Dave’s Coffee

The words "Dave's Coffee" in red on a white wall.Since I’m going to be back in Providence later on this week, I thought I really ought to publish the last of the places I visited during my trip to Providence last summer. Dave’s Coffee roasts all its own coffee, which it sells throughout Rhode Island and beyond, as well as serving in its two cafes. My friend Allison, who was responsible for inviting me down to Providence in the first place, took me to visit Dave’s on Main Street, Providence, which was the first stop on a mini-tour which included the venerable Coffee Exchange and The Shop.

Dave’s roasts a signature espresso blend, the interestingly-name “Blind Pig”, as well as a decaf, both of which are available through the bright orange Slayer espresso machine. Dave’s has the obligatory bulk brew (the Black Crow blend) as well as featuring two single-origins on pour-over, available through Chemex, Aeropress, Clever Dripper and French Press, although the Chemex is most heavily featured and hence most often requested. Plus, if you ask nicely, the staff will open up whatever single-origins they have in stock and make you a cup. If you’re feeling peckish, Dave’s also has a small, but interesting, selection of cake.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Dave's Coffee, on Main Street, Providence.
  • It has one of the stranger shapes for a coffee shop that I've seen in a while...
  • ... as well as an interesting A-board. Artistic on one side...
  • ... witty on the other.
  • Stepping inside and the view from just to the right of the door...
  • ... and the view from the far end of the counter.
  • As you come in, there's seating to the left  of you...
  • ... and seating to the right, all in the form of window bars.
  • There's more seating around the corner, with this communal table...
  • ... with this interesting nook behind it.
  • A view from the nook, back towards the front of the store.
  • There's plenty of natural light at the front, and lots of spotlights at the back.
  • The walls at the back are wood-clad...
  • ... and put to good use as retail shelving...
  • ... selling lots of Dave's goodies.
  • A roaster as well as a cafe, there are naturally lots of beans on sale.
  • The blends have interesting names... Blind Pig for espresso, Black Crow for filter.
  • Meanwhile the single-origins are more conventional.
  • There's a lot of single-origins available....
  • ... as well as copious amounts of coffee syrups.
  • The counter, like the store, is a two-part affair.
  • The cakes are in the middle...
  • ... with the till and the brew bar to the right...
  • ... and the espresso machine to the left.
  • Dave's got a Slayer you know...
  • ... seen here hard at work.
  • Interesting coffee menu.
  • I went for a cortado, largely because it was on the menu...
  • ... while my friend Allison had a mocha.
  • In case we forget where we are...
  • The milk in my cortado held the pattern all the way to the bottom of the glass. Impressive.
  • There's also pour-over...
  • ... with a variety of methods on offer...
  • ... although the Chemex takes centre stage.
  • The grinders and bulk-brewer for the filter are on the work surface behind the counter.
  • Dave's was featuring a Papua New Guinea while I was there, and this one, from Ethiopia.
  • The Chemex starts with a bloom...
  • ... and then it's a case of constantly topping up with small quantities of water...
  • ... before letting it filter through.
  • Top up...
  • ... filter...
  • ... repeat.
  • We're almost done now...
  • ... just one more top-up...
  • ... and then we let the last of the water filter through.
  • Now for the pour.
  • Steady does it....
  • ... and done! One cup of filter  coffee.
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Dave’s Coffee occupies an interesting spot on Providence’s sharply-sloping South Main Street. On the corner with the pleasingly-named Williams Street, it has a large triangular cut-out on the Main Street side, leaving a small, square window on the left-hand end, followed by a long, main window sloping away at about 30⁰ to the street. This does, at least, create a small, triangular outside area which is undercover, providing some shelter for the solitary bench.

The door is half-way down the main window, and, stepping inside, you find that the counter mirrors this strange arrangement, angled so that it runs parallel to the window. This gives the interior an even weirder shape than you might have thought, effectively leaving Dave’s shaped like a tick, the long stroke running back from Main Street.

As you come in, the counter is opposite you, cake almost directly ahead. To your left and right, window-bars provide the initial seating options, with four seats to the right, and six more to the left. Ahead of you, on the right, Dave’s extends backwards, running away from Main Street. The counter is on the left, parallel to the right-hand wall, while there is seating in for the form of a long, communal table running down the centre. At the end of the counter, there’s a small, enclosed kitchen/storeroom area, while the seating continues with a cosy nook, accessible up a couple of steps. The seating here is in the form of low wooden benches against the remaining three walls, with small, moveable coffee tables. Given the choice, I’d sit back here every time.

Although Dave’s is on a corner, there are no windows in the right-hand wall which runs along Williams Street. So while the front of the store has plenty of natural light from the windows, at the back it would be gloomy without the numerous spotlights. However, it’s quite cosy back here, particularly with the wooden-cladding on the walls, providing a natural counterpart to the slightly garish orange colour scheme of Dave’s.

Despite the strange layout, Dave’s is quite spacious, with plenty of room to order and, with the inevitable counter service, wait for your coffee. The coffee-making side of things is also on display, the counter being a similarly large, uncluttered affair. The side facing the window is dedicate to espresso, with a gorgeous Slayer Espresso machine and its two grinder (house-blend and decaf) occupying the bulk of the space. On the other side, opposite the counter, is the brew bar, where you can stand and watch your Chemex being made.

I did consider trying a Chemex of one of the single-origins, finding the Papua New Guinea particularly temping. However, it was the first coffee of the day and when I’m out, I generally opt for something with milk, so went for a cortado. This, as it turned out, was an excellent choice. Dave’s Blind Pig espresso blend goes very well with milk, the two combining to form a sweet, smooth, harmonious whole. The milk was also expertly steamed, holding its pattern all the way to the bottom of the glass.

www.davescoffeestore.com +1 401-322-0006
Monday 07:00 – 19:00 Roaster Dave’s Coffee Co (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 07:00 – 19:00 Seating Window-bars, Tables, Benches, Bench (outside)
Wednesday 07:00 – 19:00 Food Cake
Thursday 07:00 – 19:00 Service Counter
Friday 07:00 – 19:00 Cards Mastercard, Visa
Saturday 07:00 – 19:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 07:00 – 19:00 Power No
Chain Local Visits 2nd June 2015

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6 thoughts on “Dave’s Coffee

  1. Pingback: Coffee Exchange | Brian's Coffee Spot

  2. Re: your comments on layout, windows, door corner etc. The building was built, and then occupied by several successive tenants as are most retail spaces in cities. The elements you identify are related to the building’s design predating a coffee shop. Only big box store retailers arrive, bull doze and erect a retail strategy formula. Thank God the Dave’s are open to what you call”strangeness”

    • I wholeheartedly agree. I love strangeness!

      Some of my favourite coffee shops are those with interesting shapes and layouts and it fascinates me to see what coffee shops owners do with the spaces they inherit.


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