Need Coffee? Want Coffee? Here's My Recs for the Best Coffee on Cape Cod.
This is also a goodbye letter.
In addition to rounding up my favorite places to get my caffeine fix on Cape, it’s also a little kumbaya (for now) because I’ve decided to give up coffee. Wait, is this Lent? And , no, it’s not a resolution .. I just want the ability to focus more and -for whatever reason- I’ve never been able to be as concentrated or have a solid sleep schedule as I am when I’m without it. Doesn’t matter the strength or time of day so if you have any suggestions for me then by all means… share, please! And as far as resolutions go, I really want to stop reading as much as I do on the internet because I can really get sucked in and when I do, I swear, life feels like it’s becoming more and more like a Black Mirror episode. You know, that could very well be the reason I’m not sleeping so why should coffee suffer? Why should I? Well someone should enjoy it and because I’m going to stick to this for a while perhaps I can live vicariously by you if you’re here or visiting Cape and looking for the best cup of coffee. These are my favorites. All these places are 5 star but I’ve created some boxes to check if they’ve got going what it’s important to me going for them, which is nice. Just like there’s a time and place for my break, there’s also different places for certain coffee experiences so I’ll try to cover the gamut though the best way, of course, is just to see for yourself in person. Anyway, this really is much more of a personal Kumbaya than I planned. Someone is crying, Lord…
Organic Market- Dennis Port, MA
Start off on a high note… Organic Market has my favorite Chill Brew CBD-Infused cold coffee to take to the beach. There’s such an influx of CBD products everywhere lately and I’m being punny not trying to shove something down your throat. But if I did, and it was this, then I think you’d enjoy this Hemp infused Ethiopian coffee if you’re into experimenting. It has a slightly herbal taste and is a nice one to sip on your beach chair because it’s not going to give you an unneeded energy spurt. I don’t want the lifeguard drinking this but you should try it. Organic Market is my favorite place to pack a bag for the beach. They have great smoothies and Equal Exchange Cold Brew Coffee on tap also.
2. Marylou’s Coffee - Sagamore Beach, MA
Are we the product of our environment? In the case of love for Marylou’s, I think so. Here’s two indisputable tell-tale signs of a Cape Codder (or snowbird even); feeling truly content when you drive over the Bourne Bridge and having tried at least two handfuls of coffee flavors from Marylou’s. The Mexican Mudslinger? Been there. The Mochanilla Nut? Done that. Marylou’s has kitch, consistency and variety with over 100 sweet coffee flavors to try, ice or hot. Plus everything tastes better with whipped cream and all their flavors are suited perfectly for it. Having your first Marylou’s of the summer, in my opinion, is the equivalent of putting your out-of-office message up. You are on Cape time now, BYE, at-least that’s what it tastes like to me.
3. Perks Coffee & Beer Garden - Harwich Port, MA
Perks Coffee & Beer Garden is one of my happy places on Cape and I think a lot of people feel the same because it’s so much more. Here’s a neighborhood-friendly, dog-frienfly coffee shop with a familial vibe by day and lively, irie beach bar by night. Perks serves gourmet coffee and espresso inside and has the best selections of ice cold beers (sourced from coast to coast) outside at the Beer Garden. Love a Grapefruit Sculpin! On many summer nights they have live music by the fire pit. You’ll also find the fire going if it’s a cool, beachy morning. That I know because, fun fact, I would light it when I barista-d there one summer after coming back from traveling and without the energy needed go back into beauty. Somewhere crossing the Indian Ocean I think I lost the the blind ambition to work 70 hour work weeks for 0 equity. Eventually I regained my foolishness but that summer gave me the mental space to process everything that happened while my hands were busy as ever making the frothiest of the frothiest cappuccinos topped with cinnamon and grinding espresso beans. Something I had never done before. I also loved walking to the beach to read after a shift smelling like coffee. It was also the first time in over ten years I got face-to-face interaction with customers instead of selling something behind a computer screen. That taught me how important facetime is to me (personally and professionally) and Perks was a great place to do that because the owners treat their loyals and workers like extended family.
