them immediately and try to navigate their visit. This proved helpful when a customer needed a banker but annoying when someone was just looking for some cash at the ATM. 

Capital One circumvents this problem by letting you, the potential customer, approach them when needed. The two “Cafe Ambassadors” looked eager to answer any question that came their way but let the customers walk up to them first. 

After saying hi back to the two patient Capital One employees, we headed to order our coffees. Capital One Cafes serve Peet’s Coffee, a nice break from the thousands of Starbucks that line every other street corner. 

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Their coffees were priced pretty regularly for modern chains — anywhere from $3 to $6 a cup, depending on how fancy you get with your morning cup of joe.

While Peet’s Coffee is certainly a good reason to go, Capital One gives their cardholders a phenomenal deal: if you have a Capital One debit or credit card, they’ll give you 50% off of your entire purchase.

That’s right. My large, iced, blended mocha (don’t judge me) that normally costs $6 or so came out to a tidy $3! Coupled with my girlfriend’s espresso shots (she thought it was an entire drink, not just a shot), our order was somewhere around $5 for everything. 

This is a great deal for Capital One customers, seeing as two coffees can come out to almost $10 anywhere else. 

capital one cafe 4

As you can see from my picture above, my drink alone would’ve been a whopping $6.70 after tax without the 50% discount, also noted in the picture above. 

After we got our drinks, my girlfriend and I headed over to the drink station or the area in a cafe where you can add sugar to your coffee or grab a straw. I wanted to bring this up because other than the Capital One bank employees standing around, our experience felt akin to a normal trip to the coffee shop — albeit 50% cheaper (thanks, girlfriend!).

capital one cafe 5

Once we had gotten our coffees, I had some exploring to do. Towards the back of the Cafe resides a couple of modern meeting rooms; rooms big enough for a person or two walled off by sliding glass doors. 

There were two types of rooms, labeled either as a “meeting room” or “community room”. The meeting rooms are for Capital One customers and employees, designed to give an air or privacy when discussing pertinent banking matters.

The community rooms are actually spaces for local organizations to meet, groups like non-profits or student organizations. If you’ve ever been to a WeWork, college campus, or even a modernized public library, you’ve seen the fancy glass private spaces.

Throughout the cafe, though, you’re reminded you’re in a Capital One space. There are signs and advertisements everywhere reinforcing the brand and what benefits come with being a Capital One customer. 

capital one cafe 6

I wasn’t upset at the ads, though. I mean, how could I be, I just spent $5 on $10 worth of coffee. Better yet, my girlfriend bought it, so I didn’t spend anything at all! (Thanks again hun!)

The location we went to certainly was a busy one. Luckily, I got to see the Capital One employees in action when someone who must have been a customer walked up to the baristas looking for help.

From what I saw, the baristas are just normal Peet’s Coffee employees and don’t dabble in the banking side of the cafe at all. They waived over one of the Cafe Ambassadors and relayed the customer’s need for help. 

An ambassador came over and asked the customer what he needed. They then headed over to one of the many seating areas, areas coffee customers can enjoy as well, and went over the customer’s issue.

The ambassadors had iPads with them. During my final days at Chase Bank, Chase was rolling out iPads to try and make helping customers smoother and quicker. I left while they were still integrating them into our day-to-day, but it looked like the Capital One employees had them down pat. 

capital one cafe 7

Capital One seems to be creating community hubs with their Cafes. As you can see from the picture of the sign I captured above, they don’t even require you to be a customer to come in and join them. 

I mean, why would they, what better way to encourage someone to become a client of theirs than to show off a wonderful cafe and an astounding 50% discount?

I enjoyed my trip to the Capital One Cafe. It was calmer than most coffee shops I’ve been to, and I had a decent selection of coffees to choose from at Peet’s Coffee. If I ever had a community related meeting to set up, I’d certainly consider one of their private rooms as well. 

The workers were attentive to my presence without ever pressuring me into their products or even conversation, a very warm welcome from traditional banks who seemingly jump down your throat the second you step foot on their premises. 

The best part of my trip, however, was my girlfriend realizing she ordered a shot of espresso instead of a regular coffee. 

If you haven’t had espresso by itself, it’s incredibly strong. As a thank you for reaching the bottom of my article, I’ve included a picture of my lovely lady trying to pour some creamer into her double shot of some of the strongest coffee around! 

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About the Author

Lead Researcher, Digital Banking in the U.S. at TopMobileBanks

Branson Knowles is a former banker and current writer at

During his years banking, he helped his clients discover their financial freedom through smart savings and spending goals. He started as a teller before becoming a banker and obtaining his federal licenses, furthering his clients' on their financial journeys.

After becoming one of the top producing bankers in the state, Branson decided it was time to pursue his own financial freedom. He started writing freelance finance articles before joining, breaking down banking like only an ex-banker could.

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