Best Cafes of Boston

Bananarama

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There's a Blackbird in the South End and Fenway as well.

Also don't see it mentioned yet, but Blunch near the Boston Medical Center makes great sandwiches, chocolate chip cookies, and churros...
 
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Arlington

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[Moderator Note: I've edited all of these posts to put Proper Names in Bold. I think it makes the whole thing more easy to read/skim/use. If you agree, maybe edit your post to add a link to the place? If you disagree, report me to management.]
 
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shmessy

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THANK YOU EVERYONE! Please keep the suggestions coming.

Next up: where can I find good doughnuts? I'm talking super hipster a r t i s a n a l things that cost $5 and are 500 calories a pop. If anyone knows the Doughnut Plant in NYC, that's what I'm thinking of. My girlfriend and I tried Kane's Donuts last year, got 4 different ones, and unfortunately I found them all to be quite underwhelming.

This is what I crave

First coffee, now donuts? I'm feeling mischievous and was going to paraphrase Statler's earlier post, but ugh.....Dunkin' is the Wonderbread of donuts and I couldn't bring myself to do it. But their coffee IS decent.
 

Java King

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Union Square Donuts in Time Out Market in the Fenway

I haven't been there since before COVID, but in general, the Time Out Market had a lot of wonderful food options. I'm sad the Craigie Burger joint didn't make it.
 

Blackbird

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THANK YOU EVERYONE! Please keep the suggestions coming.

Next up: where can I find good doughnuts?
If you're every in Newburyport, Changing Tides has some very good donuts AND coffee! And while they don't fit the mold of hipster or artisanal, I always really liked Mike's Donuts on Mission Hill.

Also what kind of weirdo spells it "doughnut"?
 

chrisbrat

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3 Little Figs, Vinal Bakery, Winter Hill Brewing, and Bloc Cafe (all Somerville) are go-tos.
 

#bancars

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Also........Kohi Coffee in Boston Landing & Provincetown is great.
The Boston Landing location (at least pre-pandemic, haven't been since) also never seemed too busy, which was nice.
 
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#bancars

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OK so this post feels tailor-made for me since I just finished 3 years in grad school in Boston and spent most of my waking weekend hours studying in coffee shops and cafes!

STUFF ALREADY MENTIONED

I second Gracenote, Kohi, and Render for their coffee. Curio also has good coffee and waffles!

Pavement is a step down, but a few of their cafes are fantastic places to hang out and work/people watch--in particular their Fenway Bolyston St location and their roastery in Lower Allston on Western Ave.

BEST COFFEE

Ogawa Coffee
on Milk St is the best coffee in the city (for my money). It's definitely on the pricier side but everything there is stellar, including some award-winning latte art.

Broadsheet Coffee Roasters on Kirkland has the best coffee in Cambridge, imo. Also a beautiful interior space.

George Howell is also excellent, of course.

OTHER GREAT SPOTS NOT YET MENTIONED IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER (Boston/Cambridge/Somerville):

Cafe Amalfi,
Battery Wharf, North End. Beautiful location with some good outdoor seating. Coffee/offerings are ok, nothing spectacular.
Fuel America, Chestnut Hill Ave, Brighton. Spacious and with a great nitro cold brew. Lots of students though.
Cafenation, Washington St, Brighton Center. Small and cozy. Good tea selections.
4A Coffee, Harvard St, Brookline/Coolidge Corner. Very small, but great coffee. Owned / operated by an immigrant family from Kazahkstan (I think).
Atomic Bean Cafe, Mass Ave, Cambridge. Funky interior and you can feel the Red Line rumble underneath. Sadly I think closed for now.
Simon's Coffee Shop, Mass Ave, Cambridge. Another small space with a cool vibe.
Charlestown Tea & Treats, Main St, Charlestown. Very small, very cute, family run, good pastries and sweet stuff.
Caffe Bene, Mass Ave, South End. Right by Symphony stop. Big space, some interesting drink selections. Good people watching and study space.
Farmer's Horse Coffee, Mass Ave, South End. Close to Caffe Bene and Render. Small space, very very cozy. Nice for a date or intimate conversation.
Cuppacoffee, Traveler St, South End. Australian-themed. Good study spot.
1369 Coffee, Inman Square. A staple. Good tea selection. Nice with the windows open in the summer.
Revival Cafe, Alewife, Cambridge. Easy transit access via Alewife and bike access via several nearby trails. Tucked in a suburban office park, but a nice, spacious place to get some early morning weekend studying done.
Sip Cafe, Post Office Square. Great place to meet with colleagues, friends, or new acquaintances outside in the summer.

