Seacoast Coffee Shops that are Making a Difference


It’s fall! Leaves are changing, the kids are back in school, football season is here (Go Pats!), and cozy cups of hot coffee are back, yay! My favorite part about fall is the warm cups of coffee and the cozy, snuggly feeling that goes with them. Raise your hand if you’re with me!? After a summer filled with iced coffee, a warm cup is a welcome change. Luckily my job lends itself to many, many, cups of coffee. Although my favorite are the Seacoast area coffee shops (it’s home ya know?), I also frequent coffee shops from Portland, ME, and all the way to the North Shore of Massachusetts. Coffee shops are where I feel most at home, and where I get most of my work done. 

In the U.S., 64% of adults drink at least one cup of coffee a day. That’s a lot of coffee! What if my coffee made a difference? For me, coffee is a great place to start because it is a big line item in our budget! In line with the current trend of becoming a more conscious consumer, I’ve begun frequenting some Seacoast coffee shops that are aiming to make difference. Check them out and see what a difference these folks are making in not only the Seacoast, but globally!

My first homemade latte, yum!
one of many cups of coffee I’ve had while abroad

The Freedom Cafe, Durham, NH

“Ending human trafficking one ethically sourced cup at a time.” This Seacoast coffee shop serves up specialty (delicious) coffee and chocolate, and I’m a HUGE fan. My favorite fall drink is the Latte Miel, a sweet honey latte with the smoothest espresso around. I especially like that its baby and kid friendly, its like sitting in my living room! Located just off campus from UNH, staffed primarily by volunteers, this little shop is changing the world. Executive director, Bryan Bessette is a Durham resident and engages both the community and the university in this mission for social justice. He poses the questions, “What if we could harness the $17,000 that Americans spend each year for good?” And it really got me thinking. The cafe is a non-profit, funding different projects that are working toward seeing the end of human trafficking. 

the Greek Frappe from the Freedom Cafe, it’s delicious!
The Freedom Cafe’s Executive Director, Bryan, speaking at UNH on sustainability in business. 

Potter’s House Cafe & Bakery, Rochester, NH

“Goodies for goodness sake.” In partnership with Camp CARD NE (Center for Autism and Related Disabilities New England), Potter’s House provides on the job training for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders. The first time I walked in here I got goosebumps. I imagined my son, who has Down syndrome, working behind the counter someday at a place like this. It opened my eyes a possibility of significant, meaningful employment for him. They are providing good employment opportunities for adults who would likely be paid below minimum wage, if anything, elsewhere. There are some other shops nationally providing similar opportunities, like Bitty & Beau’s. The coffee here is good, and the bakery items are to die for, they are just delicious! Another kid and baby friendly place, when you walk in the space is open and the decor is simple, leaving less to be grabbed by little toddler hands. 

Seacoast Coffee shop
enjoying a cuppa with the hubby for a mini-date at Potter’s House

Flight Coffee Co., Dover & Bedford, NH

“East Coast Specialty Coffees.” These people know coffee. I would venture to say they are the nerds of coffee. The walls of this Seacoast cafe are covered in the tasting notes, the rainbow of flavors experienced in coffee. They know all the flavor notes, the altitude at which the coffee was grown, the hands that grew and loved the coffee before its roasted. Claudia, founder and Flight’s very own roaster, writes passionately about the work that she is doing. In attempting to give you the best cup of coffee, she is creating sustainable, transparent, and deep, partnerships with the coffee growers. Claudia knows the stories of the coffee she is roasting, this is incredible work in a sector that is riddled with slavery and harsh environmental impacts. 

Their coffee is GOOD. If you have any questions about how to brew your coffee correctly, or which grind goes with which method. These are your people. Last month they even got their coffee recognized as 100% organic. A little less kid friendly, but great for a date night! Board games are abundant and live music isn’t a rare occurrence. 

Teatotaller, Somersworth, NH

Breakfast. All. Day. Breakfast food happens to be my favorite. I mean, an egg sandwich is a real headturner for me. This Seacoast coffee shop does all the cooking in-house and from local sources. Also, let’s talk specialty teas. I just learned about a tea that tastes like a lollipop but carries no extra sugar, and no caffeine, its like magic in a cup (Check out the “NeoPop” Fruit Punch Rooibos)! If tea isn’t your thing, don’t worry, their coffee game is strong too. 

But how are they making a difference? Teatotaller is working hard to find ways to be the most inclusive environment. They recently made HuffPost for its provocative billboard, which is totally on theme with their mission. They also host things like “People With Babies” a parents group for everyone, Free Coffee Tuesdays (no strings attached), and an LGBTQ Rights at the Supreme Court panel. You can always check out The Haps on their website, they are constantly updating their calendar with new ways their fostering community change. 

Teatotaller SomersworthWant to make a difference with your dollar? Consider these alternative ways to spend your money to reduce your environmental impact, support local honey businesses, or even join a CSA. Interested in learning about how other coffee shops in the U.S. are making a difference, check out this blog post from The Good Trade

What is your favorite Seacoast coffee shop?

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I’m a mama from (and currently living in) Newmarket, NH. Aside from a short stint in Raleigh, NC, post-college for an internship at a genetic testing lab, and 4 years at the University of Connecticut, I’ve spent my whole life in NH. I have my Bachelors of Science in Diagnostic Genetics and a certificate in college ministry. Now I get to work with college students through InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at the University of New Hampshire. My husband, Alex and I, have a bio son, Xander who is 18-months old, and a little girl on the way. I'm an enneagram 8, and I'm always on a mission to save the world, but my hubby graciously reigns me in. Currently trying to change the world for vulnerable children, hoping to see all children thrive and be loved; foster care, disability advocacy and awareness are close to my heart.