As one of many smallest states in America, Connecticut is usually a state traveled by means of, not to. Connecticut’s quaint cities, seashores, and sights alongside the Appalachian Trail are sometimes missed by the brilliant lights and attraction of neighboring metropolises New York and Boston.
But one thing massive is brewing, actually, within the Nutmeg state.
Coffee in Connecticut was as soon as reserved for early morning and late night time diner visits, together with these with a sworn allegiance to Dunkin’. After all, the quick-service titan nonetheless reigns supreme in New England, with Hartford’s minor league baseball staff, the Hartford Yard Goats, enjoying in Dunkin’ Donuts Park.
In current years, nevertheless, specialty coffee outlets and roasters have enchanted residents with a steadfast dedication to a well-made cup of coffee, hospitality, and a way of group. Changing the palate and understanding of strongly shaped coffee habits one cup at a time, Connecticut’s coffee group is energized and poised for progress. Several outlets and roasters are laying the inspiration for Connecticut’s thriving specialty coffee group, prompting new cafes to hitch the ranks each day. With a heavy focus in Central Connecticut and alongside the shoreline, it’s simpler than ever to entry the state’s rising variety of coffee outlets.
What started out of a means to assist others by means of roasting coffee grew right into a thriving enterprise supplying most of the state’s cafes and shoppers. Jeff Brooks started roasting coffee after a visit, the place he and his spouse returned with 80 kilos of inexperienced coffee to experiment with. As a end result, Giv Coffee was born with the objective of using coffee for group progress by giving a proportion of proceeds to charities and organizations aiding these in want.
After years of farmers markets and late-night roasting work, the couple bought and renovated an previous house in Canton and opened shop. The heat, welcoming cafe is crammed with globally-inspired decor and reclaimed wooden, with a number of seating choices from a bar to a comfortable nook chair. Giv’s in-shop menu ranges from espresso drinks, seasonal specials, and pour-over alternatives to the meals program, that includes raved-about waffles.
Giv’s give attention to constructive modifications locally is clear all through all of its enterprise and roasting practices, together with fostering lasting relationships with farmers and persevering with to teach Connecticut’s baristas by way of in-depth coaching alternatives. Due to the corporate’s excessive requirements and ongoing farmer relationships, Giv Coffee can also be a well-liked wholesale selection for a lot of of Connecticut’s prime coffee outlets and eating places.
RaonJena Coffee & Dessert
In Glastonbury, simply southeast of Hartford, RaonJena Coffee & Dessert is among the many latest outlets to open within the state. Born from a twin ardour for specialty coffee and baking, the husband and spouse workforce Do Kim and Hanna Park—who you’ll often see within the cafe itself—are unwavering of their dedication to their respective crafts.
As you enter the shop, you’ll have a second to absorb the stark white partitions lined with completed wooden, tastefully positioned succulents, and photographs of New England’s pure magnificence earlier than your eyes are drawn to the case of desserts (together with colourful macarons with playful flavors resembling cookies and cream, strawberry, and tiramisu.)
The bar homes a La Marzocco Linea Classic churning out a standard lineup of espresso drinks, a Mahlkönig grinder, and the newest array of choices from Giv Coffee Roasters obtainable for pour-over and batch brew. To all that inquire, Do explains how his tackle coffee is impressed and influenced by Japanese strategies, resulting in a tea-like cup filled with expressive taste.
Story and Soil Coffee
Story and Soil Coffee serves up a targeted menu of espresso drinks and lightweight meals within the Frog Hollow neighborhood in Hartford, filling the earlier specialty coffee void in Connecticut’s capital metropolis.
The multi-roaster shop is owned by Michael Acosta, Michael McCoy, and Sarah McCoy, who collectively have created an inviting environment with data all the time spinning and a cheery greeting from whoever’s working the bar.
Although a small area, the shop immediately makes clients really feel at residence with the lavender and floral print partitions, hanging crops, and paintings. As for the menu, the Spanish latte is a should. For these extra within the pour-over and drip choice, Story and Soil presents an area and worldwide choice with previous and current roasters together with Giv Coffee, Passenger Coffee, La Cabra Coffee, and Methodical Coffee.
When Connecticut’s gloomy winter season is lastly over, seize a seat on the outside picnic desk and benefit from the buzz of the busy metropolis streets and a glimpse of Hartford’s Capitol Building.
J.René Coffee Roasters
J.René Coffee Roasters holds a particular place within the hearts of Connecticut’s coffee shop group. Many of the state’s coffee outlets are owned and operated by former J.René Coffee baristas, a testomony to the shop’s dedication to coffee schooling and management.
Located on Park Road in West Hartford, J.René Coffee Roasters supplies an “artisanal coffee gathering place” for residents. This sense of place is bodily achieved via ample seating and an interesting shop decor that includes uncovered brick, wooden parts, and a contact of commercial design.
As you make your solution to order, you’ll cross the Diedrich roaster and wealth of in-house roasted coffees lining the shop’s retail cabinets. The bar prominently shows numerous brewing strategies behind its glass barrier—in consequence, siphon pot coffee is a prime menu merchandise as a consequence of its intriguing brewing course of and strategic bar placement.
