It has been an exciting year for coffee in Vermont, with several new cafés and bakeries popping up locally.
While established cafés are beloved by their communities, there are plenty of newer spots in Vermont that could make an exciting shake-up to your daily routine or offer a weekend adventure. Here is a list of cafés and bakeries within about an hour’s drive of Middlebury that have opened in the past two years and are worth a trip.
Little Seed Coffee Roasters – Middlebury, Vt.
Kicking off the list is the closest option to Middlebury’s campus. Little Seed opened in September 2021, making it the newest coffee shop in town. Abundant seating options, including extensive table space in the secret-feeling lower level, and its proximity to campus make this a go-to study spot. Owners Anthony and Maggie Gerakos roast their coffee in-house, which lends cozy vibes and aromas to the space. With bags of beans, a full espresso menu and some pastry options, Little Seed is a space where Middlebury students can often be found sitting and lingering over their drink while getting ahead on an essay or cranking through a reading.
24 Merchant’s Row, Middlebury, Vt. 05753. Monday – Friday 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday – Sunday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Vermont Minifactory – Bristol, Vt.
Minifactory opened its doors this spring on Main Street in Bristol, Vt., replacing Bristol Cliffs Café. Its hours of operation and menus remain variable. Some days customers will find a full spread of breakfast and lunch options, other days oysters and cocktails in the evening or, still others, grab-and-go food. Minifactory sources as locally as possible, with produce from nearby farms, preserves from herbs grown at head cook V Smiley’s own farm and coffee from Burlington roaster Brio Coffeeworks. Regardless of the menu selection and staffing levels, you can depend upon a robust selection of pastries, espresso, preserves and some local produce for sale. The café also has several table sizes to choose from — a large table on the left side of the café is ideal for work or for a small group meeting, and there are plenty of cheerful yellow chairs to go around. Minifactory also hosts dinners, community events and other non-coffee pop-up occasions worth keeping an eye out for.
16 Main Street, Bristol, Vt. 05443. Monday – Thursday 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.; Friday – Saturday 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Jones the Boy Bake Shop – Bristol, Vt.
Originally founded in 2016 as a home baking operation, Jones the Boy Bake Shop opened a physical location last August, replacing Almost Home Market, just off of Bristol’s main drag. The bakery is only open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, but despite the somewhat limited hours, a visit is absolutely worth a little extra planning. With just a couple seats, this intimate shop feels like the definition of a hidden gem. It is the perfect spot to grab a to-go bite, but it’s also worth sitting outside on a sunny day to enjoy a freshly-baked muffin or scone. Customers will find a dazzling array of pastries and breakfast options on display in the bakery case, all at reasonable prices. Jones the Boy also serves Uncommon Coffee, an Essex Junction-based roaster, to wash down your sweet treat with whatever espresso beverage you choose.
28 North Street, Bristol, Vt. 05443. Thursday – Friday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Boxcar Bakery – Essex Junction, Vt.
Boxcar is a fresh — and, dare I say, out of the box — addition to the Vermont coffee and café scene, having just opened this past October in the Five Corners development of Essex Junction. With a mellow green color scheme, Boxcar has a serene and welcoming atmosphere. Owned by sisters-in-law with previous experience in the Vermont restaurant industry and a passion for baking, Boxcar aims to provide a gathering space for the community and a wide range of delicious baked goods. From scones to cookies to cakes, and both gluten free and vegan options, there’s something for everyone here, and plenty of tables at which to relax or do work.
11 Park Street Suite 101, Essex Junction, Vt. 05452. Thursday – Monday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Rosie’s Market and Cafe – Winooski, Vt.
Stepping into Rosie’s for the first time, you would be justified in thinking you suddenly walked out of Winooski and into a Paris patisserie — the Eiffel Tower mural on the wall only adds to the effect. With a black-and-white striped awning and a bubblegum pink storefront, Rosie’s stands out from the street. Rosie’s is a family-owned operation; one side consists of a bakery and espresso bar, while the other half is home to Rosie’s Confections, which features an array of chocolates, including some with CBD. The coffee offerings are robust, including a full espresso bar, tea latte specials and seasonal latte offerings such as pumpkin spice. Rosie’s is an appropriate spot for an intimate meetup, with limited but comfortable seating at a couple of small tables by the front windows. A back room behind the ordering counters is better suited for working.
7 West Canal Street, Winooski, Vt. 05404. Sunday – Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Olivia Mueller '24 is an Arts and Culture Editor.
Mueller intends to major in International Politics and Economics. Outside of the Campus, she is involved in the college choir, an avid trail runner and hiker, and a member of the Middlebury Mischords. Off campus, she can often be found exploring local coffee shops.