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Favorite coffee spots - NH

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solargarlic Mar 1, 2011 06:47 PM

I have a few coffee spots that I really love that I thought I might share, and I'm hoping to get some more ideas so I always know where to stop wherever in NH I may be.

A & E Coffee Roastery, Amherst: Really my favorite. I've gotten to know the people in this spot, but it was my favorite even before I was personal with anyone there. They roast their own beans, which is almost a guarantee that you'll get a great cup. They really are incredible roasters though, and I love how careful they are about sourcing their beans. I often give their coffee as a gift to people out of state and people are always impressed. The cafe is a great place to buy beans as well as a quick cup. There has been some great changes to the cafe and there is now a large sitting area, featuring local art and there are even a few toys for (quiet) children to enjoy. They offer some baked goods from The Good Loaf, but I really go for just the coffee.

Fat Daddy's, Nashua: A new spot (opened Sept '10 I believe) in Greystone Plaza on 101A. This is a great spot to sit and hang out with friends (or alone, there's always great people to talk to, especially the owner). They recently started an open mic night on Saturdays, I have yet to attend though. Their website states that all entertainment is family-friendly. FD's serves Java Tree coffee, you serve yourself from 3 blend choices (including one flavored which I could do without) and a decaf. There are espresso and cappuccino drinks, and I believe those are for non-takeout orders only (a plus to me). They don't have a full kitchen, but they offer sandwiches and baked goods.

J Dubs, Manchester: I first learned about them from their past Best Of victories. I finally got to stop in the place last week. They server A&E coffee, so I loved it from the start. They developed their own special blend with the roastery, and offer at least 2 other specialty blends, as well as espresso drinks, creative coffee drinks, and smoothies. There is a panini menu and they offer baked goods from a baker out of Meredith (if I remember correctly). The space is small, but very bright. It is really a place just for takeout, but there were a couple of small cafe tables available.

Mad River Coffee Roasters, Waterville Valley: One thing I love about this place is that they stay open until 5:30 on weekends, so even if you leave the mountain late (I did) you can still grab a cup to help you survive the long drive home. They roast their own coffee and always have plenty of options for a cup. They offer great discounts for those that bring their own mugs. Since I got there late this time, the only food available were muffins and granola bars. I was too busy chasing my son around to read the menu, but I remember there being bagels there last year. The service is always really friendly, they take plenty of time to chat. The woman this time even chatted with my older son while I took my younger boy to the restroom.

Milford Coffee and Provisions, Milford: This place is quite large and has ample space for eating, drinking, sitting and working. They feature a full breakfast and lunch menu. They offer a wide selection of A&E coffees and Monadnock Roasters coffee. I only go there for coffee to go, especially when they have the afternoon $1 any size special.

Those are the places I frequent (or will continue to)...there are probably others that I missed that I just haven't been to in awhile. I'd love to hear about other places, I'm always looking for a great place to get a cup that is not Dunkin's or Starbucks.

  1. p
    purchaser1 Mar 2, 2011 07:22 AM

    Beantowne Coffee House in Hampstead NH is a great place to get a cup or a sandwich, or both. They have an extensive coffee drink menu and some great healthy food options. They have a smoothie menu too. They also do a lot of their own baked goods. The space is cool, decorated with art from local artists and they have free wi-fi. Live music sporadically and "meet the politicians" are also items of interest.

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    Beantowne Coffee House & Cafe
    201 State Route 111, Hampstead, NH 03841

    1. s
      sabchen Mar 2, 2011 10:59 AM

      Thank you for this post! I'm pretty new to the area and totally looking for good coffee spots.

      The one place I've found is Bonhoeffer's Cafe in Nashua. It's a warm, cozy place with comfy chairs and a fireplace, worn wood floors and wooden tables with a good number of outlets for your laptop. Coffee and food are good too. They do have free wi-fi, but you need to ask at the counter for the password. Very chill atmosphere. A good place to hang out. The only downside is they're not open late (close at 5:00) and they're not open on Sundays.

      1. c
        chrispa Mar 2, 2011 11:05 AM

        It isn't quite in New Hampshire, but I cross the border to go to the Tuckerbox cafe in White River Junction, VT at least a few times a week. They have great coffee, great food and are super nice. I also go to Allechante in Norwich, VT for really good espressos and amazing croissants and other baked goods.

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        Tuckerbox
        1 S Main St, White River Junction, VT 05001

        Allechante
        61 Central St, Woodstock, VT 05091

        1 Reply
        1. re: chrispa
          kaszeta Mar 9, 2012 07:40 AM

          Tuckerbox is also home to one of the very best BLTs in existence.

        2. e
          erin_grogan Mar 2, 2011 11:59 AM

          If you're in the Monadnock Region, Prime Roast is fabulous. Judy, the owner, makes you feel instantly welcome and has a great staff. They are roasters as well, and have an amazing selection. Both specialty drinks and black coffee are delicious. They offer the option of locally produced milk as well, which I find a bonus. The atmosphere is lively and vibrant, a true "neighborhood place." yet I consider the coffee shop my "satellite office" and get plenty of work done there 2-3 mornings every week. They also have a nice selection of coffee accessories- interesting mugs and presses, etc. if you're in the market for that sort of thing.

          http://primeroast.wordpress.com/

          8 Replies
          1. re: erin_grogan
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            qianning Mar 2, 2011 12:57 PM

            I'm a big fan of Prime Roast when I can get to Keene, and A&E when I can't.

            1. re: erin_grogan
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              jread23 Mar 2, 2011 04:35 PM

              I'm an absolute coffee snob and haven't found anything worth going out of the way for in NH and that includes A&E. I've tried their coffee many times and it just never did anything for me. I'll stop in to Prime Roast when I'm out that way, sounds promising.

