This time last week I flew into Boston, then, the following day, drove up to Portland (Maine). The coastal area between the two cities is beautiful, full of historic towns and cities, including the likes of Newburyport and Portsmouth. What it lacks, however, is much in the way of speciality coffee. However, I’m indebted to Bex (of Double Skinny Macchiato fame) for the heads up about today’s Coffee Spot, Little Wolf Coffee, in the historic (New England) town of Ipswich.
Little Wolf is a roastery and coffee shop, located in an old car dealership, just north of the town centre. There’s a separate seating area off to one side, or you can sit in the main area with the counter, admiring the roastery at the back, where the 12kg Probat, which is in action on Monday and Wednesday each week, takes pride of place.
Little Wolf roasts a handful of seasonal single-origins, with a new coffee roughly once a month. The coffee shop has a simple menu, with one option on espresso and another on batch brew. These change every other day on average, batch brew changing more frequently than espresso. If you’re hungry, there’s a small selection of cakes/pasties.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
The irony’s not lost on me that while I haven’t managed to visit Ipswich, Suffolk, here I am writing about speciality coffee in Ipswich, Massachusetts. Little Wolf Coffee, which celebrates its third birthday this month, is in the High Street Business Park, which is home to a handful of businesses. Don’t be fooled by the “High Street” though: Little Wolf is on the highway, about a mile north of Ipswich’s historic centre.
The business park, on the right-hand side as you head out of town, was once a car dealership, with Little Wolf occupying the prime spot on the right, next to the road, in what was the old admin offices and car showroom. There’s plenty of parking, or you can catch the train (Ipswich is on the commuter line out of Boston’s North Station), where it’s a 25-minute walk from the station.
From the parking lot, the offices, now converted to a lovely sitting room, are on the right, while to the left, a pair of massive, glazed, roll-up garage doors give access to main roastery/coffee bar section during the warm weather (although they’re kept shut in August due to flies from the local salt marshes). Entering through the single door on the right, a long, thin room stretches out ahead of you. The right-hand wall is lined with windows, while towards the far end of the left-hand wall, an open doorway leads into the middle of the roastery/coffee bar.
There’s a mix of seating along the left- and right-hand walls, including a sofa, two armchairs across a coffee table and a pair of round tables, with two or three conventional chairs. These flank the doorway through to the roastery/coffee bar, where you’ll find more seating.
The roastery/coffee bar is a bright, open space with plenty of light from the two roll-up doors at the front and a series of smaller, thin windows high up on the back wall. At the back is the roastery, with the actual roaster, a 12kg Probat, on the left. This is separated from the front by a long, C-shaped seating area, a chest-high wooden bench with five small, round coffee tables, while the counter, an L-shaped affair, is on the left.
The front of the counter, which faces the front, is home to a pair of stools and a pair of high-chairs, while opposite them, in front of the left-hand roll-up door, is a long, narrow, three-person table which acts as a window-bar. Meanwhile, the rest of the counter faces into the main room, where you’ll find the till, cake selection and a two-group Synesso espresso machine. Finally, opposite the counter, along the right-hand wall, is a large retail section, which includes plenty of Little Wolf branded merchandising and, naturally, bags of retail coffee.
During my visit, Little Wolf was serving a pair of Colombian single-origins, La Conchita on batch and La Virgen on espresso. Amanda tried this in a cappuccino, while I had a straight espresso. On its own, it was a lovely, floral coffee, while in milk, it was really sweet and smooth. As much as you come for the (excellent) coffee, the other draw is Chris, head roaster, barista, dishwasher and owner (along with other half, Melissa), who you’ll find behind the counter, happy to chat away all day long.
|125a HIGH STREET • IPSWICH • MA 01938 • USA|
|Monday||07:00 – 15:00||Roaster||Little Wolf (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||07:00 – 15:00||Seating||Tables, Sofas, Comfy Chairs, Counter, Bar|
|Wednesday||07:00 – 15:00||Food||Cakes|
|Thursday||07:00 – 15:00||Service||Counter|
|Friday||07:00 – 15:00||Cards||Yes|
|Saturday||08:00 – 16:00||Wifi||No|
|Sunday||CLOSED||Power||Yes (sitting room)|
|Chain||No||Visits||2nd August 2019|
For more on Little Wolf Coffee, check out Bex’s detailed report from two years ago. You can also see what’s changed over that’s time. You can also read up on Bex’s time in the area in her piece on Cape Anne and the North Shore.
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