NoHo Nibbles: The Best Independent Coffee Spots

Photo by Elizabeth Amador '16 SIP Cafe and Coffee Bar boasts a selection of rich coffee.

Elizabeth Amador '16 Contributing Writer

With daily schedules jam-packed with numerous classes, events, study sessions, interviews and club meetings, it is no wonder Smithies sometimes need an extra energy boost to get them through the day. Smithies are lucky to live close to large coffee chains like Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts, beloved local independent coffee houses and restaurants. Those looking for quality coffee and warm vibes need to look no further than the hub of Northampton’s best independent coffee spots.

Our first stop is Woodstar Cafe. This homey atmosphere is known as a popular stop for both coffee and pet lovers with its welcoming outdoor patio tables, wide array of coffee selections and full espresso bar. Smithies should be quick to get in line as their popular bagel sandwiches and pastries sell out fast. Woodstar’s overflowing cafe mocha will leave you warm despite cold New England weather.  A unique and must-have pick is Woodstar’s “East Meets Woodstar” bagel sandwich with cream cheese, smoked salmon, pickled ginger, wasabi and cucumber.

SIP Cafe and Coffee Bar is next on our list, with its modern vibe and fresh-brewed coffee that’s never burnt. First-time visitors should order their flavorful pourover coffees. SIP’s dedication to Counter Culture Coffee makes their coffee definitely worth the wait, as you can detect multiple transitioning flavor layers as you drink it. Milk and sugar are not needed with SIP’s rich coffee profile. Gluten-free snack options are also available.  We recommend that you sit down for a mug of their warm pourover coffee, their delicious oatmeal and a book from their partner bookstore, Broadside Books.

Step inside Tart Baking Co. and bask in the aroma of bread and pastries. Here is the perfect place for a cup of organic free-trade coffee and a mouthwatering baked good from Tart’s talented bakers. Wednesdays are “donut days,” and this past Wednesday, Tart Baking Co. sold brioche donuts with a poppy seed streusel filling. First-timers should settle down with a chocolate pistachio rose or an apricot golden raisin almond rugelach and a strong latte.

After school supply shopping in Acme, stop at Rao’s Coffee inside Thornes Marketplace. Their variety of single order coffees will give you that much-needed boost to finish your shopping spree. Be adventurous with a light roast like “Honduran El Jaguar” or try a Rao’s classic vanilla au lait and a cowboy cookie.

The Foundry is a beloved Smithie-owned nighttime hangout best known for their stellar beer and wine, but we cannot forget their morning attractions, like their 24-hour-long brewed cold brew iced coffee. Other popular choices are their drip coffee, iced green tea latte or the intense “Firenzi,” a shooter espresso drink. The Foundry’s seasonal maple latte is made with real pumpkin butter. Their coffee is locally roasted by Esselon Coffee Roasting Co. It is important to note that the Foundry is unplugged, so leave your laptops at home and enjoy the chill atmosphere.

A little effort goes long way at the Roost, another popular coffee place. Although it’s a little farther away from the Smith campus, it is well worth the walk.  With lots of vegan and gluten-free options, the Roost is great for everyone, even non-coffee drinkers. For those who need a morning boost but are more inclined to drink tea, the “Turbo” is the drink for you. The “Turbo” is very caffeinated with four different types of teas. For the coffee drinkers, we recommend the dirty chai or café vanilla paired with a double chocolate pecan cookie.

The vegan/vegetarian Haymarket Café, in addition to their luscious smoothies and fresh juices, make great coffee in large mugs. After ordering your coffee and treats, head downstairs and relax or study with friends.  Order a café mocha or sit down and dig into a grilled cheese.

Last but not least, Northampton Coffee makes outstanding and quality brewed coffee. Their baristas are well-trained and well-known for their meticulous effort to bring out the best of the sustainably grown, equitably-traded coffee. The coffee is roasted to perfection by Barrington Coffee Roasting Company.   Northampton Coffee is brightly lit, which helps you out of the Monday morning blues.