Late(r) night stuff -- Thinking Cup on the Common and Jaho Coffee in Chinatown.

A LITTLE FURTHER OUT OF THE WAY:

Coffee Break Cafe,
Milton. Right by the Central Ave Mattapan Trolley stop. Cute hole in the wall.
Kickstand Cafe, Arlington. Right off the Minuteman Bikeway so very easy to bike to! If you like people watching, this place is incredible with all the people using the Minuteman. Spacious and lots of great baked goods!

RIP

Great Barrington Coffee Co
in Fort Point was a favorite study spot. I'll miss you eternally :(
 

kz1000ps

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^^ My friend who's a total food and coffee snob recommended George Howell and Broadsheet as well, so I'm more than inclined to trust your opinion; definitely going to make it a point to get to Ogawa next time I'm downtown. Also I lived in Brighton for 5+ years and Cafenation was a home away from home... loads of memories there.

You went WAY above and beyond with this... thanks so much :coffee: :coffee: :coffee:
 
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bigpicture7

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OK so this post feels tailor-made for me since I just finished 3 years in grad school in Boston and spent most of my waking weekend hours studying in coffee shops and cafes!
...
Great Barrington Coffee Co in Fort Point was a favorite study spot. I'll miss you eternally :(
First, hats off to @#bancars for an outstanding characterization of Boston's coffee scene. I fully second that entire post.
I too am a coffee snob but didn't have a chance to respond that thoroughly when @kz1000ps first posed the question. Well done.

Just a couple of things to add to #bancars' post & the others:
Barrington Coffee Roasting was one of my favorites too before they shut down their brick & mortars. They not only had that place in Fort Point, but another one on Newbury that has closed as well. However, they're still going strong as a roastery, and, (last I checked) are still the beans source at a few local coffee shops, in particular Cafe Fixe on Beacon St. in Brookline (which I haven't noticed mentioned yet). That place is a tiny nook that's not particularly great for reading/working though. I think Cafe Almalfi in the North End (mentioned above) also sources Barrington's beans. Anyway, you can find them around.

I used to like 7Pond coffee in JP, but noticed they recently changed hands and are now called Tokava Coffee. That place is also a tiny nook. From what I can see, Tokava sources Broadsheet's beans (mentioned above).

Last note about Pavement (local small chain) mentioned by several above: a few years ago they were only good as a study/reading spot (pretty good vibe in most of their cafes) and their coffee sucked. However, they switched to roasting their own beans (at the new roastery they built), and since the switch, their coffee has improved significantly. I wouldn't put it in the echelon of Broadstreet/Gracenote/Ogawa, but it's much better than it was and decent enough for my fairly discerning tastes.

In the slightly-farther-afield category, one other one I haven't noticed mentioned yet is Intelligentsia on Mt. Auburn st. in Watertown. They are technically a national outfit, but they have very few stores in just a few locations, so still pretty special.
 
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#bancars

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First, hats off to @#bancars for an outstanding characterization of Boston's coffee scene. I fully second that entire post.
I too am a coffee snob but didn't have a chance to respond that thoroughly when @kz1000ps first posed the question. Well done.

Just a couple of things to add to #bancars' post & the others:
Barrington Coffee Roasting was one of my favorites too before they shut down their brick & mortars. They not only had that place in Fort Point, but another one on Newbury that has closed as well. However, they're still going strong as a roastery, and, (last I checked) are still the beans source at a few local coffee shops, in particular Cafe Fixe on Beacon St. in Brookline (which I haven't noticed mentioned yet). That place is a tiny nook that's not particularly great for reading/working though. I think Cafe Almalfi in the North End (mentioned above) also sources Barrington's beans. Anyway, you can find them around.

I used to like 7Pond coffee in JP, but noticed they recently changed hands and are now called Tokava Coffee. That place is also a tiny nook. From what I can see, Tokava sources Broadsheet's beans (mentioned above).

