Brewing Up a Buzz: The Coffee Scene in Rhode Island
September 18, 2023
Rhode Island, known for its stunning coastal scenery and vibrant culture, also boasts a thriving coffee scene that has been percolating its way into the hearts of locals and visitors alike. With a rich history, an array of artisanal roasters, and cozy cafes to explore, the Ocean State offers much more than just a caffeine fix. In this post, we’ll dive into the coffee culture of the Ocean State, highlighting some of the must-visit coffee shops across the state.
Sipping Through the Ocean State
Rhode Island is no stranger to the art of coffee brewing. As the smallest state in the U.S., it may come as a surprise that it packs a significant punch when it comes to its coffee culture. The state’s close-knit communities have fostered a sense of local pride that shines through in its coffee shops, which serve as gathering spots and community hubs. Whether you’re seeking a perfectly pulled espresso, a meticulously crafted pour-over, or a cozy spot to unwind, Rhode Island has something to offer every coffee connoisseur.
Borealis Coffee, Riverside and Bristol
Borealis Coffee is a gem with its flagship location and roastery in Riverside and an expansive new space in historic Bristol, Rhode Island. This micro-roastery is all about sustainability and quality, carefully sourcing their beans and roasting them in small batches, ensuring that each cup is a masterpiece. Whether you prefer a fruity Ethiopian Yirgacheffe or a rich Colombian, Borealis has a selection that will transport your taste buds to coffee heaven.
Dave’s Coffee, Charlestown & Providence
Dave’s Coffee, known for its famous coffee syrup, is a Rhode Island institution. But they’re not just about syrup; their cafes in Charlestown and Providence serve up exceptional coffee as well. Locals flock here for their cold brew and inventive coffee creations. Don’t forget to grab a bag of their freshly roasted beans to take home at locations from Rhode Island to New York’s Upper West Side.
The Nitro Bar, Newport, Providence and Little Compton
The Nitro Bar started as a coffee cart set up outside Brown University and at Farmers Markets in 2016. By 2018 they had their first of four brick and mortar locations, in Dash Bicycle Shop in Providence. In 2019 they expanded the charm of its unique coffee experience to a popular cafe in Newport’s Broadway neighborhood – a stop on our Newport Neighborhood Food Tour – and its newest location in Little Compton at Walker’s roadside stand. As the name suggests, their nitrogen-infused cold brew is a game-changer, it is also served in over 50 locations on tap. Each distinct location offers its own vibe, making them perfect spots to enjoy a cold brew while watching the waves.
New Harvest Coffee & Spirits, Providence
It’s a coffee bar. It’s a whiskey bar. It’s BOTH. Known for its exceptional coffee and craft cocktails, New Harvest’s expertly brewed coffee beans are sourced from local roasters, ensuring a rich and flavorful experience for coffee enthusiasts. Founded in 2000 and making its home at Farm Fresh Food Hub in Providence in 2021, you can learn more about this gem on our PVD Valley Neighborhood Victuals Tour.
Groundswell, Tiverton Four Corners
Groundswell in Tiverton is more than just a coffee shop; it’s a community crossroads. With a focus on sustainability, they serve locally roasted coffee and delicious pastries. The welcoming atmosphere and commitment to eco-friendly practices make it a feel-good spot to start your day. It’s not, however, the place to bring your laptop as the cafe discourages electronics and does not provide a wifi password, but the delightful picnic area offers a respite with occasional music outside and firepits.
Springline Coffee, Newport
Nestled on the docks at Newport’s Bannister’s Wharf, Springline Coffee is a must-visit for anyone seeking a well-crafted cup of joe. It’s iconic location on the edge of Bannister’s Wharf invites sippers to come and stay a while, and to take in Newport’s “traffic:” the boats gently motoring in and out of Bowen’s boat basin. Grab a freshly made pastry while there and get ready to unplug.
Lucy’s Cafe, Newport
Lucy’s Cafe in Newport is a quaint coffee shop that feels like a cozy beach cottage. Their coffee menu is as delightful and its location perched above Newport’s bustling Thames Street is a sweet respite from the vibrant thoroughfare. Whether you’re in the mood for a cappuccino or a latte, you’ll find your coffee cravings satisfied here.
