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The thought of my first cup of coffee — not my persistent, very loud alarm clock — is what wrangles me out of bed in the morning. But what makes a great cup, and where can you get it? It depends on who you ask.
We asked readers of Globe Rhode Island’s weekly Food & Dining newsletter where their favorite cafés were across the state, and received a ton of responses.
So don’t just take my advice. Here’s are the best coffee shops and cafés in Rhode Island, according to our most-loyal readers.
“Best Cafe on the East Side is Small Format. It’s such a welcoming little place and it’s delicious! They have tapped into a real community vibe and the rotating art, queer knitting circle and inventive treats just make me smile. Plus, they’re serving delicious jalapeño limeade this summer. And it’s a coop, so I feel great about supporting these young folks.” — Colleen D.
“My favorite cafe in Rhode Island is the Bolt Coffee Co. on Washington Street in Providence. The crew is friendly, their breakfast sandwich is one of the best around, and they occasionally dabble in evening pop-ups with other really talented folks in town.” — Katie Spigner
“Madrid European Bakery in Wayland Square has a Euro-cafe style with great handmade pastries and a naturally gluten-free Tarta de Santiago.” — Sean Aiden Clark
“My favorite coffee spot is Cafe Zara. The lattes are delicious, the food is fresh, and service is great. Nice spot to meet up with a friend.” — Marla
“My favorite café is Ellie’s on Weybosset Street in Providence. It has a modern feel, but is very comfy. Coffee with a brioche or chocolate croissant in the morning can really make my day. Sit outside on nice days and if you hang for lunch or dinner, an accordionist will be playing nearby to entertain you (his jokes are also pretty punny).” — Alexandra Hahn
“As a new Rhode Islander, my favorite cafe is Dave’s Coffee in Providence — especially in the summer when the students are gone. I pair their cold brew and ridiculously tasty sandwiches with a walk on the river. It’s gorgeous.” — Brian King
“Small Point Café in downtown Providence. We love the casual ambiance and variety of pastries and coffee drinks – they have plentiful seating and it never feels overrun. Perfect spot to read the paper, or a book from Symposium next door, on a Sunday morning.” — Jason & Julie McCool
“Beans and Buns. It’s simple, small-town, and delicious vibes in Pawtuxet Village.” — Lauren Paola
“The best coffee house in Rhode Island is The Nook Coffee House in East Greenwich. The staff are always friendly and willing to go above and beyond the norm to make sure you enjoy your visit. The atmosphere is best described as cozy and is a continued extension of the people; it feels like home. However, what sets The Nook apart from other coffee shops is their willingness to experiment and think outside the box with their seasonal drinks like Purple Rain Latte which uses dried lavender leaves or Persephone Latte that utilizes pomegranate molasses... Pure joy in a cup. Don’t overlook the delicious and generous food offerings, like Italian Summer with ricotta, honey, olive oil, salt, pepper, pistachios on hi-fiber bread.” — Brendan Coen
“Latte Love Coffee House in Cranston. It’s close to my work and everything is delicious: the muffins, sandwiches (with macaroni salad), and the cookies are out of this world! Oh, and the ice coffee is way better than Dunkin!” — Wayne Tait
“Bristol Bagel Works has outstanding bagels. My favorite is ‘the Works,’ which is their version of an everything. They also make terrific bagel sandwiches, like the ‘Harbor Special’ with lox, capers, red onion, and cream cheese. It’s served with a dill pickle and chips. The coffee is awesome and the cafe is a gathering place every morning for local Bristolians.” — Jim O’Neil
“My mind immediately jumps to Coastal Roasters in Tiverton — a great little spot by the water that serves some really solid coffee, perfect for a stroll along the pier or to sip on a drive to Little Compton.” — Colin Howarth
“With so many incredible coffee and pastry shops in Rhode Island (Madrid — hello best palmeritas outside of Spain; Nitro Bar — holy iced vanilla latte from the heavens; Aleppo Sweets — loose leaf mint tea paradise; Oak Bakeshop — thank you for taking me back to my 20s in New York with your incredible black and white cookies; Seven Stars Bakery — winning St. Patty’s every year with an Irish soda bread made by the gods), the competition is fierce. That being said, my favorite cafe is Black Pear in Barrington. The entire cafe is a love letter to Rhode Island. From the local mini market with all R.I.-manufactured products to their pastries, bagels, coffee from the best local folks, amazing made-from-scratch all-day breakfast and lunch items, there is just so much to love.” — Victoria Criado
