Running Out for Coffee

At press time, the entire Motif staff was huddled around a space heater in our difficult-to-heat warehouse space, trying to keep our typing fingers warm. Winter took its sweet time this year, but when it arrived, it arrived with a vengeance. The coffee run is a time-tested office tradition, giving the runner a break from the office and those left behind a necessary jolt of caffeine. In the winter the tradition becomes more necessary, because there’s nothing like wrapping cold fingers around a warm cup. The difference — at least in our office — is that in the spring, the runner is a senior staff member and in the winter, it’s an intern. Sorry guys! Check out some of our favorite places to run to.

Wild Flour

Just a couple of doors down from Garden Grille in Pawtucket, this coffee shop under the same ownership offers the complete opposite of its next door neighbor, Dunkin’ Donuts. Fresh juices, smoothies and carefully crafted teas are on offer, as well as a dazzling array of  fresh baked and raw treats, many of which are gluten-free. And the coffee, oh the coffee. My go-to is the caliente, which is a latte laced with cinnamon and cayenne pepper. If the caffeine doesn’t wake you up, the subtle spice will! While you’re ordering, grab a deeply discounted (and still delicious!) day-old package of treats. And while you’re waiting for your coffee, make sure to sample their daily water infusion. Infused with everything from beets to grapefruit, this place takes spa water to another level.

Seven Stars

A staple to every caffeine-guzzler on Providence’s West End, Seven Stars has two locations within PVD city limits, with remarkably different vibes, and a third just over the border into East Providence. The aforementioned West End location right in the middle of Broadway has a crisp, modern decor with enormous windows and a ton of natural light. Their latte art is on proud display on the wall and their lattes taste even better. A common special is a London Fog, which is basically an Earl Grey Tea Latte. It’s one of those coffee places where those working there are truly baristas in every sense of the word; the quality of the caffeine shows. The Hope St location offers a more lived-in atmosphere with all the same goods. Their extensive bakery line accentuates their coffees nicely, and is one of the best around. I never leave without a cheddar cheese biscuit in my hand or stomach!

Coffee Exchange

Depending on the way you approach Wickenden, this PVD institution is either the perfect place to grab a cup of fuel for strolling or the perfect place to rest your weary feet. It has a laid-back and welcoming atmosphere, and its tables are always filled with people having quiet conversations or working. In the warmer months, its patio provides the perfect vantage point for Wickenden Street people watching. The air inside the shop is scented with the intoxicating aroma of the organic and fair trade beans roasting daily on site. Those beans make a fabulous cup of coffee and years ago, when I had organic, fair trade taste on a Nescafe budget, my boyfriend would try to buy my affections with a pound of Coffee Exchange beans. Worked every time. Coffee Exchange also has an extensive tea menu if you’re into that kind of thing.

New Harvest Coffee & Spirits

Perhaps the best thing about New Harvest if you’re visiting their location in the Providence Arcade is that you don’t have to sneak your flask of whiskey or nip of Bailey’s in to spike your coffee. They’ll do it for you! That location has a fully operational bar and offers whiskey flight tastings, among other things, after noon. Their home base is in the Hope Artiste Village, where you can access a slew of exclusive roasts harvested from small farms, but you can also get many of their blends at markets and other coffee shops (including Seven Stars). The flavors tend to be a bit more bold and complex than your run-of-the-mill cup of joe, so it’s a fantastic option if you’re looking to buy local and brew at home.

Brewed Awakenings

Brewed Awakenings is all over the place, with its newest location on Bald Hill Road in Warwick. This new location is the biggest, and probably seats about 50 or 60 people. It has wi-fi, comfy leather couches, large booths and rooms to rent for business meetings. I love their flavored iced coffees and my go-to is Banana Hazelnut with a shot of coconut milk. Soy and almond milk are also offered here, which is a treat.


Going to Marylou’s is always a sweet treat, and when it comes to the color pink this place is not lacking. You won’t find a male working behind the counter, which is why I refer to this joint as the “hooters of coffee.” Cute girls slinging sweet treats! Their unusual coffee creations are a hit from Massachusetts, and their unique style has slowly trickled into Rhode Island. With a handful of locations scattered around the state, I tend to go to East Greenwich or Johnston stores, which are attached to gas stations.

Now let’s talk what makes Marylou’s a hit. I’ll bet you like Girl Scout cookies. Did you ever drink one? Yes, they did! Creamy chocolatey iced coffee with a seductive amount of mint. Insider tip — get the whipped cream and mint on top. You may be drinking your calories, but it sure as hell is worth it. More of an Oreo fan? The Oreo Cookie Monster is a crowd-pleaser, and whipped cream is a must on this one, too.



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