17 Kellogg Ave
Amherst, MA 01002
I don’t know about many other independent coffee houses in Amherst, and as far as I’m concerned, I don’t need to know. I’ve known about Rao’s ever since I was a kid, and when I became old enough to appreciate it, I went there as often as I could. They have changed so much since the beginning, when their shop was smaller, and they didn’t have a private roasting house in Hadley.
They roast their own beans, and distribute them regionally, which is so nice, but the experience is home in Amherst center. They have a rustic decor inside their shop that smells like good coffee, and the buzz of machinery behind the counter blends perfectly with the buzz of customers’ eclectic conversation. Their espresso drinks are great. When I was in my “cafe mocha” phase, I would only buy them there.
You’re buying quality for a little extra per cup compared to mainstream shops, but believe me it’s worth it. You’re getting a one-of-a-kind product and experience here. Don’t feel intimidated by the liberal crowd that hangs out in there. You’re there for good coffee, or else you’d go somewhere else.
Hang out outside when the weather is warm, and feel like a part of the town.