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Feb 6, 2008 09:28 AM

Best Coffee in Boston

I visited Boston a couple years ago, and I was looking forward to a latte tour. I'm on an international music band board and I asked the Bostonians where the best coffee/lattes were made. They consistently wrote Dunkin' Donuts. My enthusiasm deflated. When I visited I had incredible food (yippee!!). However, where are the best coffee/lattes/cappaccinos?

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  1. For great espresso (and espresso drinks) go to Caffe Vittoria on Hanover Street

    1 Reply
    1. re: joebelt

      Yeah, it is tough to beat the espresso or cappuccino at Vittoria's.

      I can't drink much coffee these days (darn migraines!), but some of the best I've tried in the area have been at Martin's in Brookline Village and Mul's Diner in Southie.

    2. The best espresso I've had was at Simon's in Cambridge between Porter and Harvard Sqs. I found their drip coffee to be pretty gross, though.

      1 Reply
      1. re: maillard

        I have only had espresso at SImon's, but I agree that it is excellent. I also really like their lattes - nice steamed milk and espresso/milk ratio.

      2. next time don't ask those people about anything dunkin dognuts yuk...
        they don't even have the proper equipment to make them.
        i know i will be punished for this but
        star bucks is good there are better yes

        1. I may get a lot of flak from others but I like Peet's in Harvard Sq. Toscanini's in the square used make some mean espresso and latte's too but alas they closed (see other threads on that debacle)...

          8 Replies
            1. re: chuck s

              Thanks Chuck...wasn't aware of it.

              1. re: Sal Monella

                The Central Square one, though. The Harvard Square Tosci's remains closed and will not reopen.

                1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                  Thanks for clearing this up, BFP. I mistook it to mean the Harvard Sq. one.

            2. re: Sal Monella

              Hi Sal -- no flak, but I just can never figure out why Peets in California is so good, and Peets here is so... meh. I'm a dark roast black brewed coffee girl, sliding to black americanos when I feel flush -- I'm not a latte or cap drinker. I have yet to have a good black cuppa at the HSq Peets. I can't figure it out. They have the skills, they have the beans, they have the machinery, but it's always overly bitter. The best I can deduce is that they brew it overly strong because most folks take milk or cream. I like their beans, I just can't get a decent joe at the store.

              As for americanos, I find Espresso Royale near the symphony does a consistently good job (even on the decaf espresso, which tastes like crap most places). I find their brewed coffee incredibly inconsistent, but I do quite like their americanos.

              As for surprisingly good dark roast brew in a diner setting, Sound Bites has a great beans supplier that's based in Northern Mass (I think). Always freshly roasted, never overly acidic, and you can buy the beans at Sound Bites too.

              Sadly, the most readily available consistently brewed dark roast (for drinking black) that I've found is the French Roast at Au Bon Pain, of all places (I know, color me surprised too). I'd take a black cuppa that over Starbucks any day. It pains me to say it, but in my daily commuting sphere, these are the best options.

              As to the other joints ref'd in this thread: the drip intelligensia at bloc 11 is very good, I can't abide 1369's drip coffee, and I haven't loved any of the terroir I've tried, but I admit to trying very little of it. I can say that Temptations Cafe, though a lovely place for sandwiches and salads, clearly doesn't know how to brew terroir, since it's always heinous there.

              I can only add this: black Dunkin Donuts coffee is what I imagine sinners are forced to drink in hell. If they've been especially especially bad.

              1. re: litchick

                I'm glad to hear someone else ask this about peets-- I really like them out west, but find myself consistently let down (or worse) by the ones I try here (mostly harvard sq & coolidge corner). And yeah, it's definitely the bitterness here that puzzles me (in fact, I've wondered whether it's something they do intentionally to gear to different markets?) It used to be really hard to find good coffee in LA, and Peets was a refreshing addition to the scene. But in Boston, I'm honestly not even sure which I'd choose given a choice between stopping in for a cup of SB vs Peets to go :(

                I'm also a fan of intelligentsia in chicago, so I'm glad to know bloc 11 brews it. I keep hoping that since so many Bostoners have formerly lived in upstate NY, that someone might start brewing Gimme Coffee!

                1. re: another_adam

                  I have been to Peet's both in California and here. Maybe there is a drop-off in the Harvard Square and Coolidge Corner outlets but I haven't experienced that in the Downtown shop.

                2. re: litchick

                  The coffee at Sound Bites is awesome!

              2. Flatblack is a small independent coffee shop that specializes in single estate coffees. They also have a very good house blended espresso. It is located at Broad and Milk Streets near Post Office Square. Worth a try for sure.

                3 Replies
                1. re: mgardner

                  Flat Black is excellent. Also has wifi. It's a wholly local, small chain. First store was in Lower Mills. Very nice people.

                  Of the real chains, Peet's by far. There is no contest. They can dark roast without losing the varietal (while Starbucks roasts past varietal).

                  1. re: lergnom

                    Dark roast don't make an authentic European espresso.

                    1. re: joebelt

                      the OP asked about coffee as well as espresso drinks. relax.