Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Amherst Coffee: The best cup of coffee in Amherst

(Tracy Troisi/Daily Collegian)
(Tracy Troisi/Daily Collegian)

So you’ve been to Amherst Center for a few days or a few years. Feels the same, doesn’t it? You go down the street, walk by the amazing smelling, if not randomly placed, halal cart, and suddenly realize you haven’t been caffeinated.

Now, you are suddenly at a crossroad.

There are three distinct coffee shops ahead of you and you don’t know which one to choose. I would say that the two rivaling coffee shops in the center, possibly unbeknownst to them, are Rao’s and Amherst Coffee. We’ll just leave Starbucks out of this (coffee snobs, rejoice!). So put on your Fair Trade cotton beanie, queue up the Indie Spotify playlist and read up.

I have been to both Rao’s and Amherst Coffee on numerous occasions and there is definitely a difference in more than just the drinks. I regret to inform you, dear readers, that I am one of those coffee shop Wi-Fi leeches who sit for hours basking in the free wireless connection. For this reason, the ambience is key.

While Rao’s is very spacious, I prefer the smaller, cozy vibe that Amherst Coffee offers. While modest in size, there is still plenty of seating to be had. Whenever I walk into Amherst Coffee, I feel at home and the fact that they have a whisky bar drives that point, literally, home.

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty: the coffee at Amherst Coffee is superior.

It might have to do with the fact that they roast one of my personal favorites, Barrington Coffee, which is locally roasted in Lee, Massachusetts. It’s always highly rated on the coffee sommelier website, “Coffee Review.” Amherst Coffee switches up the roasts for morning and afternoon so you’ll always have variety. It has a lot of flavor without that stinging bitter bite that some not-so-well-made roasts have.

Whenever I get a latté or other espresso concoction there, I know it’s going to be exactly as incredible as the last one. As I stare down at the amazing obligatory latte art, I can smell the perfectly roasted espresso permeating from the cup. It’s an ideal temperature and there’s not an overabundance of milk, which can kill a drink.

Speaking of milk, another added bonus is that Amherst Coffee uses local milk from High Lawn Farms, also in Lee. If you take awhile to drink your espresso, fear not, because the constitution of the coffee holds up pretty well.

Amherst Coffee was founded in 2005, two years after the original location in Northampton, aptly named Northampton Coffee, was established. The franchise opened another location in Greenfield in 2010 called, you guessed it, Greenfield Coffee. The company prides themselves on meticulously crafted drinks and you can tell that they take their job seriously. The service they provide is exceptional, always answering any questions you might pose. There are delicious pastries for purchase from sister company Tart Baking Co. based in Northampton.

The quaint bar at Amherst Coffee is such a great addition to an already exceptional outfit. The drinks they prepare over there are of the potent variety, so watch your step as you leave the café. It also has a few select quintessential bar bites that include marinated olives, bread and olive oil and an enormous cheese/charcuterie plate a man once ordered that made me rife with envy.

If you find yourself “jonesing” for a great cup of coffee or an amazing selection of whiskey to indulge in, saunter on over to Amherst Coffee. It surely will not disappoint.

Tracy Troisi can be reached at [email protected].

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