By Gillian Burdett

It wakes us up in the morning, helps us power through the day and brings us together — “Let’s meet over coffee.” Americans have been avid coffee drinkers since colonial times when King George, unwisely, decided to place a tax on tea (tea that ended up in Boston Harbor!)   Today, sourcing coffee beans, grinding them and brewing fresh coffee has become an art form. Coffee is one of the few affordable luxuries, and when iced, refreshes like no other beverage. If you are ready to move beyond the blends offered by national chains, check out these Connecticut coffee roasters for your next iced coffee experience.

Molten Java
213 Greenwood Ave.
Bethel, CT 06801
(203) 739-0313

In the true tradition of American Coffee houses, Molten Java is more than a place to grab a cup of joe. With a focus on community, the café operates as an art gallery and music venue while serving their house-roasted blends. While enjoying some Wednesday night jazz, you can sip one of a dozen different flavors of iced coffee.  Molten Java is open Mondays and Tuesdays, 6:15 a.m. to 8 p.m., Wednesdays, 6:15 a.m. to 9 p.m., Thursdays and Fridays, 6:15 a.m. to10 p.m. Saturdays, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sundays, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Café Oo La La
2325 Summer St.
Stanford, CT 06905
(203) 353-3300

This little European-style bistro is tucked in with the shops at the Ridgeway Shopping Center. In addition to its clean menu of fresh-baked bread, homemade soups and locally sourced foods, Oo La La has a comprehensive coffee and espresso menu, everything from a plain, organic brew to mint chocolate chip mocha. All blends are available hot or cold. The shop is open Mondays through Fridays, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

J. René Coffee Roasters
320 Park Road
West Hartford, CT 06119
(860) 461-7858

Coffee connoisseurs agree, this is the best coffee in Hartford. Here, it is more than a beverage; it is a cultural experience. J. René has mastered the science and art of roasting coffee beans, beginning with sourcing the right beans and building relationships with growers. The Iced coffee is cold brewed for a smoother taste. J. René calls itself “An artisanal coffee gathering place,” encouraging the social aspect of meeting over a cup of coffee. The shop is open Mondays through Thursdays, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Fridays, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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Daybreak Coffee Roasters
2377 Main St.
Glastonbury, CT 06033

This cheerful little shop is across the street from Glastonbury’s Center Green with its fanciful water fountain and offers outdoor seating during the warmer months. In addition to wide variety of coffee flavors (we like the crème brule), Daybreak has a delicious selection of fresh-baked goods and a lite-fare menu. The shop is open Mondays through Fridays, 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Note: Daybreak Coffee Roasters is closed on Sundays during July and August.

Ashlawn Farm Coffee
455 Boston Post Road
Old Saybrook, CT 06475
(860) 339-5663
www.farmcoffee.comIf you are down by the shore, or just passing through on the train, Ashlawn Farm is the place to stop for an iced coffee. Ashlawn searches the globe for the best Arabica beans and roasts them on their farm. The Old Saybrook café, right next to the Amtrak station, has a charming country store atmosphere and sells amazing fresh baked goods if you need a treat to go with your drink. The café is open Mondays through Fridays, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturdays, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.Related: Best Donuts In Connecticut