Standout Northeast Coffee Roasters

We dive into the history of one of the world’s most popular drinks and reveal our favorite regional shops.
northeast coffee roasters

What is it about our devotion to coffee that makes it so indispensable?

Is it the flavor or aroma, the moments of peace it instills as we relish it or the superpowers it imbues once its caffeine kicks in? It’s surely a little bit of everything that make it one of the world’s favorite drinks.

When it comes to our beloved bean water, many consider themselves casual connoisseurs. If you’re always in search of the next best cup, these Northeast coffee roasters are some of the finest in the game, perfecting blends that quickly become an integral part of their customers’ daily habit.

But first, let’s take a brief look at how coffee came into our lives. 

Meant to “Bean”  

An estimated 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed per day in the world. Without it, many of us lose focus and may not otherwise function like a normal human.

But it’s so much more than a quick energy boost or morning ritual. It’s loaded with powerful antioxidants to improve health and brain function, may reduce risk of diseases like diabetes and Parkinson’s, and lowers risk of depression.

This famed pick-me-up is steeped in 1,500 years of history, too. Legend has it that an Ethiopian farmer noticed his goats wouldn’t sleep after eating berries from a particular tree. Word quickly spread of the stimulant, and by the 1000s, the Arabian Peninsula began to blend the seeds (beans) with animal fat to make a snack bar, then roasted them to drink in the 1200s. Beans were finally being sold by the 15th century.

Public coffee houses were called “Schools of the Wise” as they became the center of social and cultural activity and communication, according to the National Coffee Association of the U.S.A., and by the 17th century, European travelers to the Near East raved about the beverage. However, some considered coffee “the bitter invention of Satan,” and only papal approval allowed coffee to escape controversial condemnation in 1615. It was even banned in the Ottoman Empire until 1839.

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Once coffee replaced beer and wine in the morning cup, work performance not surprisingly improved, and opinions shifted.

When the Dutch successfully cultivated beans in the late 1600s in Sri Lanka, they were smuggled or carried abroad, including to France, Portugal, Brazil and New Amsterdam (now New York City). In the Northeast, it topped tea’s popularity when Boston Tea Party rioters launched tea reserves into Boston Harbor in 1773, and Thomas Jefferson is rumored to have said, “Coffee – the favorite drink of the civilized world.”

Though the variety of coffee beans is as plentiful as grapes for wine, 60% of coffee as we know it is the arabica varietal, with origins in Ethiopia – versus the African robusta strain, making it one of the world’s largest commodities.  

If all this has you craving a sip of Joe, take a look at what’s brewing at these Northeast coffee shops.

northeast coffee shop

Top Northeast Coffee Roasters

Connecticut

Zumbach’s Gourmet Coffee, New Canaan

You can smell the freshly roasted coffee beans before you even open the door of this Fairfield County institution. Once inside, the magnetic appeal of its six or more drip coffees and espresso takes over, as do the oven-warm muffins and collage of college flags on the ceiling. Take your cuppa and pound of beans to go and stop by its monthly Caffeine and Carburetors events. Cash only.

Willoughby’s Coffee & Tea, Branford

Willoughby’s has been roasting the finest fair trade, organic arabica beans for nearly 40 years. Its impressive international lineup of single origin and blended coffees originates from destinations including Panama and Kenya, as well as Bolivian co-ops that support social welfare of coffee bean farmers. The result is a heavy, rich aroma, with smooth body and sweet milk chocolate flavors that will woo you.

Massachusetts

Monsoon Roastery, Springfield

This environmentally conscious roaster has a walk-up espresso bar to grab a can of beans (try Liquid Sunshine’s strawberry and caramel undertones), a hot or cold beverage (an Iced Americano or hot latte will hit the spot) and breakfast sandwich on the go. Fresh international coffees are roasted daily, then packed or brewed in a building that composts and uses 100% wind energy.

Bitty & Beau’s Coffee, Melrose

More than just fantastic coffee, Bitty & Beau’s encourages acceptance and inclusion by hiring people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to run their stores. The energetic vibe radiates through staff and customers alike. Try the fruity Bitty’s blend, nutty caramel Beau’s blend or currant-flavored decaf from Colombia, Guatemala and Ethiopia.

New Jersey

Grover’s Mill Coffeehouse, West Windsor

Sit outside this fair trade and community-centric coffee house on Saturday mornings and enjoy its live music while sipping your organic arabica coffee. It offers myriad styles, from single origin Peruvian Penachi to house blended javas, sourcing from family farms then small-batch roasting for premier flavor profiles.

Modcup Coffee, Jersey City

This coffee has come a long way since 2012 when it was roasted in a garage and sold curbside from a cart. Now it’s in three Jersey City locations as well as South Korean cafés. Modcup’s Gold Label Single Origin from Kenya is so good it has a wait list, but you can enjoy its experimental Ecuador Typica that uses anaerobic and cold fermentation processes (just like wine), or its delicious seasonal single origin Colombia Cumbarco.