Last note about Pavement (local small chain) mentioned by several above: a few years ago they were only good as a study/reading spot (pretty good vibe in most of their cafes) and their coffee sucked. However, they switched to roasting their own beans (at the new roastery they built), and since the switch, their coffee has improved significantly. I wouldn't put it in the echelon of Broadstreet/Gracenote/Ogawa, but it's much better than it was and decent enough for my fairly discerning tastes.

In the slightly-farther-afield category, one other one I haven't noticed mentioned yet is Intelligentsia on Mt. Auburn st. in Watertown. They are technically a national outfit, but they have very few stores in just a few locations, so still pretty special.
7Pond had been on my list for a while pre-pandemic (didn't know they renamed!). I don't often get to JP but I definitely want to check it out at some point!
 

kz1000ps

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Welp I went in and did a little drive-around yesterday and I hit up two spots: first was Broadsheet downtown and that was excellent... got a drip coffee, it was a bit more of a medium body nutty/fruity roast whereas I like darker/chocolat-ier but still excellent and next time I'm gunning for their espresso roast.

And then I made my way west and ended up at Brothers and Sisters in Brookline. The woman at the register--who ended up being the owner--recommended I try their cold brew, so that I did and WOW that was really absolutely perfect... rich and flavorful up front and then an incredibly smooth back end (that's what she said). An instant new favorite drink for me!

Cheers :coffee:
 
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#bancars

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A few more suggestions based on my recent explorations!

Recreo Coffee, West Roxbury (they also have a pop up location in City Hall). Great coffee, very friendly owners, and one of the best backdoor patios in the entire city (if you count West Rox as being part of Boston, lol). It's gorgeous.

Cicada Coffee, Central Square, Cambridge. Vietnamese coffee place with some absolutely stellar concoctions. I am partial to their Hibiscus cold brew. They also have a really beautiful and intimate backdoor patio with lots of shade as well as some vegetable gardens.

I also think Brothers and Sisters (as pointed out by kz1000ps) is well worth a visit. Good stuff there.
 

kz1000ps

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^ Heyyyyyyy thanks for those suggestions! I think I'll be in West Roxbury a decent bit going forward so I'm sure I'll end up there very soon. And I definitely have a fondness for Vietnamese iced coffee, so I'll keep Cicada in mind too.

Now that I have a new job that's taking me all over the damn place (for instance today I had to go to Winthrop, then Braintree and then back home to Bedford) I'm more than open to suggestions well outside of the city. So to all of you 128-ish folks like me, please share what you got. Especially in the Lexington/Arlington/Medford/Somerville area... apparently that's where the bulk of my jobs will be.
 

DZH22

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Not a cafe but Jersey Mike's are popping up around the city, including one in Bedford. Really good subs. My favorite is getting a giant #8 club sub (keeps well enough in fridge for multiple meals), which is turkey, ham, bacon, and provolone, then I add lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, jalapenos, oregano, mayo, and hot pepper relish, on rosemary parm bread. It's delightfully flavorful. They also have good steak and cheese subs. Kind of a cut above most of the other sub shops. Also there's a Starbucks next door to the Bedford one.
 

Randomgear

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For Cafes, Green T on Walter St in Rozzie and The Square Root Cafe in Rozzie Square on Corinth St- I think that both buy their pastries from elsewhere but are fine coffee , breakfast and sandwich shops. The Square Root also has live entertainment occasionally outdoors and sometimes indoors on the weekends.

I'm a big fan of the plain donut at Mike's Coffee in Forest Hills Station, and I like their coffee for a simple old fashioned commuter cup on the go. The plain donuts are far more flavorful and crunchy than Dunks, but I wouldn't call anything about them gourmet.
 

bigpicture7

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For those lamenting the closure of Barrington Coffee Roasters on Newbury and in Fort Point, I keep noticing them as the beans supplier to various cafes around Boston/Cambridge (seems they're thriving as a supplier). Most recently I noticed that A4 cafe on Main St. in Cambridge is using Barrington's.
 

Lrfox

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KZ - check out Remnant for coffee (they're a brewery, but I actually like the coffee more than the beer) in Somerville. Davis Square Bagels and Doughnuts has some of my favorite doughnuts in the area too (I prefer them to Kane's or Union Square even if they don't have quite the variety). If you're into mochi doughnuts, follow Neighborhood Doughnut Society and checkout their popups. I also liked Pon de Joy in Allston. My favorite doughnut in MA is Glazy Susan in Worcester. Really great stuff (and very much in the hipster mold).
 

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