By Anessa Conner
I love coffee. Every morning I drag myself out of bed and stumble to the coffee pot and pour myself a nice extra tall mug of strong black coffee. It wakes me up. More days then not, I follow my morning coffee with an afternoon sweet iced coffee. It is like a dessert or a treat after a long day. Coffee is also a fantastic excuse to socialize with my friends. We frequently visit my favorite cafes to enjoy time together and get work done in a relaxing calm environment.
Fortunately, there are 21 results when you search “coffee shops in Burlington, Vermont” into Google. More than half of these cafes are in the downtown area. This makes Burlington a wonderful place to be a coffee enthusiast.
So what better assignment than to taste test lattes at three of Church Street’s popular cafes: New Moon, Muddy Waters, and Uncommon Grounds.
The Register tried a simple latte from each shop. We looked for rich coffee flavor, creamy texture and original presentation. The Register rated each establishment overall on the its latte, the price, and the overall vibe. Each category was rated 1 to 10 with a total of 30 points.
Location: 184 Main St.
Total points: 22
Entering Muddy Waters is like ducking into a hobbit home. Shuffling in from the cold, loud and busy Main Street, a bell marked our arrival when we swing open heavy wood door. Immediately we were greeted by warmth and wafting in the air were smells of rich coffees and sweet baked goods. If you are claustrophobic like us, you might find the low ceilings, dark wood, and tightness of the tables anxiety producing but most guests seemed at ease. To order, we descended to the counter in the back of the store, where a blackboard menu hovers above. Muddy Waters offers three different kinds of coffee on tap as well as an extensive selection of specialty drinks. The cafe also sports its fresh snacks and original organic coffee and tea blends. Visitors leave messages or artwork on the bathroom door, reinforcing the relaxed, local vibe. Some messages are political, others are just for fun. The latte, $3.95, was creamy, semi-sweet, earthy and served in a plain white mug and saucer. Sadly, the proportion of milk to espresso was off and we didn’t get much of a buzz. Yet, the people that fill Muddy Waters gave the place a sense of love and comradery. And the greenery made us feel like we were in a luxurious jungle cove.
New Moon Cafe –
Location: 150 Cherry St
Total points: 25/30
The motto Sip. Savor. Stay. is printed on the shirts of the baristas of New Moon Cafe. New Moon offers a full lunch menu of salads, soups, baked goods, and beverages. The building is divided front and back with two distinct atmospheres. When we first entered the cafe, we were met by a space that conveyed an old English sitting room with comfy lounge chairs, couches, and a shimmering chandelier hanging in the middle. A fireplace, lined with white painted bricks warms up the giant rooms. Once we ordered our latte from the counter in the center, we moved to the back room. There we found a large industrial setting with rows of tables and chairs that give off more of a restaurant feel. We loved the variety of spaces within the cafe. The choice of a latte is located high up on the giant menu, is a far cry from Muddy Waters’ foamy sweet beverage. New Moon’s latte is more bitter and fruity which is weird because those are two very different flavors! The latte has a stronger espresso taste, and that classic milky, latte texture we love. The price of this latte for the size was disproportionate, the latte was small for the $4.00.
Uncommon Grounds –
Location: 42 Church St
Total points: 23
As well as selling specialty drinks, Uncommon Grounds, a family owned cafe, also roasts eleven different kinds of coffee with different acidity strengths, flavors, and origins. These coffees can be bought as whole beans or made and served in the cafe. Uncommon Grounds is a long narrow cafe. A wide bench extends the length of the cafe with small tables. Only three people can fit at one of the tables; it is a place for individuals and small groups. The cafe also serves as an art gallery. Behind the counter on the other side is a wall stacked with espresso machines and bulk coffee dispensers. Uncommon Grounds’ latte, $3.25, is the most unique in presentation. The barista’s clearly know a good latte is a work of art. The crema cap is swirled with coffee. It seamlessly blends with the espresso.