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Seacoast coffee power rankings


Coffee on a college campus is a hot (or iced) commodity. For a student starving for energy, it can be the saving grace in the battle against upcoming deadlines and perilous exams. In and around Durham, there is no shortage of a java supply and students have a plethora of places to turn for their caffeination salvation – but the question is: where to go? How can the average college student make their best choice with all those options present? Based on some crucial points – quality, quantity and price – here are some ratings on a five-point scale of the individual locations, and an ordered list of which places are most worth the visit.  

10.) Aroma Joe’s – Main Street, Durham 

Aroma Joe’s is a decent place to start if you’re looking for a quick java stop. The gimmick about Aroma’s is the wide variety of flavors – and it definitely has the largest assortment out of any place on this list. It boasts 16 unique coffee flavors and an additional nine sugar-free options to mix and match any way possible. The coffee itself, however, isn’t much to talk about. It is very much average, but has the tendency to taste burnt, especially if you are ordering it hot. Price-wise you could do a lot worse; you can get a large (24 ounces) iced coffee for $3, and combining that with the ability to make any combo you want, the stop at Aroma’s is always a safe bet. Thanks to the wide range of customization, it gets just above a 2. Rating: 2.1 

9.) Baker’s Corner – Main Street/Madbury Road, Durham 

If there was any location that didn’t deserve to be put last, it’s Baker’s Corner. The new Durham bakery has a much wider and sweeter focus than coffee (so many baked goods), which is why theirs lands here. It has the best value on campus, offering a 24-ounce iced coffee for a mere $2.75. If you’re deciding to grab a quick coffee at Baker’s Corner, think of it this way. You can get the large iced that you’re looking for and throw in a few delicious apple cider doughnuts all for under $6 – which is around the same price you could be paying for the same sized coffee at other locations on and around campus. Rating: 2.4 

8.) Dunkin’ – Holloway Commons & Dover Road, Durham (and the rest of New England) 

There is something about Dunkin’ that instills New England pride with every sip. There is no feeling quite like tight-fisting a large Dunkin’ iced on a 20 degree day while sporting some Pats or Bruins gear – but that’s not what earns a high java rating. The flavors are okay, the coffee in itself is nothing special and it’s not the best place to sit down and do some work at. However, it is cheaper than a lot of its competitors and the novelty of it still manages to suck people in (including me). Dunkin’ gets the job done, but not much more than that. Rating: 2.5 

7.) The Works – Mill Road Plaza, Durham & Congress Street, Portsmouth 

Think of The Works as ol’ reliable when it comes to your iced coffee needs. It’s nothing special or flashy, but they provide standard, run-of-the-mill coffee for a reasonable price, at the same time offering a genuinely nice place to relax or study. A regular iced coffee will run you about $3. Not too bad – especially when you consider their refill policy which is only a dollar more. The flavor selection is minimal and can seem kind of bland but the atmosphere and the cheap refills earn The Works the number seven java spot. Rating: 2.7 

6.) Breaking New Grounds – Main Street, Durham 

Breaking New Grounds (BNG) is somewhat of an acquired taste in some aspects. Those who enjoy their coffee on the stronger side will most likely enjoy what they find at BNG. The flavor selection is wider than that of the average location (Irish creme is a big one) and it isn’t limited to just flavor shots. They offer flavored coffee and a variety of different roasts and espresso for a decent price. A big positive that BNG offers is the coziness and comfort of the location itself. It gives off a warm fuzzy feeling that makes it a nice place to hang or get some work done while getting away from the incoming colder weather. Rating: 3.2 

5.) Saxby’s – Madbury Road, Durham 

There are some intriguing coffee options here, so it’s definitely worth a visit. Saxby’s is really big on its cold brew, and it’s not half bad. Saxby’s cold brew is smooth, sweet and creamy – very enjoyable, but also can be pricey. For a cheap iced coffee you might want to consider other options, because if you’re combining cold brew with a flavor shot or two, a large can run you up to almost $6. They offer some decent flavor combos (white chocolate and macadamia nut is really good) but keep in mind there is a flavor upcharge as well. It’d be hard to be disappointed by a Saxby’s coffee since it is definitely high quality, and the spot is very open and bright, making it a comfortable and popular spot for getting schoolwork done. It is worth noting that throughout this week (until Friday, Oct. 18) Saxby’s is offering free small hot and iced coffees, so if there’s ever a time to make a trip there and try it, it’s now. Rating: 3.4 

