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May 28, 2010 01:40 PM

Good coffee and eats in the BU West Campus area?

I'm visiting Boston next week for a conference, and will be staying on the BU campus near Commonwealth and St. Paul. I'm interested in finding a coffeeshop within walking distance with GOOD coffee -- no ABP,no Starbucks, definitely no Duncan Donuts. I realize the pickings may be slim, but thought if anybody knew of a good place to go for quality AM caffeine, it would be the folks on this board!

Also, if anyone has any recommendations for good eats in the immediate area, let me know!


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  1. I love Inhouse cafe on harvard ave (near intersection of harvard and comm.). It's just a few blocks away (: Their coffee is excellent and everyone who works there is very friendly!

    1 Reply
    1. re: engineergirl_11

      Nice place, but "just a few blocks away" = roughly ten blocks and the better part of a mile. That may or may not fit your definition of within walking distance.

      Unfortunately, there's not much in the way of coffee shops any nearer, particularly of the non-chain variety. Cafe Japonaise on Commonwealth Avenue has some interesting pastries, but I have no idea how their coffee is. Other than that, the nearby choices are indeed Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts.

      There are, however, plenty of good eats nearby - for a start, check out the food court at the Hong Kong Supermarket/Super 88, at 1 Brighton Avenue (right at the junction of Commonwealth.)

      Cafe Japonaise
      1032 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215

    2. Espresso Royale Cafe (several branches in town), 736 Comm. Ave close to St. Paul, has recently been serving drip by Atomic, and espresso by Barismo, two excellent local roasters...

      169 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02474

      4 Replies
      1. re: khandha

        Duh! How could I have forgotten Espresso Royale? Except I was completely focused on trying to think of places west of the BU Bridge. Very good suggestion.

        1. re: Allstonian

          And, if you ever venture inbound just a few short stops from BU West to Hynes, there is a "slow bar" at the newly opened Pavement, 1096 Boylston, where they will meticulously prepare a single cup of coffee by hand, using well thought out protocols for temperature, dosing, and pour rate. I went for the first time today, and it was excellent.

          1. re: khandha

            Wow. Pavement sounds like a must-try. I guess I know where I'll be bright and early tomorrow morning! I'll look for Espresso Royale, too, since that sounds like it'll be close to many of the conference meeting rooms. I was reading about barismo and Atomic Cafe on this board, so I'm interested in trying their coffee. I may hike to Inhouse at some point and try that, too -- why not sample as much local stuff as possible?

            Anyway, thanks for ensuring I'll have some other options besides DD!!! I am much obliged for the recommendations!

            1. re: ckiddoo

              Today, Pavement's drip options included an Indonesia and a Guatemala, and the espresso was a blend of two Ethiopians, all from Barismo. If you happen to sample and enjoy these coffees, and have a couple of free hours during your visit, you can make a short trek to the source in Arlington: Barismo, 169 Mass. Ave. (Not sure of Memorial Day Weekend hours...) They offer a vacuum pot presentation, which focuses the flavors, especially the top notes, in very interesting ways. My personal favorites are their Kenyans.

              169 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02474