Tag Archives: Rhode Island

A Taste of Rhode Island: Coffee Milk and Coffee Syrup

coffee syrup

Coffee syrup spotted in the wild (Crate and Barrel)

When I recently visited a Chicagoland Crate and Barrel, I was very surprised to see something that I didn’t think existed outside of Rhode Island: Coffee syrup (see context photo above). Namely, this was Dave’s Coffee Syrup, a local brand we encountered in Providence. Coffee syrup is basically coffee concentrate mixed with sweetener. Much like chocolate syrup, coffee syrup can be added to pretty much anything, but it is most popularly mixed with milk to create…wait for it… Coffee Milk! Yes, this drink is exactly what you think it would be. Coffee Milk, aside from being tasty, is in fact the state drink of Rhode Island, as of 1993. One of the most popular coffee syrup brands is Autocrat, keeping Rhode Islanders in coffee milk for decades, though others like Dave’s are starting to carve out a niche for the artisanal coffee syrup market. Visit quahog.org if you are looking for a definitive history of coffee syrup and milk, including its Italian-American origins.

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The Unique Foods of Rhode Island

We are now in Providence, Rhode Island. There seem to be a ton of Rhode Island foods that have somehow not made it past the state’s borders and we are excited to try them, especially the coffee milk (milk with special coffee syrup – see below). There are also some Rhode Island linguistic difference that have perplexed us – including calling a milkshake a “Cabinet.” People from Rhode Island are proud of their culinary heritage, and The New York Times has a piece about the big flavors of this little state.

Coffee Syrup - a key component of a Rhode Island Coffee Milk

Coffee Syrup – a key component of a Rhode Island Coffee Milk by spablab

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