New Hampshire is a gem of New England with its beautiful landscapes and colonial architecture, as well as a history of loving coffee. The state’s official motto is “Live free or die,” which harkens back to their passion during the American Revolution. During the early years of the revolution, when tea was scarce, coffee became the favored beverage of the new nation that was forming. It is no wonder that coffee culture is an integral part of the state even today.
Although New Hampshire is the 5th smallest state in the country, there are still plenty of places to get a good cup of coffee. In the historic seaport town of Portsmouth, you can really get a sense of old New England. Not only have many of the beautiful colonial style buildings been preserved, but the harbor is still an active port for shipping and a gateway to the rest of the state. Tucked away in the downtown area you’ll find a great local coffee spot called Breaking New Grounds located at 14 Market Square. With ample seating and an extensive menu, it’s a favored destination of locals and tourists alike. The baristas here take their coffee very seriously, and they can whip up almost any specialty coffee drink in a snap. You have the choice to savor your coffee in the shop, or buy some of their specialty roasted beans to take with you.
If you head a bit west to Manchester, which is New Hampshire’s largest city, you can get a sense of the state’s role in the Industrial Revolution. Manchester in the 19th century was a center of booming business for factories and mills utilizing the new technologies of the day to bring the United States into the Industrial age. All of this progress required workers who were alert and energized, and so it’s no surprise that coffee has long been a necessity to keep the city going. That legacy lives on with the cafes and coffee shops that are there today. Along Elm Street, which has been a center of commerce since the 19th century, there is a concentration of places to get a java fix. The award winning Bridge Café at 1117 Elm Street offers customizable coffee drinks, meals and snacks in a friendly atmosphere. If you head down the street, you’ll also find J. Dubs Coffee at 1000 Elm Street which, in addition to great coffee, also serves up delicious smoothies made right before your eyes. With a bright colorful décor and a local flavor that is far from corporate, this is a well-loved hot spot for a morning pick-me-up. Just a bit further down the road at 900 Elm Street is Ahh-Some Gourmet Coffee. Offering over 50 selections of coffee, many of which are Organic and all are Fair Trade Certified, this café gives you plenty of options as well as a fun and contemporary setting in the heart of downtown Manchester.
Concord, the state’s capital, is just a bit north of Manchester and is home to the several institutions of higher education and the state’s administrative center. It is a small community, but still filled with activity. The town has a number of cafes to fuel the college students and government workers, and one that is a local favorite is the White Mountain Gourmet Coffee shop at 15 Pleasant Street. Located just down the street from the city’s gold domed State Capitol building, this café is a cozy spot to enjoy one of their specialty frozen coffee drinks, gourmet ice creams or classic coffee blends. While in the area, you may also want to visit some of the many specialty shops, art galleries and museums that the town has to offer, or visit the historical society to learn about the area’s points of interest.
As you can see, New Hampshire has a lot to offer for coffee lovers and people interested in American History. It may be a small state, but there are many things to see and do there while enjoying America’s most patriotic beverage: coffee.