Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A lineup of Amherst’s coffee scene

Here is where you should go.

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Collegian File Photo

By Mikayla Rooney, Collegian Correspondent

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As a mild caffeine addict and amateur coffee house connoisseur, you can bet that I have visited my fair share of cafés in the Amherst area. From Amherst Coffee to Share Coffee to Black Sheep, if there’s caffeine, I’m there.

With all the coffee shops in Amherst Center and the surrounding area, I have spent countless hours and way too much money frequenting the various cafés. With the numerous coffee shops around, it can be a daunting task deciding which place to check out. Luckily, my obsession with exploring coffee shops has me well-versed in the local coffee scene.

Amherst Center has numerous coffee shops that each carry a distinct vibe, creating a unique experience inside each one. At this point in my caffeine adventures, I have found that I will visit different coffee shops for different reasons.

For the quick coffee pick-me-up, I would recommend the classic Starbucks, where you can order ahead and be in and out quickly. However, their coffee does not stand up to other coffee shops downtown, but rather is convenient and stays open later than most other coffee shops in the area. While their food is not great, and the specialty drinks are typically too sweet for me, it is definitely the most time efficient.

Other than its convenience, Starbucks has nothing on its local counterparts. If you are looking for a plain cup of joe, definitely check out Amherst Coffee. Its coffee is great, especially for those of us that love our coffee black. I find that their coffee doesn’t have the weird aftertaste that Starbucks’ coffee has or the acidic burn of some other brands.

I tend to visit Amherst Coffee when I am looking to catch up with friends over a nice latte. The environment is relaxing, and their renovations have only added to the atmosphere. Amherst Coffee is always buzzing, although its small size can make it hard to find seating during peak hours.

In addition to brewing a superb cup of coffee, Amherst Coffee is a part-time whiskey bar and for the 21-plus crowd, it can serve multiple purposes. On occasion, it has even been known to host jazz nights where you can order a drink and relax with friends. Check out their Facebook page for more information on events happening at Amherst Coffee and be sure to visit next time you are in town.

While the plain coffee at Amherst Coffee is my favorite in town, Share Coffee beats the rest in terms of favoritism for me. Their muffins and baked goods are hard to beat, but it’s best to go early considering they usually tend to sell out later in the day. Also, their tea selection and specialty drinks are delicious.

Share Coffee by far has the best lattes and specialty drinks in town — I love their cappuccinos and chai lattes. A vanilla latte from Share is a treat well worth the money. Their syrups are all homemade and they periodically add seasonal flavors; they are currently serving mint and in the fall, they had autumn spice. Their lattes are sweet but never over-saturated with sugar.

The energy in Share is great for focusing and getting work done. With more seating space and outlets than Amherst Coffee, Share has become a go-to study spot. If I am planning to do work, Share Coffee is where I like to go early and camp out, because regardless of their ample seating, the place fills up fast.

Though Share and Amherst Coffee both have great beverages and an array of baked goods, Black Sheep is the place to go when your caffeine fix needs food to accompany it. Even though Black Sheep is technically a market, with their extensive coffee and tea menu, I had to include it.

Black Sheep’s sandwiches are great and reasonably priced. I love their breakfast wraps, especially their Santa Fe wrap. You can build your own sandwiches and salads or choose from the menu. I love Black Sheep for when I need coffee, but also want something more substantial than a muffin.

The cafés in the Amherst area are great for lunch dates, study sessions and quick pick-me-ups. Each offers something unique and is at least worth a try. While I find Share to be my favorite coffee shop around, I am always open to trying new coffee shops.

Mikayla Rooney can be reached at [email protected]

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