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slides: Rhode Island’s Best Coffee Spots

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


For many of us, every day is National Coffee Day, but the country is officially celebrating on September 29, 2012. As the appropriate lead-in to the holiday, we recommend getting your fix at not only your favorite coffee spot, but all of these great local establishments. Whether you like it black or hyped up with syrup and soy, hot or cold, small or the size of a small Jacuzzi, this cup's for you, Rhode Island. Now get out there and caffeinate.


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Blue State Coffee

College Hill, Providence

Whether in the larger cafe at the top of Thayer Street or the small satellite tucked into the Brown Bookstore at the other end of the street, this purveyor took coffee culture to a new high when it arrived in Providence several years ago. Great brews offered by passionate barristas, plus your purchase will help support local non-profits. 300 Thayer St. and 244 Thayer St, Providence, 401-863-6873. www.bluestatecoffee.com

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Coffee Exchange

Fox Point, Providence

Old school coffee house style that might have a bit of Berkeley, CA in it... this is a classic hangout with sustainable coffee—organically grown beans and fair trade pricing. Enjoy a popular mocha either inside or on the very popular deck (not matter what the weather). 207 Wickenden St, Providence. 401-273-1198. www.sustainablecoffee.com

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Seven Stars Bakery

East Side/Providence, West Side/Providence + Rumford

This renowned artisan bakery had always been known for its fantastic baked goods, but it was after Seven Stars hired a coffee pro from Blue State to improve and expand its brewed offerings, that a cup of coffee was as fine as the ginger scone. The result--the perfect coffee outing. The vibe at each of the 3 locations is a bit different, so try all of them. Photo: Chip Riegel. East Side/820 Hope St, West Side/342 Broadway, Rumford/20 Newman Ave, all locations 401-521-2200, www.sevenstarsbakery.com

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Small Point Cafe

Downtown Providence

Small Point Café has quickly developed a low-key culture that's just hip enough. Plus, the coffee is fantastic--splurge on an espresso or latte--they're that good. And with a great bookstore right next door, it doesn't get much better. 230 Westminster St, Providence. 401-228-6999. smallpointcafe.com

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White Electric Coffee

West Side/Providence

The pioneering quality coffee house from the other side of Route 95, White Electric is to the art culture what Coffee Exchange is to the literary tribe in Providence. West Siders love it, and many East Siders commute to feel less like, well, East Siders. Solid coffee, best postcards for art shows. And their iced coffee is excellent. 711 Westminster, Providence, 401-453-3007. www.whitelectriccoffee.com

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Brewed Awakenings

Wakefield, Johnston, Cranston

Beachgoers know where to find this beacon of java off Route 1 in Wakefield, but suburbanites can take advantage as well every day of the year. You may want to check out the famous Snickerdoodle iced coffee. 60 South Country Commons Way, Wakefield, 401-783-0496; 1395 and 1577 Atwood Ave, Johnston, 401-275-0769, 401-383-4682; 1200 Pontiac Ave, Cranston. 

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Beehive Cafe


With two floors, you can find the perfect space to curl up with your latest read or writing project. When it’s nice you can even enjoy fresh air on the front patio or upstairs balcony. And from a variety of pastries, drinks and sandwiches, Beehive is a great hangout for any occasion (word is, their loose-leaf teas are notable, but it's not National Tea Day, now is it?). 10 Franklin St, Bristol, 401-396-9994. thebeehivecafe.com

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The Coffee Depot


A beloved mainstay of the East Bay coffee house scene, The Coffee Depot is a cozy spot with good brew and a community spirit. If the weather obliges, park at the cafe tables outside for a bird's eye view of Warren life... which is always interesting. Also, plenty of young musicians have gotten their start at open mic nights here, so consider an evening coffee date to support the local talent pool. 501 Main St., Warren, 608-2553, or on Facebook, here.

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Empire Tea and Coffee


This is pure Broadway, which means it's the "other" Newport, and Empire obliges with great coffee culture, free WiFi with purchase, board games and evenings with folk music, free movies and even sometimes an open mic. 22 Broadway, Newport. 401-619-1388. newportbubbletea.com

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Java Madness


Java Madness is the only waterfront coffee house in South County, as well as the only coffee house in the area that makes homemade authentic chai. Enjoy your locally-roasted brews, or lunch on the deck overlooking Salt Pond in Wakefield. 134 Salt Pond Road, Wakefield, 401-788-0088, www.javamadness.com

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Jitters Cafe


Calling all Iced Coffee Fanatics, Jitters Café in Wickford offers a 24-oz plastic iced coffee cup for under $10, which can be refilled for just about $2. They offer the classic Vanilla and Hazelnut flavors, as well as a wonderful rotation of the “flavor of the day.” And if you're a true Rhode Islander, you're drinking it iced all year 'round. 530 Tower Hill Road, Wickford, 401-295-9155. www.jitterscaferi.com

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Ocean Coffee Roasters


If you are headed to Easton’s Beach, Second Beach or Third Beach, or you're lucky enough to live in Newport, you know where the good coffee's been for years: Ocean Coffee Roasters: Jonathan’s Café, Rhode Island's original micro-roaster. With locally roasted beans (including those specially designed for iced coffee), the manager promises “No beans more than a week old!”  22 Washington Square, Newport, 401-846-6060. www.oceancoffee.com

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Coastal Roasters


Do not let the beachy, laid-back vibe fool you. This is a very serious coffee spot--one that roasts its beans fresh every day. Try the house blends named for local spots such as Wild Weetamoo or Fogland Fogcutter. Take note: the sign outside pledges "Hand-roasting fresh coffee since… this morning." Coastal Roasters also is known for its variety of loose-leaf teas, but it's not National Tea Day, now is it? 1791 Main Rd, Tiverton, 401-624-2343. www.coastalroasters.com


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