Where can I get good coffee in Boston?
April 27, 2006 1:50 PM   Subscribe

Where can I get good coffee in the Boston area?

I like the taste of my Taster's Choice instant coffee that I make at home. I hate Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts coffee because it tastes very bitter and acidic. Are there any Boston-area shops where you can get a cup of coffee that doesn't taste very bitter and acidic (I think those coffee shops .. starbucks and dunkin donuts probably serve coffee that's been standing around for a while. Plus, they probably brew it wrongly by burning the beans. That's what could cause the very bitter/acidic taste.
posted by gregb1007 to Food & Drink (25 answers total)
I opt for Dunkin. However my wife, who likes coffee, likes Peets. There's one in Coolidge Corner and one in Newton Centre, off the top of my head.

If you prefer to go locally-owned, I used to get coffee at the Berkeley Perk on Berkeley Street in the South End and thought that it was really good.
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:57 PM on April 27, 2006

There's also a Peets in Harvard Square, which I frequent. My favorite locally-owned coffee shop is Diesel in Davis Square.
posted by pombe at 2:00 PM on April 27, 2006

The Buttery in the South End (Shawmut and Union Park) is great, as are the Espresso Royale's - there's one on Newbury and another on Gainsborough.
posted by grimley at 2:01 PM on April 27, 2006

Pleasant Morning Buzz from Whole Foods is excellent, if you're looking for something to make at home.
posted by bondcliff at 2:06 PM on April 27, 2006

Torrefazione Italia on Newbury is wonderful for espresso drinks.

My favorite coffee is from Toscanini's; there's one in Harvard Square, Central Square, and Kendall Square.

For chains, I like Peets.

I also always *loved* the coffee at Bagel Plus on Tremont at the Common. I think it's Seattle's Best, but it's nice and strong without being acidic. Any time of day, it was good coffee, so they're probably just also good about keeping it brewed fresh.
posted by occhiblu at 2:10 PM on April 27, 2006

1369 Coffee House, in Central and Inman Squares in Cambridge. I'm partial to the one in Inman.
posted by jesourie at 2:11 PM on April 27, 2006

Best answer: If you like Taster's Choice your not going to like much of anything from most coffee speciality stores, as they generally serve darker roasts, which most people wrongly associate with being strong caffeine-wise. Look for somewhere that makes coffee by the cup and lets you pick your coffee. You're looking for a light to medium roast coffee that will be described as smooth or mellow. I'm a "blacker the better" kind of guy myself so I can't help you pick a particular roast, but I have had the odd cup of TC, it's not horrible if you don't put in too much.
posted by doctor_negative at 2:12 PM on April 27, 2006

Response by poster: doctor_negative, you've really put your finger on what kind of coffee I am looking for. I would love to find a smooth/mellow coffee that's "medium to light roast." It's really suprising though that no coffee shop would serve that! There's gotta be one or two in the Boston area.
posted by gregb1007 at 2:16 PM on April 27, 2006

Best answer: greb1007, check out the 1369 webpage - they sell a good many kinds of coffee, including lighter and gourmet roasts. The Central Square one is also very close to a T stop. It can be hard to find a seat sometimes, though.
posted by ubersturm at 2:32 PM on April 27, 2006

I like a roast that's called "city roast" or 'full city roast." Equal Exchange (one of those fair-trade coffee roasters, can be found at non-starbucks coffeeshops, esp. co-oppy-type coffeeshops) roasts a nice Ethiopian coffee that way.
posted by pullayup at 2:34 PM on April 27, 2006

I'll second Diesel in Somerville. Not bitter at all. But perhaps too dark for you, although they do have several different coffee options.
I like medium to light roast coffee (at home) and have ended up drinking lattes out in the world as I always end up liking them better than the straight coffee.

