Frontside Coffee Roasters

An espresso, made with a naturally-processed Ethiopia Sidamo, and served in a classic blue cup at Frontside Coffee Roasters.Today’s Coffee Spot was a chance discovery that Amanda and I made following a short hike at Diana’s Baths, a beauty spot in the White Mountains in New Hampshire. Amanda spotted Frontside Coffee Roasters as we drove through North Conway on our way there, so we decided to call in on our way back, expecting nothing more than somewhere warm to have a late lunch. Instead we found a wonderful coffee shop, roasting and serving some exceptional single-origin coffees.

Frontside has been in its current location on White Mountain Highway, the main drag through North Conway, for ten years, although it’s been in existence in one form or another for over twenty. Occupying a large, corner plot, there’s a small parking lot at the back (behind which is the roastery) while there’s a large outdoor seating area off to the right with plenty more seating inside.

All the coffee is roasted in-house with two options on espresso (one blend, one single-origin), another blend on batch brew, plus two single-origins on pour-over. Naturally, all the beans are available to buy in retail bags. If you’re hungry, Frontside offers a selection of breakfast biscuits, a range of bagels and plenty of cake.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • The front side of Frontside Coffee Roasters in North Conway, New Hampshire.
  • There's a large and comprehensive menu out here, by the side of the road on your right...
  • ... while to your left are a pair of tables on the broad pavement (sidewalk). However...
  • ... that's just the start of it. To the right is a large, fenced-off patio with lots more seating.
  • It starts at the front, on the right of Frontside, then goes around the corner...
  • ... and all the way down the side. The tables are mostly square, two- or four-person...
  • ... but right at the back is this neat couch and armchair.
  • You'll also find this fellow at the back of the patio, but I don't know who he is.
  • If you keep going, you reach the parking lot (accessible from Kearsarge Road).
  • The roastery is in a separate building at the back of the parking lot. Let's take a peek.
  • This is the view through the window. Nice roaster!
  • The view from the parking lot, where a gate leads into the patio.
  • Just in case anyone else was thinking of parking there.
  • The view from the back of the patio.
  • And here's the view from in front of the store, looking across White Mountain Highway.
  • And back to the front of Frontside. There is a door on this side, but it's exit only.
  • Instead you need to go in through the double doors in the middle.
  • Nice flag, by the way.
  • The view from just inside the door, where a broad, clear path leads to the counter.
  • There's a seating area to the left, cleverly partitioned off behind these retail shelves.
  • The seating area, seen from the back.
  • There's a three-person window-bar right at the front...
  • ... a pair of four-person tables against the wall on the left...
  • ... and a pair of two-person tables against the retail shelves on the right.
  • And finally, in the corner at the back, a pair of low armchairs.
  • The seating area, viewed from the other side of Frontside where, if you turn around...
  • ... you'll find another seating area. This one is at the front and is a bit smaller.
  • This is pretty much the full extent, plus a two-person table out of shot to the right.
  • It's to the right of the door, after which comes this two- and four-person table...
  • ... then this pair of sofas in the corner, facing each other across a coffee table.
  • Although there is plenty of natural light from the windows, I was taken by the lights.
  • My new favourite view...
  • ... although this is probably my favourite light.
  • There are pictures on the walls, including these of coffee processing...
  • ... along with the famous coffee taster's flavour wheel.
  • And there's a skateboard.
  • To business. You order at the counter, where you'll find the menu above.
  • There's also a fridge off to one side with soft drinks, plus there's beer next to it.
  • There's also beer on tap.
  • On the left-hand end of the counter (by the kitchen) is the cake selection...
  • .... with the choice of bagels on the bottom shelf.
  • You can also have the soup of the day.
  • The coffee part of the operation is to the right, with the filter coffee at the back...
  • ... and espresso at the front. The choice of beans is displayed...
  • ... above the machine. Note that the Ethiopian Sidamo on pour-over during our visit...
  • ... was also one of the two espresso choices. There's plenty of detail about the beans too.
  • You can see the beans in the hoppers, the Ethiopian to the left, with a much lighter roast.
  • This wasn't mine, by the way, but it looked so pretty in the Frontside cup...
  • ... that I had to take a photo. Or two.
  • This is what we had, bagels and coffee for Amanda and me.
  • I had the avocado bagel...
  • ... while Amanda had the Lox sandwich.
  • We both decided on the Ethiopian Sidamo, Amanda having hers as a pour-over...
  • ... while I'll leave you with my espresso in a classic blue cup.
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Frontside Coffee Roasters is on the corner with Kearsarge Road, just across White Mountain Highway from the Conway Scenic Railroad. My first inkling that we were onto something special came when I spotted the roastery behind the parking lot. Peeking through the window, it just had that look about it.

