Well known for its deeply rooted history and prestigious universities, the city of Boston, Massachusetts is commonly referred to as “Beantown,” due to its production of the popular variety of molasses-sweetened baked beans. However, Boston’s “Beantown” moniker has taken on a whole new meaning lately. Over the past several years, Boston has experienced somewhat of a coffee resurgence with the emergence of superior quality independent coffee shops around the city.
Many of these shops are serving customers single cup preparation coffees that include delicate latte art, eggnog lattes topped with homemade whip cream, and fresh mint mochas made with cinnamon flavored coffee. Outpacing their big chain competitors when it comes to quality, these new high-end Boston coffee shops are sourcing premium coffee beans from around the world. Each exotic roast delivers unique flavor, acidity and body that is difficult to match.
Gourmet Boston Coffee Shops
Although fairly new to Boston, the landscape of specialty premium coffee shops is the norm for many larger cities on the West Coast. With over a dozen high-quality coffee shops in districts around the city, Bostonians are presented with more options than ever before for buying their morning cup of Joe. What differentiates these trendy Boston coffee shops from the bigger chains is not just the lack of strategically placed merchandising, but the way the coffee is skillfully prepared.
When ordering your favorite roast coffee or latte at these boutique Boston cafes, don’t expect to see your coffee prepared hastily from big clunky coffee machines. Instead, coffee is carefully crafted by talented baristas that treat the preparation of coffee more as an art form than a tedious chore.
A rigorous single cup coffee preparation is commonly performed with high-quality French presses such as the elegant and practical Bodum Chambord or the upgraded Aeropress. Many times you will even find skillful baristas using the old-school pour-overs, where water is poured into a filtered lined cone filled with freshly prepared grounds and coffee percolates into a cup below.
Barrington Coffee: A True Boston Coffee Roaster
Among the numerous premium Boston coffeehouses that have settled in the neighborhoods of the South End, Downtown, and beyond, there are a dozen or so that stand out for their uniqueness and creativity. Among them is the Barrington Coffee Roasting Company, located on 346 Congress Street in the Fort Point neighborhood of Boston. The Barrington Coffee Roasting Company is well known for its wide selection of premium roasts with origins from the world’s best cooperatives and family-owned farms.
On their website, Barrington includes nine unique roast varieties, such as the Hawaii Maui Mokka – richly chocolaty, medium-roasted beans grown in Western Maui. Another spectacular roast worth noting is the Kenya Kia Ora, light-roasted coffee beans with the flavors of red grapefruit and creamy peach, grown in rich volcanic soil on the southern slope of Mount Kenya.
Aside from their selection of artisanal coffee blends, sourced coffees from around the world, and carefully preserved green coffees beans, Barrington coffee is also well known for its robust menu of espresso drinks and exquisite latte art pours that are a treat for the eyes.
Voltage Art & Coffee – A Popular Boston Coffee Shop
In Cambridge’s Kendall Square, Voltage Art & Coffee is known for its delicious espressos and signature exotic lattes, such as their taste bud tantalizing white-chocolate ganache Early Grey latte. However, it is Voltage’s casual yet discerning art gallery that makes this unique Boston coffee shop so memorable. All coffee that is served at Voltage Coffee & Art is prepared by the single cup for delicious flavor and freshness.
The coffee shop features mesmerizing artwork from young and up-and-coming local artists. The shop offers patrons a brightly lit room with plenty of nooks and elbowroom between tables to enjoy a personal conversation with friends, as well as the rotating art gallery (artwork is changed almost monthly). This East Cambridge coffee shop has become so popular it has proclaimed itself the unofficial living room of Kendall Square.
Render Coffee Bar – A Casual Boston Coffee Shop
Render Coffee Bar is another beloved and independently owned coffee shop that resides in the South End district of Boston. Render Coffee Bar’s nostalgic brownstone building appeals to a diverse crowd with its bright open space and cheery atmosphere. If you are looking to avoid the pretentious coffee crowd with snobby baristas, Render is the place to go. Like many of the upscale Boston coffee houses in the area, Render’s friendly baristas prepare coffee by the single cup. Render’s owner, Chris Dadey is said to have brought the pour-over coffee movement to Boston, partly due to his working relationship with the coffee innovation powerhouse Counter Culture.
Counter Culture is a North Carolina based company that is committed to raising the bar in coffee preparation. Counter Culture offers cutting-edge coffee education and professional certification to coffee shop baristas around the country. In addition to Counter Culture’s innovative training programs, Render also uses Counter Culture’s fresh coffee grounds to prepare their long list of coffee drinks. If you visit Render Coffee Bar, make sure to try their Hazelnut Latte, which is said to be prepared with handmade Hazelnut puree.
With the growing pace of new coffee shops bursting onto Boston’s coffee scene, it will be interesting to see which coffee shops will continue to take the lead in quality, uniqueness, and innovation.