If you’re anything like me, coffee is the second-most essential beverage of your college experience. It keeps you awake during class, keeps you alert when studying, and if made right, brightens your morning or afternoon. As a self-professed coffee connoisseur, I tried every major coffee place in the Dartmouth/Hanover area and ranked them from worst to best. For all the coffee-lovers and casual coffee-drinkers out there, I hope you find this helpful!
10. FOCO Coffee
Coffee from 53 Commons is just meh. Not terrible but nothing to be excited about. There are typically a couple options, including caffeine and decaf, and while it’s nothing fancy, it gets the job done of keeping you awake in the morning.
9. Collis Coffee
Coffee from Collis is fine, maybe a small step up from FOCO (though I’m honestly not sure if Collis coffee is better or if I’m just generally in a better mood when going to Collis). The options are similar, with both caffeine and decaf, and the quality is comparable to FOCO.
8. Lou’s Coffee
Ranking Lou’s so low may be controversial, but hear me out. Lou’s donuts are heavenly. Lou’s pies are to die for. Lou’s brunches are decadent meals that are always worth the wait. In comparison, Lou’s coffee is mediocre because there are so many better things to eat and drink at Lou’s.
Ramekin is the black sheep of the Starbucks-Novack family. Located in Anonymous Hall on the North end of campus, Ramekin is rarely frequented during study breaks or in between classes. Since it only opened last year, Ramekin has a clean modern atmosphere but the drinks are not quite to the level of the main Starbucks in my opinion.
Novack is the classic spot to grab a coffee in between classes or while studying in Baker-Berry Library. The coffee is solid, as are the espresso drinks and teas, though still not quite as good as the main Starbucks in town. Novack gains extra points for its extremely convenient location and efficient service but loses points for ambience (new Novack looks nicer than old Novack but is still slightly depressing because of its associations with 2am cram sessions before finals).
The main Starbucks is the classic in-town coffee spot, ranked above Novack and Ramekin because of its classy, spacious ambience. Starbucks has solid, high-quality offerings that range from coffee to espresso drinks to sugar-laden concoctions that barely count as coffee but still taste annoyingly good. Their pastries and sandwiches are decent, and their seating area, when open, is a nice place to meet up with friends or do some casual studying. While Starbucks has good selection and reliability, they lack the individuality of the local coffee shops.
Umpleby’s is a cute bakery-café located across from the Six South Street hotel. With a classic café selection, their coffee and espresso drinks are really good. It’s nothing revolutionary, but the taste is clean and mellow. In addition, Umpleby’s offers tasty sandwiches, pastries, cookies, and other baked goods. Umpleby’s provides both outdoor and socially-distant indoor seating with a charming small-town café ambience — I would definitely recommend for a breakfast, lunch, fun meet-up with friends, or casual study/writing session.
3. Still North
Still North is a bookstore, bar, and coffee shop located near Boloco and Stinson’s. Their coffee, tea, and espresso drinks are authentic and high-quality — their mochas are particularly delicious. Still North gains bonus points for the ingenious pairing of books and coffee, which happen to be my two favorite things in life. While the café is currently limited to takeout, Still North is typically a good place to hang out and enjoy coffee while browsing their collection of books.
2. Dirt Cowboy
Dirt Cowboy Café is the best currently-surviving coffee shop in the Hanover area. Located at the corner of the Green next to Murphy’s and the Coop, Dirt Cowboy is a great place to meet up with people, get some studying done, or just enjoy their exceptional coffee. Dirt Cowboy coffee is rich, well-balanced, full-bodied, and authentic, made from high-quality artfully-roasted coffee beans. With a wide selection of roasts (French roast, Sumatran, Colombian, and more!), a wider selection of flavors (anything from mocha to raspberry to Irish cream), and a diverse selection of drink types (coffee, tea, espresso drinks, hot chocolate, hot cider, and fresh juice), there is something for everyone! They also sell good food items, such as pastries and quiches, and bags of roasted coffee for those who want to make their own.
1. King Arthur Flour
How do I begin to describe KAF coffee? The coffee was rich and deep, with a warm aftertaste that always made me feel good. Sweet flavors, including maple and mocha, balanced perfectly with full-bodied dark roast. The most delicious pastries, quiches, and muffins paired not only with coffee but also with one of their many specialties: Hot Johnny, London Fog, or McNamara chocolate milk with a shot of espresso. I have so many fond memories of KAF, from interesting conversations with classmates in the KAF line to fun breakfasts with friends at the little tables to reading in the Tower Room with a KAF drink in one hand and my mind up in the clouds. Although I can still visit big KAF in Vermont, I will always miss the little KAF in Baker-Berry Library. KAF was what got me through midterms, finals, and hard times. KAF was what made me love coffee in the first place. To the little KAF in Baker-Berry and all its amazing memories, rest in peace.