              1. re: jread23
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                solargarlic Mar 2, 2011 04:57 PM

                So out of curiosity, what coffee do you drink? I feel like I've been making my way up as far as coffee goes, trying to drink the best I can.

                One thing I'd love to find is the ultimate espresso. I gave up on that a long time ago.

                1. re: solargarlic
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                  jread23 Mar 3, 2011 05:39 AM

                  A friend of mine has been roasting for over 30 years and currently roasts for a company in Mass. His stuff is always good so I get it from him when I can and otherwise drink tea since I've been unable to find coffee that I like.

                  Best coffee I've ever had was 20 years ago at Peets. At that time they were still only a regional chain in and around SF and their coffee buyer would actually fly to the countries of origin and visit the growers, roast and cup onsite and decide what to buy. Since they roasted everything dark they were very particular about buying coffee that was grown between certain altitudes because that could best withstand the roast. The coffee descriptions from the cupping actually carried through to your cup, if they claimed "hint of berries" or whatever in the description then that is what you'd get. Phenomenal stuff. Not anymore. They long ago grew too big and their coffee now is just awful.

                  1. re: jread23
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                    qianning Mar 3, 2011 05:46 AM

                    you might well like prime roast, they buy many of their beans in situ and they excel at darker roasts, and small batches. if you catch them on a day/time when one of the owners is there you can get a full course on their coffee & etc.

                2. re: jread23
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                  bewley Mar 2, 2011 05:20 PM

                  Prime Roast in Keene excels in dark roast/robust flavored coffees. They're excellent.

                  1. re: bewley
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                    alish15 Mar 5, 2012 05:54 PM

                    I agree Prime Roast is awesome. I'm originally from upstate New York, Saratoga and have had some of the best coffee ever there. Yet Prime Roast has the largest selection of in store roasted beans that I've seen, usually if a coffee shop roasts themselves they don't have as large of a variety as PR. They have frozen espresso drinks in the summer that are amazing, if you have ever had a frappicino thing at starbucks, this is a million times better.

                  2. re: jread23
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                    qianning Mar 3, 2011 05:22 AM

                    at A&E I never get the brewed coffee, only espresso or a short Americano. Their beans are really good, but their brewed coffee is way too weak for me. I use their beans at home most of the time, and really like both their Brazilian and their Ugandan. However, if I'm in Keene I definitely prefer the selection at Prime Roast....more beans to choose from, a wider variety of roasts, and much better brewed coffee.

                3. pinehurst Mar 3, 2011 01:18 PM

                  There is a coffeehouse in downtown North Conway that I cannot for the life of me recall the name of....across from the general store and near North Conway Country Club??? very good there.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: pinehurst
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                    steve999 Mar 3, 2011 04:48 PM

                    The Met
                    http://metcoffeehouse.com/

                    1. re: steve999
                      pinehurst Mar 4, 2011 03:05 AM

                      That's the one! Thanks!

                  2. 3catsnh Mar 10, 2011 01:32 PM

                    When you're in Portsmouth try Cafe Kilim. And in the summer nobody makes an ICED cappuccino like they do--well, nobody makes them! It's a work of art. (Not an iced latte.)
                    I travel around ME, NH, and VT a lot and pick up local beans; my favorite is AWAKE Vermont Organic Coffee out of Middlebury. I like their Red Eye Roast which is "a dark roast with a shot of espresso" and they make a dark roast decaf called After Dark.
                    www.awakecoffee.com

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: 3catsnh
                      chefj Mar 10, 2011 01:39 PM

                      +1 on Kilim. My favorite when I lived round the corner.

                      1. re: 3catsnh
                        k
                        ksward Apr 26, 2012 06:24 AM

                        I also adore Cafe Kilim. I also like Breaking New Grounds in downtown more for hanging out...wandering around Portsmouth purposes.

                      2. c
                        ctroutman Mar 16, 2011 01:12 PM

                        I like A&E for their bag roasted beans to make coffee at home, but never really sat and drank coffee there outside of the first few times I was there. The owner definitely has an attitude problem, but the people that work for her are good people

                        1. r
                          rptl1 Mar 23, 2011 09:17 PM

                          When in Concord, NH the best place for coffee is True Brew. They're located in Bicentenial Sq.(runs from Warren St. to Pleasant St.). Rob & Stephanie have created a great spot. They have, hands down, the best coffee in town, as well as an extensive selection of teas, smoothies, & Italian sodas. Plenty of parking in the Garage off Warren St. across from the square. Just a heads up, True Brew is CASH ONLY (no CC's). As a bonus, Granite State Candy happens to be right next door.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: rptl1
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                            qianning Mar 24, 2011 03:31 AM

                            Is it a fairly new cafe? I can't remeber it, but haven't been to Concord downtown in a few months, maybe more.

                            1. re: qianning
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                              qianning Jun 12, 2012 03:37 PM

                              Finally made it to True Brew the other day. Super nice people, my DH loved his very well made macha. The beans are good (a&e), the espresso, what to say, it was a tasty cup of coffee, but it wasn't espresso (way to much liquid).

                          2. d
                            drewinmrblhd Mar 7, 2012 11:00 AM

                            Half Baked in Lincoln has been consistent for many years now and the coffee is great!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: drewinmrblhd
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                              SweetAlmond Jun 12, 2012 01:20 PM

                              Find myself agreeing with drewinmrblhd again...plus, on a hiking note, if you haven't got your backpack lunch from home, this would be a good place to pick one up.

                            2. q
                              qianning Jun 12, 2012 03:43 PM

                              The newly remodeled room upstairs at Swan Chocolate in Merrimack is very nice. The coffee's pretty good, not outstanding, still and all a good place to hang out if you are in the area.

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