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Espresso in Cambridge

alvino Oct 30, 2013 02:23 PM

I'll be visting the Boston area from Toronto early December and hope to have a Saturday afternoon in Cambridge. Can anyone recommend a cafe there for a good espresso macchiato?

  1. t
    TimTamGirl Nov 4, 2013 11:30 AM

    I would push Dwelltime over any of the Harvard Square options. It's not far away - it's only about a 20-minute walk from Harvard - and the coffee, food and atmosphere all handily beat anything I've found in Harvard.

    If you're willing to go a bit farther afield, though, Three Little Figs puts everywhere else to shame. It's at 278 Highland Ave in Somerville, about 10 minutes' walk from the Davis Square red line stop (which is only two stops away from Harvard). I lived for many years in Sydney, where coffee and cafe culture and food are taken SERIOUSLY; this is the only place in the Boston area that comes close to Sydney standard in all of those areas. (In fact, my fiancee and I have nicknamed it Shenkin, after our favourite cafe down there.) It's very worth the trip. http://www.3littlefigs.com/

    1 Reply
    1. re: TimTamGirl
      Bob Dobalina Nov 5, 2013 01:09 AM

      Agree on 3lf...had a nice chat in line there past weekend with a lady from the neighborhood remarking how she has seen four different businesses in this spot and none of them did well like 3lf. I consider myself very spoiled to have a neighborhood coffee spot of such quality.

      Though I must say that the cappuccino I had at Thinking Cup recently was even better than 3lf.

    2. k
      kewpie Nov 2, 2013 06:24 PM

      simons pulls a great shot( cambridge) voltage and dwelltime are excellent as well
      if centered in harvard sq, crema and burdicks chocolates( brattle street, cambridge, ) both pull great shots, in fact we prefer burdicks. always a great cup(20x +)--- i let the secret out

      1 Reply
      1. re: kewpie
        alvino Nov 4, 2013 10:57 AM

        Thanks for these recommendations. I expect I'll be spending most of my time that day in/around Harvard, so I particularly appreciate the Harvard recommendations. Happy to hear from others regarding these or other Harvard espresso suggestions.

      2. k
        Klunco Oct 31, 2013 02:01 PM

        Agree that Dwelltime pulls the best espresso in Cambridge and offers exceptional coffee. I haven't been as bowled over with their food offerings; I suppose I would call them decent to solid. Be aware they take espresso/coffee very seriously which seems to inspire love/hate. If you long for perfectly pulled, exceptional espresso though you will love them.

        I've had mixed results at Voltage for both coffee and straight espresso BUT they are really focused on their Latte's. They have a whole menu of high quality, funky flavored latte's which is worth a stop for if you like lattes.

        Crema is in the heart of Harvard Square which is nice and they have good sandwiches, salads, and baked goods. Their brewed coffee is good, but their espresso is a bit hit or miss and they certainly aren't obsessive about it. It's always packed, so finding a seat can be tricky, but it's nice in that it's got that classic coffee house feel.

        Simon's coffee which has two locations on Mass Ave (one near Harvard, one near Porter Square) pulls good consistent espresso and has good coffee.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Klunco
          qianning Nov 2, 2013 06:31 AM

          Agree that Simon's espresso is more consistent than Crema's, and would even venture that for those of us of a certain age Simon's is the place with classic coffee house feel!

        2. p
          phatchris Oct 31, 2013 01:08 PM

          I like RJ Gourmet in East Cambridge.

          3 Replies
          1. re: phatchris
            valcfield Oct 31, 2013 01:39 PM

            RJ was a cute spot but has, alas, closed.

            1. re: valcfield
              qianning Nov 2, 2013 06:28 AM

              How sad.....loved their espresso. Always thought they pulled a better espresso than the Barisimo/Dwelltime guys, even though using the same beans.

              1. re: valcfield
                phatchris Nov 2, 2013 06:04 PM

                That's too bad, great espresso although every time I stopped in it was very quite.

            2. opinionatedchef Oct 30, 2013 08:25 PM

              hey, CHs, al is comin' from ToRONto; plse mention the area location of your recommended spots! i myself had no clue where dwelltime is, so:


              about a 10 minute walk from Central Sq. T stop.
              Voltage is a 5 min walk from the Kendall Sq T stop (behind MIT
              In Harv Sq., i often hear recs for the food at Cafe Crema on Brattle; how's their espresso?

              3 Replies
              1. re: opinionatedchef
                Luther Oct 31, 2013 04:24 AM


                1. re: opinionatedchef
                  Blumie Oct 31, 2013 07:34 AM

                  chef, i think your laptop is missing some keys.

                  1. re: opinionatedchef
                    Parsnipity Oct 31, 2013 11:14 AM

                    I love Crema's coffee and milk-drinks (lattes, etc). Not sure I've had their espresso straight up. They brew George Howell beans.

                  2. Luther Oct 30, 2013 04:17 PM

                    Area Four wins for me. Voltage is also worth checking out if you're in the area (closed Sunday). I don't like Dwelltime as much as the other commenters apparently.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Luther
                      Uncle Yabai Oct 30, 2013 05:37 PM

                      I like Dwelltime. In particular, I like it especially because they are nasty to people who show up, plop their laptop open, order nothing, and take advantage of the free wifi. My kind of place.

                    2. Matt H Oct 30, 2013 03:59 PM

                      +1 Dwelltime along with Voltage in Kendall.

                      1. v
                        valcfield Oct 30, 2013 02:29 PM

                        Dwelltime, in my opinion, is the best, and certainly most consistent, shot of espresso in the city. Closer call once you start getting into the milk drinks, but i'd still recommend it over anywhere else. Some of their pastries are actually quite good these days too. in particular, croissants if its not too late in the afternoon, their almond tart if they have it, apple and pecan pie same. brioche skippable.

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