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Jun 23, 2008 02:31 AM

Diesel (rave)

A friend who doesn't drink coffee took me there with the premises that it is a queer friendly place with good industrial retail design (two parameters that are essential for our outings). He had no idea about what he put me through.

I had the opportunity to sample the coffee, twice. One Vietnamese coffee (before knowing that they actually have Intelligentsia beans are seriously serious about their stuff). The coffee was decently made, and even with the toning down of the condensed milk, there was something special about it. Moreover, there was something special about the way the barista explained the drinks to the customers (oozing passion and an understated precision), so I went there again next day and ordered a shot of espresso. Now I am going to paraphrase the rest, from another board where I complained about how a local coffee shop ruins Intelligentsia beans; because I don't know how else I could describe the shot, in any other way


I visited Diesel at Somerville, MA and had one of those golden shots with an almost flowery taste, no roughness at all, rather possessing the feeling of licking a really really good chocolate syrup without any sickly sweet aftertaste. All made from a custom Intelligentsia blend, said the barista (was it Black Cat, dunno?). It reminded me of why I was obsessed with coffee a few years back. Now that is a coffee that I would probably take all the attitude for.


Now going through the board, I see that there are inconsistencies of the output at Diesel (which is I guess normal "variance" when we are thinking espresso). I guess it was my lucky day.

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  1. I want to file a discrimination lawsuit against them for their refusal to hire men.

    6 Replies
    1. re: tamerlanenj

      My wife and I used to live in Somerville and would go to the Diesel Cafe every now and then until we just could not deal with the service anymore. My wife would get perfect,friendly service. I on the other hand would literally get ignored. One time I had the woman at the counter actually look around me to the next person in line (a woman) and take her order while not even acknowledging my existence. I e-mailed them years ago,when we used to go there, about this issue and never got a response. I honestly feel this place wants only women(preferably gay women) and gay men as there customers.
      I am so glad that someone else has felt at least some what the same way as I used to.

      1. re: ScoobieSnack

        I guess I'll be the contrarian hetero male here. I'm always satisfied with the service. I've also seen plenty of guys working there (a minority perhaps, but still plenty).

        I completely agree with emerilcantcook that the espresso craft is high, one of a handful of serious American-style coffeehouses in town (Simon's and the new Crema are also excellent, not to mention Diesel's sister house, Bloc 11). It can take forever to get my cappuccino at peak times, but it tends to be worth it.

        I've said it before, but their dark roast drip coffee has become some of my favorite in town as well.

        1. re: ScoobieSnack

          Oh, I was just teasing. I've never had a problem with the service, but sometimes feel like a bit of an outsider.

          1. re: ScoobieSnack

            This straight man has never had a problem with service at Diesel.

            1. re: ScoobieSnack

              Never had a problem with service either, but I only ever go there with my adorable GF so that instantly gives me cred. ;)

              1. re: Bob Dobalina

                Glad to hear that the service has gotten better in that regard. We haven't been in a while (moved to Roslindale about 2.5 yrs ago) . It bummed me out about how I was treated there because I used to like the food and the space itself.

          2. I've only been to Diesel once but I thought the coffee and service were good, I was entirely unaware of any of the "political" issues mentioned here.

            1. When I first moved to Boston, it took 3 weeks to get internet at my apartment. I spent a lot of time at Diesel then (drinking great coffee and surfing the net for a job). I really like the coffee there as well as the atmosphere. Thanks for posting about your amazing shot. I've only had the drip coffee, but I will try the espresso next time.

              1. When you mention Vietnamese coffee are you talking about actual coffee from Vietnam, or beans from elsewhere brewed in the Vietnamese style? I ask because I recently went to Vietnam and brought back coffee, but not nearly enough of it, as I've used it up and can't find it anywhere. If Diesel has it, I'll be thrilled!

                4 Replies
                1. re: Dea

                  I will have to disappoint you. It was "Vietnamese style", though the way they did it wasn't particularly like how I get it at Vietnamese restos. My guess is it was coffee and condensed milk. It was still good though.

                  1. re: emerilcantcook

                    Oh well, I had a feeling that was the case. Thanks for confirming. Just means I'll have to take another trip to Vietnam and bring a suitacase full of coffee back. It's just that good.

                  2. re: Dea

                    I've seen Vietnamese coffee beans for sale at Bobalicious, the newish boba/bahn mi shop in Newton.

                    1. re: Prav

                      Thanks Prav - I'll check that out!

                  3. I love Diesel--the ice tea/limeade combo is perfect for these hot summer days. Always had great service, even the pause after "how are you today?" is real and forces you to actually answer :) Supporting your local coffeeshop has never been so easy.