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Feb 9, 2011 11:23 AM

Thinking Cup on Tremont Street - report

I've been to Thinking Cup fairly often in the last month. They are the only local purveyors of Stumptown Roasters Coffee (originally from Portland, OR). Unfortunately, I am not a fan of their coffee. I'm just talking straight coffee, not their espressos, lattes or anything fancy. I can't quite put my finger as to why I am not keen on the coffee, maybe a little bitter (I drink it straight) and not coffee-ey enough for me.

But, their savory egg sandwiches and pastries are really something else.

I've had two different egg sandwich specials and one standard egg sandwich. The specials are always on perfectly toasted toast. And, the sandwiches are made with care. When you take a bite, there isn't any slippage of stuff. The flavors were balanced and there were also contrasting textures and temperatures (fresh spinach leaves v. the softness of the egg v. the crunchiness of the toast).

But the pastries. Wow, the pastries. I've tried the banana chocolate chip muffin (beautiful top), chocolate croissant (flaky, buttery, soft chocolatey nutella tasting filling but with dark chocolate), triple chocolate mousse cake (fine crumb), chocolate bombe (chocolate mousse with a dark chocolate shell) and two different kinds of cupcakes (just the right amount of frosting). Everything was delicious.

Also of note is the french hot chocolate. The servings are small but the taste is rich and chocolaty. This is a dessert in and of itself.

I would go for the breakfast sandwiches or pastries or hot chocolate. I just wish I liked the coffee better to go with the pastries.

Tremont Cafe
418 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02116

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  1. Bloc 11 and Diesel Cafe also sell Stumptown coffee (house blend, decaf, hair bender), if you consider Somerville "local."

    Bloc 11 Cafe
    11 Bow St, Somerville, MA 02143

    4 Replies
    1. re: emannths

      Somerville is more local for me. But, this is what the coffee guy at Thinking Cup told me. But, since I don't really like their coffee, I won't be seeking it out.

      1. re: beetlebug

        Just want to clarify... The staff at thinking cup should be aware that we mention to customers that we are the only shop to exclusively serve Stumptown. I have even gone as far as recommending other shops that serve/sell Stumptown like Pavement, Cafe Fixe, and Diesel, who sells their beans but doesn't brew it. These are all great shops and the people that run them have been very supportive of us and what we are doing.

        1. re: Barista Phil

          Thanks for the clarification. FWIW, last time I was at Diesel buying beans they were serving brewed Stumptown. At least that's what their chalkboard said.

          1. re: emannths

            Thanks for the clarification on that! It's been about a month and a half for me and at that point they were just doing retail bags.

    2. Ms 9 has become a fan of Thinking Cup too.

      1. This is a nice place to work, but it has no wifi. I bring my own network. I find their coffee pretty good, they do decent handpours. It's very comfortable.

        11 Replies
        1. re: tatsu

          I knew I forgot something. The space is lovely and comfortable. Quite charming. People are nice. Really just what the neighborhood needed.

          1. re: beetlebug

            I wonder if they can make a proper Cortado

            1. re: Gordough

              Gordough, that all depends on the current opinion of a proper cortado. Our cappuccino may be what some consider a cortado. It's five ounces total made with a double ristretto. Our macchiatto may be what some consider, it's more of the traditional cortado ratio of 1:1 espresso/foamed milk. Hope that helps!

              1. re: Barista Phil

                I tried to order a Cortado here about a week ago and the Baristas all looked at my like I had 2 heads. No one had even heard of it let alone had the first clue how to make it.

                1. re: Gordough

                  Did they do it after you explained? It's simple enough.

                  I live near one of the 1369 locations and find that they make a very good one - with microfoam and all - if you are in search of other options.

                  1. re: hckybg

                    they tried but while it wasn't terrible it wasn't great either. They were also annoyed with me and swore what I was looking for was called a macchiatto

                    1. re: Gordough

                      It does seem like a lot of places make a macchiato similar to a Cortado. I guess the major difference being that Cortados would typically have more milk and only microfoam. But then sometimes you get a macchiato that is actually just a dollop of foamed milk in an espresso, which is the classic version. I often ask how a place makes a macchiato when I want one and feel like I get a lot of blank stares. And then I have been to other places where they ask if you want a "regular macchiato" or a "Starbucks macchiato." So there you go. As Oliver Strand of the New York Times titles his Tumblr blog, "A Cortado is Not a Minivan."

            2. re: beetlebug

              I really liked their espresso, maybe you could try an Americano and see if it would be more your taste? Or a pour over (which I haven't tried). The staff is very nice; the barista even indulged all my questions and gave me some grounds to try at home (maybe that was Barista Phil!?). Other places do brew Stumptown, but not exclusively and I haven't seen the single origins used at other places (though that doesn't mean they aren't--I'd be surprised if Pavement didn't pull Stumptown single origin espresso sometimes).

              1. re: hckybg

                Hckbg, that was me and I remember you! Pavement does pull single origin spo I believe, so does Fixe, I had a great Ethiopia mordecoffe a few months back! It's great to find great coffee in little shops tucked away in the city:) Boston is really staring to feel like a coffee community you see in otter big cities!

                1. re: Barista Phil

                  Thanks for your help! We now have two manual grinders which I am looking forward to trying, a new Kyocera and a c. 1950s PeDe. I'll look forward to our next visit to Thinking Cup.

              2. re: beetlebug

                Quite comfy indeed my ass is parked in one of their banquettes right now. I'm the dummy eating a cheesecake at 6 in the evening.

            3. Those egg sandwiches sound so good! I wish they'd put their menu online...

              1. Stopped in this morning - yummy egg sandwich with a spicy sausage patty and good cheddar cheese. It's $4, which I feel like is priced right, considering the DD equivalent is $3.20. On a standard everything bagel - toast sounds great but crumbs and business don't mix.

                Brewed coffee was fine if a tad bit weak for my tastes.

                Cute place for that ignored stretch of Tremont - will interesting to see if they can draw enough foot traffic - if they have sidewalk seating in the summer, will surely be a good thing.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Bob Dobalina

                  C had his breakfast sandwich with an english muffin. Not as crumbly as toast but a bit more manageable than a bagel. How were the proportions of stuff to bagel? Often times, I find that the bagel is too big for the stuff and the balance is all off.

                  1. re: beetlebug

                    I thought it was just right. The patty was full size - It was not swallowed up by the bagel, thought the bagel was a bit too doughy - would have appreciated it grilled or double-toasted. Honestly, the bagel to me seemed like the typical bagged bagel - so not exceptional, but perfectly adequate.