Custom House Coffee, Middletown
Custom House Coffee in Middletown is a favorite among locals, whether they are looking to grab and go or to stay a while. They roast their beans with precision – giving the shop an intoxicating aroma – and offer a variety of single-origin options. Their spacious and inviting cafe is perfect for a leisurely morning coffee with the newspaper.
The Nook, East Greenwich
For a cozy and quaint coffee experience, visit The Nook in East Greenwich. This Main Street caffeine epicenter is known for its exceptional espresso and friendly service. It’s the ideal spot to catch up on some reading or have a quiet conversation over a cup of coffee, inside or out.
The Coffee Depot, Warren
Coffee Depot in Warren is a reminder of the nearby train station now the Eastbay Bikepath, adding a unique touch to your coffee experience. They offer a diverse menu of coffee beverages, and their outdoor seating is perfect for enjoying your brew and a breakfast wrap while watching the world go by.
The Coffee Exchange, Providence
Coffee Exchange in Providence has been a Wickenden Street institution for over 30 years. Their commitment to sourcing beans from around the world and roasting them in-house ensures a consistently excellent cup of coffee. The warm and inviting atmosphere is perfect for unwinding with your favorite brew.
Fuel Coffee, Narragansett
Fuel Coffee in Narragansett is known for its relaxed beachy vibe and exceptional coffee. Their specialty lattes, such as the Coconut Bliss Latte, are a hit among locals. Grab your coffee to go and take a stroll along the nearby beach.
The Beehive, Bristol
The Beehive in Bristol is a mother and daughter owned coffee shop that exudes warmth and charm – and has a cult-like following. Their menu offers a variety of coffee options, and the pastries are baked fresh daily (but if you have a heartier appetite, their breakfast and lunch dishes are amazing!). The welcoming ambiance and friendly staff make it a beloved spot in Bristol.
Felicia’s Coffee, East Greenwich
Felicia’s Coffee in East Greenwich is a favorite among locals for its artisanal coffee and delicious breakfast options, giving the plethora of Rhode Island Dunkin’ Donuts a run for their money!. The cozy interior and outdoor seating make it an ideal spot for a morning pick-me-up.
Bolt Coffee Co., Providence
Bolt Coffee Co. in Providence is a haven for coffee aficionados. They take their coffee seriously, with a commitment to sourcing and roasting exceptional beans. The minimalist design and quality of their brews make it a go-to destination for coffee lovers.
TLC Coffee Roasters, West Kingstown
TLC Coffee Roasters serve equitably sourced, artfully created coffee that nurtures and comforts the human spirit. A coffee stop since 1999, this cafe is a popular stop for students at nearby University of Rhode Island and for folks headed to the train station just down the road.
Cool Beans, Narragansett
Cool Beans in Narragansett offers more than just great coffee; it’s a vibrant community hub. A beautiful space, the standout star doesn’t seem to be the coffee as much as their highly addictive açai bowl!
Ceremony Tea, Providence
We can’t forget our friends who prefer tea over coffee, and Ceremony Tea in Providence also boasts a delightful tea selection. An independently owned café and tea house focused on bringing customers a unique experience, this aesthetically delightful spot is known for Asian inspired beverages, tea ceremony, pour overs, sake mixology, and traditional Asian pastries and snacks.
Audrey’s Coffee House, South Kingstown
Audrey’s Coffee House in South Kingstown’s South County Commons is a day-to-night coffee house best known for being owned by two stars of the reality seriesThe Bachelor – Ashley Iaconetti and Jared Haibon. The shop supports other local New England companies and small businesses, including Mills Coffee, Knead Donuts, South County Bread Co., Providence Bagel, and Mem Tea.
Last but never least, Ellie’s in the heart of Providence is always a hit on our Downcity Providence Food Tour. The espresso drinks are out of this world and when paired with Ellie’s house-made French pastries including the lemon meringue tart, vanilla crème brûlée or an assortment of macarons, it’s simply manifique!
…and ByWater’s Bakeshop & Cafe in Warren…coming soon!
Rhode Island’s coffee scene is as diverse and inviting as its coastal landscapes. From the artisanal roasters and trendy cafes of Providence to the charming beachside spots along the coast, the Ocean State offers a delightful coffee experience for every palate. So, whether you’re a local coffee enthusiast or a visitor looking for a caffeine fix, Rhode Island’s coffee culture is ready to brew up a buzz.