George Howell, the original Coffee Connection fella, is roasting coffee in Acton. I think you can get it at some shops, check it out as I imagine it's amazing.
posted by jdl at 2:34 PM on April 27, 2006

Thirds for Diesel in Davis - it's a regular morning stop for me. I also really like the coffee, if not the totally inappropriately loud music at weird hours at Someday Cafe, right next to the Somerville Theater in Davis as well. Howell's roasting beans for Someday, too, if I recall correctly.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 2:42 PM on April 27, 2006

Response by poster: ubersturm, a question about 1369. Could I get a cup of medium/lighter roast coffee to drink in the store or would I have to buy beans to brew it at home?
posted by gregb1007 at 2:42 PM on April 27, 2006

For espresso (their roasts tend to be darker): Simon's Coffee Shop, on Mass Ave. between Harvard and Porter, has the best baristas around, there was a Boston Globe article on them.

For light/medium roast in the store, believe it or not Porter Square Books in the Porter mall is incredible.
posted by blahblahblah at 2:51 PM on April 27, 2006

I second 1369. I really, really love their coffee.
posted by pazazygeek at 2:59 PM on April 27, 2006

Starbucks always has a light roast coffee available as drip. You might like the breakfast blend.
posted by luneray at 3:01 PM on April 27, 2006

You can get a cup of any coffee the 1369 has--they'll brew single cups of whatever beans they have.
posted by jesourie at 3:19 PM on April 27, 2006

You could always carry a supply Taster's Choice with you and order a cup of hot water (as for tea) at any coffee shop (Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts included) and make it yourself. I suspect that if you find Dunkin Donuts bitter and acidic that you just prefer instant coffee; Dunkin Donuts coffee is far to the mild side of the coffee spectrum.
posted by TimeFactor at 3:40 PM on April 27, 2006

Things to look for:
  • Roast level (the darker the bean, the less likely you'll get the acidity)
  • The type of bean (robustos in general have a higher pH than arabica)
  • Processing (wet-processed beans tend to be smoother and more mellow than dry-processed)
  • The amount of cream other patrons are putting in their coffee :)

posted by Hildago at 4:56 PM on April 27, 2006

For light/medium roast in the store, believe it or not Porter Square Books in the Porter mall is incredible.

Provided the coffee shop is not closed due to Grandmas Raming The Store With Their SUVs.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:48 PM on April 27, 2006

The Torrefazione on Newbury is now (sadly) something else, not sure how the coffee is - I always found the house blend at Rebecca's (numerous locations) to be a fairly mild cup.
posted by jalexei at 8:50 PM on April 27, 2006

is the Greenhouse Coffee Shop still there (Harvard Sq)? I used to go there a lot in the early to mid-Nineties and I remember the coffee wasn't bad at all
posted by matteo at 1:15 AM on April 28, 2006

Best answer: I have some of the Terroir beans that jdl links - the Guatemala is extremely light and has an almost tangy flavor. It's pretty awesome.

For dark stuff, I've had an enjoyed Diesel. The Whole Foods house brand medium roasts are pretty excellent.

I suggest finding a fresh, medium roast Colombian and falling in love. That's as smooth as you're gonna get for under $50 a pound.
posted by clango at 7:23 AM on April 28, 2006

True Grounds has some fantastic coffee IMHO, including some Terroir blends.

It is a little out of the way unless you are already coming from the Somerville/Medford area, but I thought I would throw it out there. Some yummy foods and great staff too.
posted by cayla at 2:52 PM on April 28, 2006

Response by poster: Resolved: Starbucks frequently carries mild brews. However, in many locations these tend to be available only mornings through late afternoons. The mild brew is satisfying and tastes smooth, non-bitter and non-acidic.

For the times where Starbucks doesn't brew a mild cup, a Café Americano is a good alternative. Its made out of a combination of expresso shots and boiling water and tastes just like a cup of mild coffee.

Thank you everyone and especially dr_negative. The term "medium roast" really corresponds to the taste of coffee I like. I didn't know that before, but now that I do, I can pick out the type of coffee that I want.
posted by gregb1007 at 7:51 PM on June 29, 2006

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