J.René Coffee’s affect on Connecticut extends far past the bodily shop. J.René additionally boasts cellular coffee trailers within the Connecticut Science Center and Clinton Premium Outlets. Each trailer offers all the things essential to duplicate the coffee shop expertise, together with Victoria Arduino ATHENA and White Eagle two-group Leva espresso machines.
Rebel Dog Coffee Company
Rebel Dog Coffee Company started out of a humble meals truck in Plainville previous to establishing its flagship location in the identical metropolis, about 20 minutes from downtown Hartford. The brainchild of enterprise companions Harrison Poltorak and Peter Lemnotis opened in February 2017 within the former Confetti restaurant area. With a lot of an emphasis on grab-and-go coffee within the space, the pair sought out to create an area spot for not solely a superb coffee expertise but in addition a meal.
Connected to the JV’s Taproom restaurant, the comfortable shop is adorned with an enormous latte artwork emblem mural, checkered flooring, and beautiful pallet paintings by The Pallet People. Their expansive breakfast and lunch menu consists of gadgets reminiscent of eggs benedict, an assortment of soups and sandwiches, together with potato pancakes and pierogies.
While the bar serves up conventional and seasonal espresso drinks on a La Marzocco GB5 and presents pour-over coffee, the chilly brew and nitro coffee are the recent ticket gadgets at Rebel Dog. The custom-made faucet system from Tapped in Hudson, NY additionally homes drinks together with Jet Fuel (a chilly brew focus), kombucha, and chilly brew iced tea.
Due to the success of its Plainville shop, Rebel Dog was lately capable of broaden into the neighboring city of Farmington. The model new cafe expands upon the environment of the unique location with a sprawling mural that includes Rebel Dog’s emblem together with attribute coffee beans and crops, created by native artist Jaime La Jones.
Grounded Coffee Company
Grounded Coffee Company in Willimantic retains the japanese aspect of the state caffeinated in its historic shop on Main Street. Inspired by their coffee shop experiences in Australia and New Zealand, Steve and Victoria Bachiochi paired their want to open a welcoming coffee spot with the experience of Nick Bentley to type Grounded.
As a multi-roaster in Connecticut’s quiet nook, Grounded retains the coffee flowing because of ongoing relationships with roasters within the New England and Tri-State areas reminiscent of Sey Coffee in Brooklyn, Little Wolf in Ipswich, MA, and Brandywine Roasters in Wilmington, DE. Connecticut roasters Giv Coffee and NEAT are additionally regulars on the drip and pour-over coffee menu.
In addition to espresso drinks cranked out on the dependable La Marzocco Linea Classic, Grounded’s tea menu can also be an enormous draw. While there, attempt the Mate, an Argentinian tea reduce with a splash of apple juice.
Silk City Coffee
On the far inside wall of Silk City Coffee, you’ll discover a big board with the mantra, “Love Coffee, Love People” noticeably displayed above. On this board are pinned requests, needs, prayers, and wishes from members of the group. Customers can add their requests or assist fulfill as many wants as they like. This drive to serve the group is what fuels the workforce at Silk City to create an area the place all are welcomed to take pleasure in specialty coffee in Manchester.
Found by the stark “coffee” signal on Main Street, Silk City Coffee is housed in an previous optometrist’s workplace in a historic downtown constructing. As the group of co-owners was on the brink of construct out the area, they ripped down the prevailing supplies to find the uncovered brick, high-detailed ceilings, and hardwood flooring the shop boasts as we speak.
As one other multi-roaster shop within the Connecticut coffee group, Silk City rotates Giv Coffee and NEAT Coffee roasters on the batch and pour-over menus. The shop additionally presents quite a lot of baked items made in-house, paired completely with the strong coffee menu.
As a part of their objective to provide again to Manchester, the shop stays open late every Friday for stay music performances, a number of of which donate a portion of proceeds to an area non-profit or group.
Over in Southwest Connecticut, NEAT serves Darien residents and commuters single-origin coffees from their quaint shop on Grove Street. With ample outside seating within the summertime and choice of grab-and-go breakfast and lunch gadgets, NEAT Coffee has turn out to be a group gathering place for many who stay and work nearby. The glowing clear shop with delicate blue and inexperienced pastel partitions homes family-style tables, bar seating, and a big world map.
The targeted menu lists conventional coffee and espresso drinks together with quite a lot of teas, scorching cider, lemonade, and seasonal drinks. If you’re on the lookout for one thing new, attempt the “Not So Neat,” a twist on an iced latte utilizing chilly brew coffee as an alternative. NEAT’s bar homes a mess of kit, from the La Marzocco Linea PB to the mesmerizing BKON craft brewer used for teas and different drinks. And, for a refresher, decide from a choice of faucet and glowing waters situated subsequent to the bar.
Owner Rachel Haughey opened NEAT greater than 10 years in the past after noticing a fantastic cup of coffee required a practice journey to New York City. As one of many first members of the state’s coffee group, the shop started as a multi-roaster however transitioned right into a profitable roasting operation after a want to interact in particular roasting and sourcing practices.
Anne Mercer is a contract journalist based mostly in Connecticut. This is Anne Mercer’s first function for Sprudge.
RaonJena photograph by Do Kim. Story and Soil photograph by Sarah McCoy. J. René photograph by René Martinez. Silk City photograph by Sarah May. All different photographs by the writer.