SIP Café and Coffee Bar is worth the extra trip to Northampton

By Jessica Chaiken

(Jessica Chaiken/ Daily Collegian)
(Jessica Chaiken/ Daily Collegian)

Most UMass students seem to lack a sense of adventure when it comes to getting their daily doses of caffeine. If they even make it off campus, students usually flock to Amherst Center or the nearest chain like Starbucks, settling for what he or she thinks is great coffee.

Little do they know that travelling just a little further can change their coffee habits indefinitely.

SIP Café and Coffee Bar, nestled deep in the heart of downtown Northampton at 8 Crafts Ave., has been satisfying the public’s caffeine and food fixes for about four and half years.

SIP has a wide variety of different drinks, food and baked goods to choose from. The croissants, scones and a selection of other goods are baked fresh daily at the coffee bar. SIP also has a few less common delicacies like French macaroons among others. There is also an assortment of gluten-free options. Also, each specialty drink, such as coffee, tea, cider, or soda, takes time to brew, as they are each carefully made by the baristas.

The atmosphere in SIP is a cross between a modern, metropolitan coffee shop and a cozy café. SIP is also unique in that it has a wood-burning fireplace, which is a great feature, especially knowing that there is a cold western Massachusetts winter ahead. In an interview with the Collegian, owners Peter and Kimberly Allen described SIP as a great place to come and enjoy a cup of coffee or a bite to eat.

Some of the most popular menu items at SIP are the breakfast burrito, as well as the lattes and pressed coffee. SIP prides itself on its choice to serve Counter Culture Coffee, which celebrates and supports small-business farmers that produce their own coffee. Unlike many coffee shops, SIP also takes the time to make quality food. They have a long list of items on their menu at very reasonable prices, which can range anywhere from $3.50 for a veggie bagel or $8.50 for a specialty salad. Options include breakfast and lunch sandwiches, salads and soups.

One of the events that SIP arranges is a monthly “After Hours Dinner.” They offer a four-course meal in the café for $70 per person, and the café transforms into an elaborate evening setting.

The next dinner they are hosting is on Friday. If this price is too steep, as it most likely is for the average college student, SIP is a great place to visit and enjoy during the day, whether you want a change of setting for doing homework, want to grab a snack with some friends or simply need a break from studying. They also have free Wi-Fi.

The café is on the smaller side, so it does not have many seats. But, with the crazy schedules that people have, a seat will most likely open up if you do not find one immediately.

So next time you are in the mood for a coffee, a sandwich, or a homemade baked good, check out SIP Café and Coffee Bar. They are open seven days a week, from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the week and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the weekends. By taking the risk and switching up your routine, you will be surprised at what new adventures await you.

Jessica Chaiken can be reached at [email protected]