Coffee is in my DNA. My grandmother introduced me to coffee before I could ride a bike – coffee ice cream, a sip of decaf here and there. In fact, one of my early memories of her includes coffee.
I was spending the night at my grandmother’s house. She went to bed, only to emerge from the dark hallway 10 minutes later, heading to the kitchen. “I forgot my coffee. I can’t sleep without my cup of coffee.” (Mind you, this was in the days when people survived on cigarettes, coffee, and lemon meringue pie.)
In fact, before joining Lantern, I worked for almost two decades in coffee. The Rhode Island coffee industry is but one chapter in my lifelong love of the bean.
And while I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a coffee snob, I won’t scowl at you for drinking an instant coffee at work. I will, however, politely decline your offer for a K-cup.
[Tweet “I forgot my coffee. I can’t sleep without my cup of coffee.”]
I’m not the only one on the Lantern team that enjoys a cup or two (or seven), so we decided to put together a list of our favorite places for coffee. The shops on this list are here either because they serve spectacular coffee, or because they create a great space to work away from the office. Ideally, they meet both criteria, but since I’m a snob, I’ll leave that for you to decide.
The Lantern definitive list (for now) of the best Rhode Island coffee shops (in somewhat geographical order)
Providence Rhode Island coffee shops
- New Harvest Coffee: Without a doubt, Lantern wouldn’t be able to do what we do without New Harvest. New Harvest has been roasting coffee since the turn of the century, and they supply coffee to many of the top Rhode Island coffee shops. It also doesn’t hurt that they are in the same building we are, so if we are suffering from writer’s block, it gives us a reason to get up and walk around. Mary loves their iced mochas “because they are so full of flavor and give me huge amounts of energy.” Amanda likes their Earl Grey latte, while the rest of us enjoy a cup of perfectly brewed black coffee.
- The Shop: This spot, like the name, is simple and low key. They serve great Stumptown coffee, and have a nice atmosphere to spend a couple hours working. There are a few bar seats, a big farm table with a bench, and a small standing bar. This isn’t the place to be anti-social, but a little conversation now and then is a good thing.
- Ellie’s Bakery: I love this place so much. This is one of the best Rhode Island coffee locations not just for coffee, but for some of the freshest, hand-made pastries you’ll find in the state. It’s small, quaint, and personable, and the menu is always changing, so there is always something new to try.
- Bolt Coffee Company: Just around the corner from Ellie’s, is Bolt Coffee Company. This Rhode Island coffee shop is 100% focused on coffee and quality. Some of the best espresso I’ve had.
- Seven Stars Bakery: We love Seven Stars for their great customer service, and attention to detail with their espresso drinks. Plus, they have three locations in the area, so good coffee is never too far away.
- White Electric Coffee: White Electric has, perhaps, the hippest vibe, but they manage to pull it off naturally. Skinny jeans, tattoos, ties, and dress shoes all commingle here. They also have the best music selection.
- Coffee Exchange: This Rhode Island coffee institution has been around since forever…. or at least the early 80’s. This is one of Talia’s favorites; they roast coffee in house, and have that classic coffee shop atmosphere.
- Pastiche: Talia is also a fan of Pastiche, located in Federal Hill. You can have an excellent Italian dinner at any number of great restaurants, then stroll over to Pastiche for some house made dessert and a classic latte or tea.
- Malachi’s: Amanda likes Malachi’s for their Monkey’s Banana smoothie with peanut butter, and free refills. I like them because their Facebook cover photo features coffee mugs from Black Flag and The Descendents.
- The Duck and Bunny: Amanda likes The Duck and Bunny for a pot of tea. They specialize in cupcakes, crepes, wine, and tea – what more you could want?
- Small Point Cafe: Small Point has a lot of seating for a coffee shop, and offers a nice oasis in the heart of downtown Providence for residents and visitors alike.
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Coastal Rhode Island coffee shops
- Coastal Roasters: This Rhode Island coffee shop wins big for its location overlooking the Sakonnet River and Mt. Hope Bay. Aside from the view, Amanda likes “all of their seasonal specials.” It is also a 15-minute drive from one of my favorite beaches. You could get a nice caffeine buzz and set sail for the Caribbean.
- The Moose Cafe: Known around the Lantern office for their “frozoffee” and a bajillion ice cream flavors – it’s also on the way to the beach!
- Dave’s Coffee: Speaking of beaches, Patrick likes Dave’s in Charlestown because “It’s right by some of the best beaches in RI. Their coffee is always good and their staff is super helpful. I always buy some of their cold brew coffee syrup to take home.” Amanda likes their iced coffee and their “cool, comfy remote-working environment.” And if I may geek out for a moment, their Providence location has a Slayer espresso machine!
- Empire Coffee and Tea: Chris loves Empire for their “great variety of coffee, prepared well, with a friendly staff and a great location. Love their honey lattes, too.”
- Coffee Depot: Amanda is a fan of Coffee Depot, in Warren, RI, for their hot chai. This is a great stop for coffee on the way to one of Rhode Island’s fantastic coastal parks.
Further afield (because we need coffee when we travel)
Ok, my goal for this post was to focus on Rhode Island coffee shops, but the truth is, there are excellent local businesses all over this country. And hey, we do leave Rhode Island on occasion.
- Elliot’s Fair Grounds: Erin says this is her “absolute favorite shop that no one will ever beat.” Elliot’s is in Norfolk, VA. You could stop here on your sailing adventure from Rhode Island to the Caribbean.
- Bard Coffee: Portland, Maine is fortunate to have Bard Coffee. If I lived in Portland, I would probably spend way too much money here. Their espresso is top notch, and the cappuccino is one of the best I’ve had.
- La Colombe: Philadelphia, New York, Washington D.C., and Chicago all host La Colombe. They’ve been making a name for themselves as culinary coffee masters for over a decade.
- Joe Coffee: New York and Philadelphia is host to Joe. I’ve only made it to one of these locations, but their espresso is life changing.
- Frontside Coffee Roasters: North Conway, New Hampshire. Coffee, mountains, coffee, fresh air, and coffee. Sounds like the perfect weekend.
There’s no stopping this list of our favorite Rhode Island coffee shops
We’re big fans of local business, whether that means Rhode Island or elsewhere. Check back, as this list will assuredly grow. There is almost always something to appreciate about buying from your neighbors, not the least of which is supporting your own community.
What are some of your favorite coffee shops? Let us know in the comments. We’re always looking for a good cup!