New York

Aldo’s Coffee Company, Greenport

Since 1987, Aldo Maiorana has been brewing his premier javas and baking famous biscotti and scones for fans across New York and the globe. His Italian and French upbringing mixed with international travels to inspire the coffee’s old-world styles that transcend trends. It even drove Starbucks out of town. Enjoy his signature Orient Espresso blend, or any of his single-origin organic coffees roasted daily.

Abraço, New York City

This simple yet classic menu hasn’t changed much since established in 2007, but it still draws a queue. Its traditional macchiato stains the espresso with a teaspoon or two of milk, while its delectable cappuccino is a double with steamed milk and foam. Try kaffe mit schlag, a fresh-roasted coffee of the day with whipped cream and its famed olive oil cake.

Rhode Island

Cooper’s Cask Coffee Company, East Greenwich

Sumatra Lintong beans at Cooper’s Cask are aged in Rhode Island’s Sons of Liberty single malt whiskey barrels to infuse coffees with sweet tobacco and woody earth overtures with a hint of vanilla and caramel. This means you get an enriched coffee that widens to a long whiskey finish for that extra push through the day. Purists will delight in the Single Origin Series, from destinations like Costa Rica and Tanzania.

The Coffee Guy, Newport

With no brick-and-mortar location, this hyper-local roaster offers home delivery or pick-up at farmers markets for customers to experience the freshest small-batch blends. Try a 32-ounce growler of the trademark cold brew concentrate, Aquidneck dark roast or Sumatra French roast for an exotic personality.

May we suggest pairing your coffee with one of these local doughnuts or bagels?

Tell us about your favorite Northeast coffee roasters in the comments below.

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21 Thoughts on “Standout Northeast Coffee Roasters

  1. Hampton Coffee Company, on Eastern Long Island, in Montauk, Watermill, Southampton, Westhampton Beach, and Apequogue. great Coffee, clean restrooms, great muffins, and great staff. The only way I exist traveling around the Hamptons.

  2. Aldo’s in Greenport is amazing! Huge lines there in the summer for their stuff. Their scones are worth driving way out of your way for.

  3. Georgios Coffee Roasters in Farmingdale, NY. Very knowledgeable. Maintains a great selection of whole beans which he and his staff have personally visited the small growers.

  4. Dean’s Beans award winning coffee wins hands down. Delicious organic certified, shade grown and bird friendly, direct farm to roaster, with people centered development, Dean walks the talk… his awards include: Roaster of the Year Finalist: Macro-roaster Category (Roast Magazine, US, 2020); B Corporation “Best for the World” Community (2019); Ethical Corporation Responsible Business Award: Highly Commended Business Leader (First Place for a For-profit Business) (London, 2019);
    Flourish Award for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG): Poverty Reduction (US, 2019); Greater Boston’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For ® (US, 2018); Oslo Business for Peace Honoree (the “Nobel Prize for Business”) (2013); World CSR Congress 50 Top Social Innovators (Mumbai, 2015); UNWomen’s Community Engagement Award (NY, 2014); Manning Peace and Justice Award (US, 2008); Fetzer Institute Exemplar of Compassion in Business (Assisi, 2006);
    Williams College Bicentennial Medal (2006); Specialty Coffee Association Sustainability Award (Seattle, 2004); UNFAO Best Practices Recognition (Rome, 2002); Ethical Corporation Responsible Business Award: Highly Commended Business Leader (First Place for a For-profit Business) (London, 2019);
    Flourish Award for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG): Poverty Reduction (US, 2019); Greater Boston’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For ® (US, 2018); Oslo Business for Peace Honoree (the “Nobel Prize for Business”) (2013); World CSR Congress 50 Top Social Innovators (Mumbai, 2015); UNWomen’s Community Engagement Award (NY, 2014); Manning Peace and Justice Award (US, 2008); Fetzer Institute Exemplar of Compassion in Business (Assisi, 2006); Williams College Bicentennial Medal (2006); Specialty Coffee Association Sustainability Award (Seattle, 2004); UNFAO Best Practices Recognition (Rome, 2002)

  5. I love Berkshire Coffee Company in Great Barrington MA but my 2 favorites are not in the NE. San Francisco Coffee Company in SF CA, and Maui Coffee Company on Maui, HI

  6. Are these just companies that financially support AAA? There are numerous excellent independent coffee shops in eastern MA, none of which are listed

    1. Hi Rob and thanks for reading Your AAA Network! None of the coffee roasters in this article have a financial connection to AAA Northeast. While we try to be as comprehensive as possible in articles like these, we do serve multiple states and regions, which makes it difficult to cover them all. But let us know here which coffee roasters in Eastern Mass. we should’ve listed and thanks again.

  7. No disrespect to those roasters on this list, but The Coffee Exchange in Providence, RI, with its many fair-trade single-source beans, well-designed blends, and extraordinary limited offerings (they had, for a few months, a Honduran natural process bean from a single farm that I still dream about) is the best roaster in RI or New England generally if the many I’ve tried.

  8. Aroma Joes has the best coffee as well as other drinks and food. Most are drive thru’s, but the service is great, you order when you get to the window and everything is made fresh.

    1. Armeno Coffee Roasters in Norhborough is a great place to buy fresh roasted beans in many varieties, ncluding some lighter roasts

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