Beer enthusiasts, ice cream fanatics, and maple syrup aficionados flock to Vermont to get their fix. But never fear, caffeine connoisseurs—Burlington, the Green Mountain state’s largest city, offers a bounty of bean shops and cafés just for you, too. Whether you’re looking to spend the day sipping a cinnamon-laced latte while people watching, taking in some local art, espresso in hand, or maybe you’re seeking a decadent mocha while catching up with a friend, you’re sure to find a coffee shop that suits your tastes.
This bicycle-themed café opened in 2011 in the basement level of a former grocery warehouse. It has since moved to the ground-level floor, where it shares an open space with The Karma Bird House art gallery. Tasty treats created by the chefs at the special-occasion restaurant Hen of the Wood pair nicely with the perfectly pulled espresso. Maglianero attracts an arty crowd, which makes sense as the building also houses a well-known advertising group, a bicycle designer, and other creative types. For those accompanied by their canine friends, feel free to stop on by. Well-behaved dogs are welcome, though they won’t be served any coffee!
47 Maple Street, Burlington, Vermont
The first coffee beans were roasted at Speeder & Earl’s back in 1993, and the small local chain (there are two other locations in the Burlington area) hasn’t slowed down since. You can make your drink selection either on your own or with the help of the staff’s expertise in guiding you through the numerous choices of beans and blends. Speeder & Earl’s sits in the center of the arts renaissance in the South End of Burlington. The café shares a building with SEABA (the South End Arts and Business Association), ArtsRiot, and several craftsmen and artists, many of whom have work featured on the café’s walls. The picnic benches outside the front door invite you to leisurely enjoy your iced coffee on a summer day and watch the eclectic goings-on of the hip Pine Street area.
412 Pine Street, Burlington, Vermont
The family-run Uncommon Grounds has been roasting and brewing fine coffee for more than 20 years. Used coffee bean burlap bags line the walls, transporting you back to a traditional European coffeehouse, with the giant roaster greeting visitors as they enter the shop. If you can make it past the tempting baked goods and pastries prominently displayed at the front counter, you’ll be met with a vast selection of coffees and teas, each prepared to order by well-trained baristas. Enjoy your cappuccino surrounded by the antique coffee-making equipment that adorns the space, or in warmer months, grab a table outside and enjoy watching people of all sorts stroll by on the pedestrian thoroughfare of Church Street.
42 Church Street, Burlington, Vermont
4. Scout & Co.
The newest addition to the Queen City’s coffee scene, Scout & Co. opened in 2014, just outside the city center, in the North End of Burlington. The warehouse-like space features local artwork but otherwise retains its uncluttered, industrial feel. Keeping with Vermont’s love of supporting local businesses, the shop features beans roasted a couple of miles away at Brio CoffeeWorks, as well as those from the renowned Blue Bottle Coffee and George Howell Coffee. What’s better to accompany a rich mug of coffee than a scoop of freshly made ice cream? You won’t find a plain vanilla or overly sweet chocolate here. Churned using local organic dairy products and featuring berries, vegetables, and other ingredients grown nearby, Scout & Co.’s ice cream pushes taste boundaries in unexpected, yet delicious directions: Toasted rice, anyone? How about beet, chocolate, and marshmallow swirl?
237 North Avenue, Burlington, Vermont
The Art Déco design of the Bluebird Café kiosk on the busy corner of Church and College Streets calls to mind a Paris subway stop. But the only place you’ll be traveling here is to coffee heaven. A member of the Bluebird restaurant group—which also includes the tapas-themed Bluebird Tavern and the finger-licking Bluebird Barbecue—the Café offers customers a grab-and-go experience, without sacrificing the quality of the food and drinks. Whether you’re seeking a real Vermont maple–flavored latte, a breakfast sandwich, or just a cup of black Americano, you can’t find a more convenient place to pick up a quick snack or afternoon pick-me-up.
116 Church Street, Burlington, Vermont
About Pamela Hunt