Frontside occupies a standalone, single-storey building that was probably once two units. To the right, a large, fenced-off outdoor seating area extends from the front of Fireside to the pavement, wrapping around the right-hand side to provides access to the parking lot. In all, there are about a dozen tables, each seating between two and four people. To the left, a wide path leads to the double doors in the middle of Frontside, while to the left of that, another pair of tables stand on the broad pavement.

Frontside is similarly split inside. You enter via a large, glass-walled foyer into the left-hand part. This has retail shelves, the counter and most of the seating, the remainder in a smaller section to the right, which has a separate door to the outdoor seating area. Clever use of standalone retail shelving and other furnishings create distinct seating areas, separating customers from those ordering at the counter, no doubt a response to COVID-19. This results in a clear path from the doors to the enclosed counter at the back, where you order and collect your food (kitchen to the left) and drinks (right-hand side of the counter).

The first seating area is on the left, behind two tall, standalone retail units, packed with merchandising and retail bags of coffee. A three-person window-bar runs the full width of the window at the front, while two four-person tables line the left-hand wall, with a pair of two-person tables against the retail shelves. Finally, in the back, left-hand corner, two low armchairs share a small coffee table.

The second, smaller seating area is to the right, occupying the front half of the shop. There’s a two-person table on the left, next to the door, with a two- and four-person table against a box seat that runs under the window at the front. Finally, a pair of sofas face each other across a low coffee table in back, right-hand corner.

Frontside offers pre-made breakfast sandwiches on (American) biscuits, with various combinations of egg, cheese, bacon and sausage as fillings. Then there are the bagels, with four types on offer, which can be had toasted with a range of toppings, or a variety of fillings. Finally, there’s the soup of the day, plus, of course, plenty of cakes and pastries.

Frontside has a variety of drinks, including draft beer, smoothies, iced tea, flavoured lattes and cold brew, although the real draw is the (hot) coffee. During our visit, the Workin’ Mans’ Spro was on espresso, along with a naturally-processed Ethiopia Sidamo. This was also on pour-over through the V60, along with a Costa Rica Tarrazu, while the Frontside Blend was on batch brew.

I love comparing the same coffee through different preparation methods, so when Amanda ordered the Ethiopia Sidamo as a pour-over, I had it as an espresso. This turned out to a well-rounded, complex shot with plenty of body, particularly for a such light roast, while the pour-over had the same rich complexity (Amanda really liked it, by the way).

We each had a bagel, the Lox for Amanda (smoked salmon, cream cheese) and avocado for me, which was really good, but was a little heavy on the pepper, leaving my mouth tingling afterwards and leaving me relieved that I’d drunk my espresso first!

December 2021: Frontside Coffee Roasters was a runner-up for the 2021 Most Unlikely Place to Find a Coffee Spot Award.

Monday 06:30 – 17:00 Roaster Frontside Coffee Roasters (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 06:30 – 17:00 Seating Tables, Window-bar; Tables (outside)
Wednesday 06:30 – 17:00 Food Breakfast Biscuits, Bagels, Cake
Thursday 06:30 – 17:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 06:30 – 17:00 Payment Cards + Cash
Saturday 06:30 – 17:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 06:30 – 17:00 Power Yes
Chain No Visits 28th November 2021

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3 thoughts on “Frontside Coffee Roasters

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