4. Hot Chocolate Sparrow - Orleans, MA
Two words: big marshmallows. While I’m sure there’s plenty of grade schoolers today that would prefer a red velvet frappucino with normal mocha, 1 less raspberry, 1 less vanilla, 1 extra java chips, light base, organic grass fed milk, whip, no drizzle, I think a basic hot chocolate with the big marshmallows is going to make 10 out of 10 kids happy. Adults too! This is why Hot Chocolate Sparrow is the best coffee place to visit when my sister comes to the beach with her children. The Red Balloon Toy store is also just a short walk away as well as a lifesize chess game and a cluster of cedar sheds that turn into artists’ studios in the summer plus there is a complete candy store inside. Like the menu, there is much to experience all around. The signature Sparrow drinks are what they are known for and, actually, are probably not far from the complicated jargon above when you look at the ingredients.
5. Pie in the Sky - Wood’s Hole, MA
Have sky-high expectations if you are planning on taking the Steamship ferry to the Vineyard and stopping at Pie in the Sky in first. You will not be disappointed. In fact, your only problem will be deciding on which desert to try first because you will come back for another - it is written. Pie in the Sky is flat out funky! Once you make your way through the long -but worth it- line, you’re greeted by pastry cases filled to the brim with fresh baked pies (apple! cherry! key-lime! chocolate creams!), brioche, bread puddings then colorful, tie-dye sweatshirts and other merch are strewn in the air. Vegan and gluten-free options. What else? Coffee! Coffee snobs won’t be disappointed to find the freshest coffee for your pour-over Kona, lattes, or regular hot or ice cold brews… the Pro-Bat L12 gas-powered, inhouse coffee roaster piping up in the corner lets you know that. You only have to open your eyes to see quality all around and if those eyes are bigger than your stomach, well, you’re in trouble. And if you open your ears -sure- it’s a lot of noise but if you listen closely you’ll find it’s beach bums, bikers and biologists that fuel this place with colorful conversation.
6. Dunkin Donuts - Harwich, MA
I’m not going to not include Dunkin’s on my list and you shouldn’t count them out either. Sure, it’s the same everywhere you go but here, as I am giving you a caffeinated tour of Cape Cod, I am going to suggest you go to the one on Pleasant Lake in Harwich because they always have the same, great team working who remember every detail about your order. Dunks deserves more credit and now with the peanut butter Girl Scout Cookie flavor, they’re one of my go-to ice coffees. Yes, you can be still be a coffee snob without being a dick in life. A few years back I remember reading some analyst’s prediction that DNKN stock was going to spiral downward because they invested heavily in their app and, uh, I guess she presumed that unless you’re spending over $6 a day for some triple ristretto bianco then time management and efficiency isn’t an integral part of your life. Starbucks shares fell 5% that year while Dunkin’ gained 25% over the same time period. I may or may not have emailed the writer this video to help her better understand why DNKN is wicked awesome. 😛
7. Snowy Owl - Brewster, MA
After going through this list, I’m really not sure I want to do this anymore. Coffee is flavor, energy and boldness -sure- but it’s also like thirty other things! Every shop has something special to offer, especially Snowy Owl in the deep of summer and dead of winter. Don’t be mistaken by the lack of checks here.. Snowy Owl has the coziest environment, best aroma filled to the high beams inside and spilling out into the garden seating, most interesting people watching and ultimately the best cup of drip coffee— black. They freshly roast high-grade beans and make top notch lattes and cappuccinos to enjoy while you sit on a comfy chair inside or move out into Cape Herbs’ garden seating. My favorite beach is just a short walk away so whether it’s snow or summer sunshine, I really enjoy coming here for strong coffee and seeing local entrepreneurship at its finest.
That’s my list! This is usually the part where I would get a refill and go down a rabbit hole of online garbage so it’s to be continued to see what comes next. Hope you get to experience these places some day or feel like you experienced them vicariously through me this morning.
Happy New Year.