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Looking for good lattes in greater Boston - like in Seattle

Are there any coffee houses/restaurants/etc. that make "Seattle-style" lattes in Boston? The foam is thick, sometimes with leaf patterns, etc Here, it seems like the barista's are on an assembly line.

I recently returned from Seattle & now realize that I'm not getting 'real' lattes here. And I'm going through withdrawal.


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  1. Try Thinking Cup or Voltage. I've never been to Seattle, but I think that these two shops have some of the best lattes in the area.

    1 Reply
    1. re: chefematician

      I'll second Voltage. (The owner used to work at Victrola, which you might have guessed from the name.) They're a bit on the weird and experimental side, but I'd call it the only really reliable latte in the area.

    2. What exactly is the problem with Boston lattes (I don't order them myself). Too little foam? Try asking for a cappuccino if that's the problem?

      There are a few good coffee shops in the area--what neighborhood are you looking for? Over in Cambridge, there's Simon's, Crema and Voltage, in Somerville there's Diesel and Bloc 11, and there are no doubt a few respectable ones across the river as well.

      Simon's Coffee House
      1736 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

      Bloc 11 Cafe
      11 Bow St, Somerville, MA 02143

      Crema Cafe
      27 Brattle St, Cambridge, MA 02138

      Diesel Cafe
      257 Elm St, Somerville, MA 02144

      Voltage Coffee & Art
      295 3rd St, Cambridge, MA 02142

      3 Replies
      1. re: emannths

        A cappuccino and a latte are two very different products (albeit made with the same ingredients!). That said, I agree with you that Simon's makes an excellent latte.

        1. re: Blumie

          Oh I know. But if OP's problem is that there's too much like and not enough foam (I'm not sure it is, maybe it's simply that the foam she's getting sucks), won't ordering a cappuccino, especially an American-style one, fix this this?

          1. re: emannths

            I think the OP is using the term "foam" in a different way than the foam in a latte.

      2. Another vote for Voltage and Thinking Cup. Also add Area Four to that list as well.

          1. re: mvi

            I tried Voltage a couple of weeks ago, with high expectations - and I was unimpressed. My Americano was just not good. It tasted like the beans were way past their prime, or they pre-ground the coffee well before my order. I'm willing to give them another try, this time I'll have an espresso and see if they nail it. Milk-based coffee drinks can conceal bad coffee and poor technique, you've got to try it black to really taste the coffee.

            1. re: dmw010

              True, but diluting espresso also isn't the best way to taste coffee...try an espresso and see what you think. I've always been very impressed with Voltage.

              To the OP's question, Voltage definitely has the most inventive lattes around, with lots of interesting flavors. If you are after micro-textured foam and latte art, the options above are all good choices. Simon's is probably my favorite coffee place in the area, at least until Barimo opens dwellTime. You can also try the brand new Render Coffee Bar in the South End, Pavement on Boylston west of Mass Ave., Taste Coffee House in Brookline Village, or even 1369, whose baristas do very nice milk-based drinks. SIP downtown is also very nice and often overlooked.

              Boston has a great and flourishing coffee scene right now, in my opinion it is one of our real strengths.

              1. re: hckybg

                ahh the Voltage lady has finally opened up her shop, eh? (she used to sell drinks at my old job before opening up.)

                I thought there were pretty interesting, too, and well-balanced. I shall have to make a trip soon.

                1. re: tammyh

                  I think it's been about a year since they opened; I read about her old operation, that sounded interesting. Definitely stop by, it's a nice place.

          2. Are Seattle-style lattes like Portland (OR)-style lattes, i.e., Stumptown? If so, nothing in Boston really gets it right. I cried a little tear as I recently had a Stumptown cappuccino... how can I say this? Just wow...just...better...

            4 Replies
            1. re: Bob Dobalina

              No, Bob! Have you been to Simon's or Pavement? I'd put their baristas up against Stumptown's. If they don't match up in your eyes, wait for dwellTime, I think they will knock it out of the park.

              1. re: hckybg

                I really like the service at Pavement. The staff members are quick and efficient, and they have a sense of humor without being unctuous or fake-cheerful. People seem to enjoy working there.

                1. re: hckybg

                  I like Simon's - count me as a fan. But not in the same league as Stumptown, in my opinion. There was just a level of professionalism at Stumptown that I haven't seen in Boston very often, if at all. Of course, I am usually in Simon's on the weekends, so maybe I am getting the 'B' team.

                  Will have to try Pavement soon.

                  1. re: Bob Dobalina

                    You are just smitten by the suspenders and the hats, admit it.

              2. I like Espresso Royale Caffe at 286 Newbury Street. It's the best I've had in Boston, leaf patterns and all. They take forever to prepare your coffee but if you don't mind waiting and dealing with rude baristas this is the place to go (cashier's very friendly though).

                Espresso Royale Caffe
                288 Newbury St, Boston, MA 02115

                1. Taste brews the best coffee in Newton.

                  1. Thanks, everyone. I now have a long list that will keep me busy & awake for a while.
                    In Seattle, I was particulary taken with Vivace & Victrola. I am more into latte than regular coffee, so I appreciate the latte suggestions.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: NHEats

                      I was in Seattle a year ago, and Victrola was absolutely the best I've ever had - straight shot, brewed coffee, or cappuccino. And Zoka was pretty darned close. (Vivace, or the other hand, was a bitter disappointment (pun intended). Given their reputation, I must assume I hit them on a bad day.)

                      Though I haven't tried some of the newer places (Voltage, et al), no place I've tried in the Boston area has hit the mark as well as the better places in Seattle. Almost to my surprise, the best I've had locally is at Atomic Cafe in Beverly.

                      Atomic Cafe
                      265 Cabot St, Beverly, MA

                    2. I don't remember too much about Flat Black (financial district), but their better drinks are their espresso-based drinks. not sure about the foam.

                      1. If you're looking for delicious and beautiful, both The Thinking Cup mentioned above, and Cafe Fixe in Brookline fill the bill.

                        We've never had a problem with the service at Cafe Fixe, but there have been complaints of attitude. We're probably there twice a month.

                        The 1369 Coffeehouse in Inman Square also takes pride in it's designs (lots of pictures of the baristas' artistry on the walls), but be aware that they don't use whole milk. They will mix a little cream in the 2 % before frothing, though, and the espresso drinks are pretty decent. Not legendary, however.

                        1369 Coffeehouse
                        757 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139

                        Cafe Fixe
                        1642 Beacon St, Brookline, MA 02445

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: bear

                          I think Cafe Fixe is outstanding and I too have never had an issue with the service. However, some of the comments from the owner on Yelp regarding customer complaints are astonishing.

                          Cafe Fixe
                          1642 Beacon St, Brookline, MA 02445

                          1. re: johndory

                            Ha, that's pretty entertaining reading. I do love the person who complained that they weren't happy when she brought in a Starbucks coffee, though. Gotta love yelp sometimes.

                            1. re: bear

                              I read a similar one recently, though I can't remember what restaurant was reviewed. It went something like this: "Came here with three friends. They said the food was great but the owner was unhappy that I brought my dinner from another restaurant. One star."

                        2. I do NOT recommend the lattes at the Thinking Cup.

                          They have been AWFUL the three times that I've been there. I want my $15 back....

                          the bread pudding there is decent though, and coincidentally the cheapest desert item on the menu