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Jun 28, 2007 09:46 AM

Boston Coffee Roasters

Yet another transplanted New Yorker, I'm looking for a good place to buy coffee beans. Any recs?

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  1. I have given up on anything Starbucks. If you like Oren's in NYC then this place has it beat: Order 10 lbs and you get a great discount. The Kenya AA is and the other straights and nationals are all really good. Unfortunately, there aren't too many independent coffee shops that have their own brand or roasts of beans that aren't $14/pound and up. I go to Whole Foods in a pinch; the Allegro brand is very good but pricey.

    1. Is there a good local source of high quality, freshly-roasted coffee with a wide range of origins?? I can't wait to learn of this...

      After many attempts local sourcing (Hogan Bros. at Pemberton and Terroir at Whole Foods are the leading contenders and I had high hopes for Flatblack Jack's downtown, but it's not all that fresh tasting to me) --

      we rely almost exclusively on Peet's (for turnover and variety, I prefer the Harvard Sq shop to downtown or Lexington, but all are the most consistently fresh and well-roasted that I have found in person).

      Whole Foods Allegro will do in a pinch for fresh beans, but the roasting seems grossly inconsistent.

      Mail order is another option we also do monthly with -- truly awesome and fresh -- best of any of the many web-based options, but more per lb. (highly recommend the Bella Donovan blend/roast).

      6 Replies
      1. re: rlh

        I have to give a resounding second to blue bottle coffee. Although not local (based out of Oakland) their coffee is fantastic. They are fanatical, I mean FANATICAL, about their coffee. I have a friend who is a barrista at a small shop in San Francisco. Blue Bottle Coffee approached them to serve their coffee. In order to do so, the cafe had to totally revamp how they make and serve the coffee in order to fit the company's policy to ensure their coffee is made and served to best showcase its flavoers. That meant getting rid of their usual drip brewers and using only french press or individual cup ceramic drip makers. My friend brought me a bag of their Bella Donovan on a recent visit - very fresh, complex aroma and taste. One of the best coffees I've ever had.

        1. re: rlh

          Drank some blue bottle in SF a few weeks ago. Very good!

          1. re: rlh

            I need to update this with a couple of recent finds which are nearby that merit mentioning - all are superior to Peets, Terroir, and Whole Foods Allegro - mostly due to consistent/under-roasting and freshness.

            Barismo - Arlington - on site roasting, limited range of options (Guatemala, Costa Rica, Brazil, Kenya, and maybe Mexico - nothing Pacific as of last week), slightly higher prices, erratic operating hours, but they are really friendly types and supply stellar beans meticulously roasted!

            Biscuit - via website - comes from Foxboro and has the highest quality to price ratio with a wide range of single source beans freshly-roasted (free, really fast shipping with about 2 lbs or more order - you have to mention the free shipping offer in the notes field on your order and they really take off the charges). Their Guatemalan is amazing.

            Mocha Joe's - Brattleboro, VT with a good website - fair prices, great beans - reasonable shipping and very fast. Their Costa Rica La Minita is awesome.

            1. re: rlh

              If you want mail order, we buy coffees from Kaldi Gourmet. Really more of a wholesale operation, minimum order of 5 pounds, but the quality and the prices are just amazing. We are working on some Sumatran and some El Salvdoran right now that are just out of this world. Comparable coffees elsewhere would be at least twice the $.


              1. re: StriperGuy

                Thanks - amazing low prices, but I don't think we go through enough to buy in 5 lb increments - but in the not local, mail order, internet category of truly excellent beans, I would also add:

                Counter Culture (NC-based, like Kaldi - there's a NYC storefront (can't remember the name) in/around the East Village using these beans to make the best expresso I've ever had - yes, even better than Blue Bottle in SF.

              2. re: rlh

                Here's a tip for the Biscuit coffee--during the holiday season, they usually run a special where they give you a pound of the Biscuit coffee for *free* at New England Mobile Book Fair if you spend $100, which isn't hard to do there. It's pretty good, and free, it's even better.

            2. The original comment has been removed
              1. i assume you mean roasted coffee beans. i agree with others that peets is pretty good. i also like terroir quite a bit, but it is expensive. there are a number of locations in boston where you can get the beans; simon's cafe in cambridge for instance. i think whole foods might also carry them. you can also try velouria cafe in jamaica plain, which has several varieties of terroir on hand (he's got a brew-on-demand system) so you can sample different varieties to see which you prefer. i don't know if he sells the beans, though. finally, there's diesel cafe in davis sq., which serves intelligentsia. you can buy whole beans from them (though, perversely, they won't grind them for you.) these are my favorites, anyway.

                7 Replies
                1. re: autopi

                  True Grounds in Ball Square has the Terroir beans as well.

                  True Grounds
                  715 Broadway, Somerville, MA 02144

                  1. re: heathermb

                    there is a place in southie called PS, they only have like 5 flavours of beans for sale, but the italian roast is awesome!

                  2. re: autopi

                    Whole Foods does sell Terroir beans, as does Clear Flour Bakery.

                    1. re: autopi

                      I find Peets and Terroir to be quite different roasts. You don't really know if you're getting a quality bean if they burn it, nor does it matter by that point. Maybe I just haven't been to Peet's in awhile.
                      Do they sell medium-low roasted coffee? I thought it was all dark.

                      1. re: uman

                        well they both do several different roasts, so i suppose it's what you are comparing. i usually get the peet's house blend, and don't find it too dark or burnt at all. certainly not like starbucks, from what i recall. (haven't had starbucks in awhile.) i've had several terroir varieties, but they have all been lighter and fruitier than the peets. i like them both, so i have no complaints. but sure, ymmv.

                      2. re: autopi

                        Diesel usually has bags of both ground and whole beans out, and if you don't see what you want they've always been happy to grind it for me.

                        1. re: Parsnipity

                          that may be a policy change b/w when this thread first was active and now. i was told a year or two ago that they would NOT grind the beans (purchased from them) for me. something about how they had their grinders set up. also, at that point, i think the only option they had was whole bean, at least on the occasions i was there.

                          i did notice the last time i was there (a month or so ago) that, as you say, they had ground beans available for sale. if they are willing to grind them too, so much the better.

                      3. Our local coffee spot, Flat Black Coffee in Lower Mills, Dorchester is installing their own roaster.

                        They also have a branch in the Boston Society of Architects building on Broad Street in downtown Boston

                        They have plans for a shop at Ashmont Station, which is good for local commuters.

                        They already have coffee to drive for, but deserve their own baker/pastry chef. That would enhance the yum...