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Jun 22, 2010 06:22 PM

Let's Talk Iced Coffee

OK, I love iced coffee. I drink it practically year round and even though I like hot coffee too, I seem to gravitate to iced when I'm working at my computer since it never gets cold. I typically drink 2 20 oz cups per day. Yes, it's a bad habit, but it's mine.

Anyway, I recently started a new job in the Financial District so every morning, I walk to work and stop in at Flour on my way to get my fix. I like their coffee -- good flavor, reasonable portion for $2.75 and most times, they don't take just take hot coffee and pour it over some cubes (a huge pet peeve). Once in a while they do in a pinch, but for the most part they take a big frozen block of coffee and let it melt with a splash of hot to speed up the process. The other place that makes excellent iced coffee (better than Flour) is South End Buttery. Unfortunately, it's nowhere near my office or my house, so I can only go there on weekends. Fair Trade Cafe on Causeway St. does a nice iced coffee, but again, too out of the way.

My problem is during the work day. I have not been able to find any good mid-day coffee place near my office. All I've found are:

Dunkin' Donuts: watery, awful, fake coffee syrup taste

Starbucks: horrible, metallic-tasting yet watery (how this is possible, i dont know). Even the Pike's Roast isn't good. If i have to go here, I get a triple espresso over ice,but that's pretty diesel and not always ideal for a desk job.

Peet's: Non-descript and not that close to my office to make it worth the trip.

Bruegger's: Again, not strong enough.

Cosi: Not awful, but not good.

Flat Black Coffee: I've tried everything from "mild" to "strong" and they all taste too molasses-y and harsh. Undrinkable, in fact. Big disappointment. I had high hopes.

Any suggestions? I'm not going to be able to make it through a summer work day with one iced coffee in the morning!

South End Buttery
314 Shawmut Avenue, Boston, MA 02118

200 Terminal St, Charlestown, MA 02129

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  1. I also love ice coffee and work down the street from Flour in Fort Point. Flour does a nice ice coffee, but check out Sportello on Congress. They use crushed ice (which I love) and charge the same for ice and hot coffee, which seems fair. And there's almost never a wait.

    And if you're hungry when you get there, Sportello has a cheese/fruit/toast dish on their menu for $3. Four nice slides of white cheddar, grapes, and two slices of toast (I always go for the raisin rosemary bread). All that with an ice coffee for under $5.

    348 Congress Street, Boston, MA 02110

    2 Replies
    1. re: foodish

      Have you tried Sip Cafe in Post Office Square. The owner has a long and successful history with coffee. I would guess that they would serve great iced coffee and that if you were not happy with it, they would figure out a way to make it to your liking.


      Sip Cafe
      0 Post Office Sq, Boston, MA 02109

      1. re: BostonZest

        Yes, I have tried Sportello (also on the way to work). Very, very good hot coffee, but the iced not quite as great. The last time I had it (last week) it was 90 percent crushed iced, 10 percent coffee. I had to ask for some ice to be taken out so i would not be drinking a 10lb cup of watered down iced coffee that would be gone in 3 sips. Their large is also smaller per ounce than Flour's large for comparable money. But anyway, my problem is getting coffee in the Financial District -- not in Fort Point. I am all set with Flour there.

        Re Sip -- I forgot I've gotten iced here a couple times. Not bad, but the coffee taste has a similar molasses-y taste as Flat Black. It's OK in a pinch but I was hoping for something sublime and consistent. Maybe I just don't care for their bean choice -- I'll inquire about that next time, thanks for the heads up.

        Will check out Olga's -- never heard of it. Thanks.

        348 Congress Street, Boston, MA 02110

    2. Au Bon Pain (Elbow Pain) has decent iced coffee. I don't know how many of those are left but there used to be one at the NEMC.

      1. I would recommend Olga's Kafe in the 99 Summer St. building. It is located at the back of the building near the Bedford St. entrance. The coffee is delicious and the staff are very friendly and know their regulars. They have amazing flavors (not from syrup) like Birthday Cake, Brownie Toffee Crunch, and Pistaccio Ice Cream. Also, if you bring back your reciept from earlier in the day you get a $1 off your second coffee.

        1 Reply
        1. re: mats77

          Second Olga's- esp the chocolate capp flavored. The original, columbian, is good as well. Only downside is that it's cash only.

          She also has awesome breakfast sandwiches and plenty of other eats like homemade yogurt parfaits and muffins.

        2. Peet's near South Station.

          But I like Flat Black. It has a stronger taste that I prefer. Peet's is not so strong and is much more well rounded than regular Starbucks.

          Otherwise, find a Starbucks with a Clover and get iced Kenya or even Kona. Don't get the 3 Region thing they sometimes have because it has a muddy taste. Clover coffee is truly superior. It costs a little more. They now have the Venti size too.

          2 Replies
          1. re: lergnom

            Do you know of any branches downtown that still have Clover? there used to be one at 101 Federal Street but didn't notice it last time there.

            1. re: lergnom

              I'll second that. The only way to get a good iced coffee at Starbucks is to get it via the Clover or as an Iced Americano.

            2. One thing you might try to boost the flavor from otherwise sub-par places......have them make you an iced Americano. Espresso Royale Cafe on Newbury does this for me, b/c I only drink decaf and they don't brew any there. So they recommended the iced Americano thing and it was heads above anything I've had elsewhere. Since they add cold water to the espresso before pouring over ice, it circumvents the "hot coffee over ice" fiasco, which I agree is a disaster!

              4 Replies
              1. re: Science Chick

                Absolutely! This is also what makes Starbucks iced coffee better:; order it as an iced americano, NOT from that pre-made iced coffee in the metal container on the counter.

                1. re: Science Chick

                  THANK YOU for the iced americano recommendation - I got it today at Peet's, and it was delicious - so much better than that iced coffee from the tank...

                    1. re: sallyt

                      I *love* Peet's iced espresso. Three shots in a large cup filled with crushed ice, extra ice on the top to fill. It's stronger than the Americano b/c no ice water added, but as all that ice melts, it mellows out. I drink it even on the coldest days of winter.