“My favorite cafe is Groundswell Café and Bakery in Tiverton’s Four Corners, which I like to hit up before a visit to the beach. It is a beautiful jewel of design, with enticing seating both inside its French inspired cafe and outside in the covered porch or patio. In addition to a full bakery with chocolate croissants and coffee menu, they offer a beautiful selection of hearty and healthy salads to take away for lunch. After the cafe, I love browsing its sister shops, one a kitchen store, the other a garden shop, and the antique store across the street. Grays Ice Cream is also in the opposite corner.” — Danielle Kachapis
“My favorite cafe in Rhode Island is the Corner Cafe in Newport on Broadway. Great food and excellent coffee! I love to sit outside and bring my favorite three shitzus: Zoey, Cody and Daisy!” — Christine Jorgensen
“The 12 Metre Cafe at the Seaman’s Church Institute in Newport has provided not only refreshment, but a quiet and calm place to have a beverage or a meal amidst the hurly burly of America’s Cup Ave. and the Thames Street scene. Best of all, there is the walled garden in which to enjoy your pause.” — Jane Desforges
“Sunset Cove Cafe in Island Park in Portsmouth. The people are very kind and welcoming — and they have a beautiful wide lawn that one can take their food outside to enjoy near the water. I’m especially fond of grabbing a breakfast sandwich — there are five kinds to choose from. If you go later in the day, there is an outside bar that mixes fine drinks — and there are some very good wraps to choose from. Many nights there is music as well. Inside people linger with their laptops enjoying the air conditioning, the atmosphere and the food.” — Katie Schaffer
“My favorite cafe in Rhode Island is Nitro Bar, specifically the location on Pond Ave. in Newport. I work on the island, so it’s a special lunch time treat when I make it over to the shop. They really do it right — the best coffee, tea drinks, and bites all day long. My favorite drink during the summertime is their delicious watermelon lemonade and their peppermint mocha latte on draft during the holidays.” — Hannah Spicer Correia
“Java Madness in Wakefield. It is great year round but especially nice in the summer. Located right on Salt Pond with a large deck out back, it is the perfect spot to enjoy a frozen mocha latte and some goodies. As a bonus, they often have live music and jam sessions. Worth the trip to southern Rhode Island.” — Judi Quinlan
“The best coffee shop in the state is Caf Bar on Main Street in Wakefield. It is located in a beautiful historic building and shares a door with a quirky book shop. Their patio in the back is a perfect place to hide away, but the posh seating and stunning bar inside is also a great place to hunker down. They offer a wide variety of drinks, from drip coffee to maple bourbon lattes — and their gourmet toasts rival even the best West Coast avocado special. On the weekends, they stay open late and have live music and offer a limited food menu serving beer and wine. But what pushes them over the top is their commitment to the community — whether it’s sponsoring the newest little league team, or giving out free Christmas trees for the holidays, Caf Bar is always quietly doing what it can to give back to the community that loves it so much.” — Liz Gledhill
“My favorite coffee shop is TLC Coffee Roasters in West Kingston. It’s a cool and funky spot on Rt. 138 close to the University of Rhode Island. They have delicious baked goods, interesting sandwiches and great coffee!” — Carol O’Neil
“We are summer residents on East Beach in Quonnie and look forward to our seasonal visits to the Fresh Cup Cafe on East Street in Westerly. The food is delicious. My favorite is the grilled caprese panini. The baked goods are decadent, the coffee drinks are excellent, and there are lots of delicious smoothies. The atmosphere is relaxing with lots of comfy chairs around a fireplace. Plus, there’s free wifi.” — Nancy Wilcox
“My favorite place to meet friends is Wildflour Bakery in Pawtucket. Delicious and convenient. Also, it’s vegan.” — Barbara Green
“My kids take music lessons at Zabinski music in Pawtucket, next door to Seed Café and Espresso Bar, so that has become a new favorite.” — Peter Asen
“I have two favorites for different reasons. Fundati Coffee in Lincoln is fantastic both for food and drink. The cafe itself feels almost like you’re in a science lab with carafes and flasks of dripping coffee. While the prices are on the higher end, everything is worth it. I tend to get a dirty chai and the ‘hot one’ sandwich. The sandwich is served on a bolo (!!!) with a perfectly cooked egg and spicy sausage and just the right amount of accouterments. Their cookies and energy balls are all amazing. Coffee Connection in Woonsocket is another favorite, and a place I’m more of a regular. The people are friendly, the prices are great, and the iced coffee flavors are fantastic. My personal favorite is the Candy Bar. They make a phenomenal pistachio latte. Their breakfast sandwiches are the most satisfying I’ve had, giving you two eggs instead of the typical single egg..” — Jim Rizzo