Someone asked me yesterday which I prefer: Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks. My answer? Neither. In Vermont—specifically the Burlington area—we have so many options for locally roasted coffee that I never find myself dropping by a coffee chain for a caffeine fix. When it comes to coffee, I don’t discriminate with how I take my coffee. Sometimes I’ll drink a cup of joe black, straight up, unadulterated. Other times I go for a maple or mocha latte. My latest obsession, though, is nitro cold brew coffee. (Read about companies bottling cold brew coffee in Vermont here). Lucky for me, I have two locally owned coffee “shops” within two miles of my house, which for Vermont, is reason for celebration.
Best Coffee Shops in Burlington
If you’re a coffee connoisseur who would rather support small than national chains, here are my picks for the best coffee shops in Burlington, Vermont. What is your go-to coffee stop in Burlington and the surrounding towns? Share in the comments below to keep the conversation going.
Best (and Only!) Mobile / Outdoor Coffee Shop
Nomad Coffee, Essex Junction, Vermont
Nomad Coffee is a mobile coffee shop near Essex Junction’s Five Corners. It’s also the cutest little coffee shop in Vermont, IMHO. The tiny coffee shop on wheels is decked out in rustic barn wood, antiqued metal, and a welcoming pop of sky blue trim. Featuring Barrio Coffee Works’ coffee, Nomad has a whole slew of inventive drinks: Maple Nutmeg Latte, Pumpkin Pie Latte, London Fog Latte, Chocolate and Chaga Smoothie, among others. In a hurry? You can place an order online, and they’ll have your drink ready to go within 15 minutes (or at a later time if you specify one in the notes).
Best Cold Brew Coffee in Vermont
Gold Ladder Coffee, Essex Junction, Vermont
Gold Ladder is the newest kid on the block. They opened their storefront on Susie Wilson Road in Essex, next to the Bagel Market, in December 2016. Roasting all of their own beans from 13 different locations, Gold Ladder is a coffee and ice cream shop combo with pour-over coffee, cold brew (nitro and non-nitro), and unique coffee drinks. It’s a cute, modern space for a coffee date with bold art work, created by the coffee roaster himself. I’m a huge fan of their nitro cold brew and the fact that on any given day, you’ll get a different kind of bean with tasting notes from coffee roaster Kyle. Gold Ladder’s Maple Latte is pretty delicious as well.
Best Maple Latte & Best Sweet Treats
Scout & Company Coffee Company, Burlington and Winooski, Vermont
Scout, located on the circle in Winooski as well as in downtown Burlington, is an espresso bar and ice cream shop with some of the funkiest donuts you’ll ever eat, made by Miss Weinerz. Oh hello, beet, peach glazed, fire-roasted plum, rose sugar parsnip, elderberry glazed, chocolate sourdough, everything buttermilk… I could go on. Scout partners with coffee roasters across the country, including Square One, Coava, Brio CoffeeWorks, among others, and uses the organic milk from local dairy Kimball Brook Farm. Why is their Maple Latte the best? They add a hint of smoke… They torch a marshmallow in every cup and add a hint of smoked-maple syrup to round out the smokey flavor. Their cappuccinos are also awesome for a coffee traditionalist.
Best Coffee Shop for a Coffee Date
Maglianero, Burlington, Vermont
Maglianero in downtown Burlington believes that cafes bring people and communities together. The space is designed for catching up and conversation, which is why it’s one of the best coffee shops in Burlington for coffee dates and networking. A few blocks off of Church Street, it also tends to be quieter than some of the other cafes in the area. In addition to extensive tables for meeting up, there’s also indoor bike parking, local art and photography exhibits as part of the Karma Bird House gallery, and a tiny library / reading room for browsing… And, the Burlington coffee shop is dog friendly as well. Try the Vanilla-Cardamom Latte or the Ginger-Honey Cappuccino.
Best Coffee Shop for People Watching
Uncommon Grounds, Burlington, Vermont
Located right on Church Street, Uncommon Grounds has been around for over 20 years. They roast all of their own coffee in the roaster in the front of the store. There’s ample seating, and it’s always buzzing with good energy. If you want to have an intimate conversation over coffee, Uncommon Grounds might not be the spot for you. But, if you love people watching, it’s a great spot for watching passersby on Church Street. They also have the best chai latte in Burlington, but skip the baked goods; you can get much better ones elsewhere on the block.
Best Mocha Latte
Jericho Cafe & Tavern, Jericho, Vermont
One of my favorite Sunday traditions is stopping at the Jericho Cafe and Tavern to pick up a coffee to go before grocery shopping at Jericho Market. The Bentley Mocha at JCaT is probably my favorite coffee drink in all of Vermont. It’s slightly sweet, slightly roasty, and perfectly balanced and blended. The iced version is just as good. Jericho Cafe & Tavern uses Monument Farms milk and fine chocolate to make the best mocha latte in the Burlington area. Pair your Bentley Mocha with a cinnamon bun from the pastry case for a seriously delicious combo.
Best Coffee Shops Outside of Burlington
Looking for some of the best coffee shops outside of Burlington? Try Capitol Grounds in Montpelier, Vergennes Laundry in Vergennes, Carol’s Hungry Mind in Middlebury, Village Wine and Coffee in Shelburne, and Mocha Joe’s in Brattleboro.