4.) Coffee Craving – Calef Road, Lee 

Although it can be hit or miss, Coffee Craving is enjoyable with every sip. The coffee itself is decent as well as the pricing, the typical $3 for 24 ounces. The flavor options are mostly delightful and change every week or so. If all of the flavors options were as good as the best, you would find Coffee Craving higher up on this list. However, some of the flavor options are too much and just overwhelm the coffee, making for a disappointing drink. The pumpkin creme brulee and the vanilla hazelnut truffle options were so good they had me wishing I bought an extra for later. Cookies and cream made me glad I had different coffees to wash it down with. Coffee Craving has a slightly unfortunate location. The drive from Durham isn’t the quickest, and you might be waiting even longer in the car since the lines can get long. If you have a flavor in mind you want to try and you’re not in a desperate rush to get your java, this coffee will soothe your craving. Rating: 3.6 

3.) Coffee Station – Dame Road, Newmarket 

Similar to Coffee Craving, Coffee Station offers a wild selection of flavor combos that varies week to week, so there’s always something new to try. The reason it slightly edges the last location out is because it’s closer to Durham, and although the wait in line can be dreadful at times (as long as 30-40 minutes around 10 and 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday mornings) there are two windows at this shack, which can get through the lines at a decent pace. For Coffee Station, the flavor combos are more of a compliment to the already good coffee, while Coffee Craving coffee is a bit more dependent on the flavor because the coffee itself is rather generic. Aside from those busy weekend mornings, a trip to Coffee Station can typically be a get-in, get-out affair and you’ll make way with one of the many more reliable flavor combos. Rating: 3.8 

2.) Adelle’s Coffeehouse – Hale Street, Dover 

This spot is one of the further places on the list, but its coffee and atmosphere earn it the silver. Adelle’s is a bit like Breaking New Grounds in the sense that the coffee appeals to those who like it on the stronger side, but it is high quality stuff. They brew in small quantities to ensure that the coffee they serve is fresh, and they were named “Best of the Seacoast” by Seacoastonline for 2019. Those working at Adelle’s are always friendly and welcoming, and that contributes to the cozy nature of the comfy little coffee house. Adelle’s features art from local artists and uses those pieces to further enhance the funky decor of the place. While it may be out of the way, Adelle’s is always a great spot to visit to get some strong quality coffee for a reasonable price that everyone needs in their life. Rating: 4.4 

1.) Rrramon’s Food & Coffee Cart – Academic Way, UNH 

The best coffee in Durham and the surrounding area is Ramon’s. They offer White Mountain Coffee – the closest location that offers it is in Concord – besides that you’d have to travel up to North Conway to get your hands on its delicious taste. Ramon’s offers the delightful taste at a cheap price, along with just about everything else. They offer their standard flavors each week, but feature a flavor of the week (or two) that are always worth a try (chocolate raspberry creme and mudslide in particular). What the Ramon’s cart doesn’t have in terms of seating is made up for by the hospitality of the people themselves, Ramon and Kristin. Always an absolute pleasure to see, they offer up service with a smile to an above and beyond degree, matching the high quality of the coffee with delightful daily interaction. If there is any place on this list that is a must try, it’s Ramon’s. There’s no need to even check the flavor of the week, just go, and you’ll be happy you did. Rating: 4.8 

There are so many coffee options in and around Durham that there are definitely some great ones not listed here. If you’re in a bind and you need a java stop, now you can check out some of these places with a bit more education on the matter. Hopefully you’ll check out a new spot you hadn’t tried before, or maybe you’ll just save a few bucks or a few minutes when you’re darting over to class. Enjoy all the java that the Seacoast has to offer, and good luck on your quest toward caffeination salvation. 

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