It’s Massachusetts, so when someone mentions coffee, Dunkin Donuts are usually the next two words you hear. Let’s face it, Dunkin Donuts created the coffee category around here opening the first store in Quincy in the early 1950’s…. and while many people can’t get started in the morning without their Dunkin coffee, there are other independent coffee shops and roasters all over Central Massachusetts that are worthy competitors to the global chain. And as we always do here at Mass Foodies, we are going to focus on independent stores and roasters for this “Great Places” article.

The Coffee culture has changed in Central Massachusetts and now we have a great selection of places to enjoy a cup of coffee, espresso, latte or whatever you need to get your caffeine (or non-caffeinated) fix. Whether you get a coffee to go or sit and relax, spots like the cafe at deadhorse hill, Bean Counter, Acoustic Java, Crust and Z Café will certainly get the job done! Red Barn coffee is an independently-owned coffee roaster with cafés in Westborough and Southborough and a roasting location in Upton ensuring fresh coffee with every cup. Café Noir, just off Rte 9 in Shrewsbury is a comfortable spot, especially when good weather is in season as they have a nice outdoor patio to relax. Going Hudson to enjoy the new food scene shaping up on Main Street? Try Ariba Coffee for a great cup of coffee and a relaxing spot pretty much any time of day

Looking for some other great places to for coffee? Well here are some of our favorites and as usual, if you have a favorite that is not listed, please comment and let us know.

Lock 50

Awesome selection of Equal Exchange Coffee Roasters coffee, creative and inventive staff. Mid- to upscale place to enjoy all sorts of well-made, hand crafted coffee. Cool siphoned coffee system, plus any place with a coffee named the Face Breaker must be great. Elevating the coffee culture of the Canal District. Outdoor patio in good weather is a bonus.

Brew on the Grid

Great spot in downtown Worcester for easy, well made, on the run coffee or sit in, relax and enjoy in casual atmosphere. A few nice workstations if you need to get work done. They tout state of the art brew systems and highly trained baristas. Great alternative for downtown coffee!

In-House Coffee

Serving Nespresso coffee and espresso, In-House is a casual place with multiple seating areas to enjoy, including a great patio and a quite nook off to the side which is a great place for meeting or getting work done. Here is what you need to know about In House Coffee…. years ago, it replaced a Starbucks that couldn’t make it on Shrewsbury Street. Today it is a booming coffee business.

NU Cafe

What started out as Jumpin Juice and Java a few years ago has matured into one of Worcester’s best spots for coffee products. Yes they have expanded their offering but people still line up for the their organic coffee at all hours of the day. The long list of flavored lattes is impressive as well!

BirchTree

At BirchTree, having a coffee is more than just having a coffee, it is definitely a multi-dimensional experience. Yes the coffee is good, but the bustling open kitchen, the people-watching, the music, the huge windows and expansive ceilings all add to a coffee drinking experience you will enjoy and want to go back over and over again.

Armeno Coffee

Armeno is more of a coffee roaster than anything else, but that is exactly why you should get a coffee there. Huge selection, freshly roasted, hand crafted and delicious. Real artistry here, plus maybe one of the coolest buildings you can imagine combined with the smell of coffee roasting inside the old New England grist mill is truly unique.

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