When did coffee become so popular in Vermont? There are countless Vermont coffee shops all over the state.
I was never a coffee drinker until about 6 years ago. It started with an occasional stop at the convenience store to get a cappuccino, then I moved up to needing a daily convenience store coffee. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with convenience store coffee! It’s in my budget and I can afford to have one daily versus spending the big bucks on a specialty latte.
Somewhere along the way though, my taste buds began to change. They say keep trying new foods with your kids as they grow because their taste buds change. And now that I am older, I believe it. I always took my coffee with extra cream, extra sugar, and whatever caramel sauce came in the Dunkin Donuts caramel swirl. Fast forward 6 years, and you won’t find sugar in my coffee. I now prefer the stronger bitter taste without any sugary flavoring.
Over the last few years, I’ve really been exploring Vermont coffee shops. I don’t go for just the coffee anymore either. I’ve noticed a difference between the chain shops and the local ones. I love going into the local shops and having real conversations with the staff and meeting the owners who put so much work into my drink. On average, the cost of a local shop’s drink is $1-2 dollars more than say, Dunkin’ Donuts. To me, the extra cost is worth making a connection and supporting local businesses.
I have put together a list of my top 5 Vermont coffee shops in no particular order.
There are so many options it was hard to choose. In fact, my list changes frequently based on my mood. If I am feeling relaxed, I prefer the shops on the outskirts of town. If the weather is nice and I am feeling in the mood to be around lots of people, there are a few spots on Church Street that are great.
1. Nomad– Essex Junction, VT
Nomad was one of my first local shop experiences. I fell in love with their mocha lattes and would go back almost every weekend. Nomad is a mobile coffee shop owned by a husband and wife. Early on in my visits, I would always ask questions about what coffee beans they use, how long it took them to learn to make all the different drinks, etc. The staff is always friendly and willing to answer my questions even though they were busy. If you like coffee cake, they make one of the best I’ve ever tasted! Nomad South End is also a great place to try if you are looking for food and coffee. The brunch is delicious. I remember the last time we went my daughter had fluffy pancakes and I had eggs benedict.
2. The Beanery– Stowe, VT
One thing that my family really enjoys is an afternoon trip to Stowe. We stop at all normal tourist spots including Cold Hollow Cider, the Stowe farmers market, and the Notch Road to name a few. One of our favorite Vermont coffee shops is The Beanery, located at the Stowe Mountain Resort. This particular location is great for a quick stop to warm up, and grab a pastry and coffee. There is limited seating but it is so cozy and the staff is always friendly! I especially love the sign that hangs in the entryway that shows how all of the drinks are made. It’s very helpful for me as I usually stick to drinking what I know.
3. Artisan Coffee Bar– Waterbury, VT
This cafe is a European-style coffee bar. It’s very modern and is laid out like an actual bar with seating that wraps around so you are able to see how the baristas make all their wonderful drinks. From espressos, cortados, maple lattes, and pour-overs; this coffee bar has it all! They also sell a fantastic selection of teas. Who knew there were so many ways to drink caffeine? My favorite feature about this cafe is that you can see how everything is made and take a tour of the building.
4. Quarry Hill Farm– Jeffersonville, VT
This coffee shop is fairly new. I discovered it right before we decided to move back to Essex Junction. This is a family-owned farm and is very cozy. It’s a great spot to bring a book or enjoy some quiet time. There are a few comfy chairs and a couch as well as window seats. When you stop in, be sure to try their maple latte. Amazing! They sell a variety of bakery items and gelato too. One cool feature that my kids love about this place (and so do I) is that they allow you to go back into the dairy farm and see the cows. The last time we went there, a baby calf had just been born.
5. Blank Page Cafe– Shelburne, VT
This cafe is my most recent discovery! This Vermont coffee shop is gluten-free and often grain-free. There is a great variety of baked goods that will satisfy your taste buds. Try the vanilla bean pound cake paired with a mocha butter coffee. The cafe has a relaxed, community atmosphere that is very welcoming. The owner and his staff really took an interest in what brought me to their shop for the first time, and that kind of interest is what made me want to go back. Their coffee and butter are locally sourced. While you are there, check out the piglets on the farm. They will surely make your day!