Get your caffeine fix
Almost every street in Boston is home to a Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks (or both), but neighborhood coffee shops also have their own niche in our beloved city.
Why not try one of these local caffeine suppliers? Meet a friend, study, or just sip away the afternoon. Here is a sampling of our favorite small and independent coffee shops around Boston — you’ll be buzzing in no time.
Pictured: Lattes from Wired Puppy.
College friends Marley Brush and Liza Baer-Kahn studied abroad together in Europe and fell in love with the cafe culture. “It was something that we had talked about as a pipe dream, so when the opportunity presented itself, we knew we had to take advantage,” Brush said about opening the cafe.
On the menu: The Red Crema, a tea latte made with rooibos tea, honey, and cinnamon.
Boston Common Coffee Co.
When owners Peter Femino and Tony Massari opened the original BCC six years ago, they wanted to create a “middle of the line” coffee shop that served a medium roast and fresh, homemade breakfast food. It seems to be a successful formula: The business partners now have three Boston locations.
On the menu: The SaltalaMocchia, a salted caramel mocha latte, named for Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
Zume’s Coffee House
The art on the walls of this Charlestown cafe changes every three months. The current exhibit, by Amy Rizzico, consists of abstract mixed media.
On the menu: The Eggnog latte topped with homemade whipped cream and nutmeg.
Equal Exchange Café
“Since we buy directly from small scale coffee producers, we put a lot of care and energy into the roast,” said owner Meghan Hubbs, who helped open the cafe in 2009. Everything sold at Equal Exchange is fair trade and organic, and the coffee is roasted right in West Bridgewater.
On the menu: The menu changes monthly, but as the temperature rises, try the iced green tea this summer.
Simon’s Coffee Shop
Everything sold at this Cambridge establishment is local, and all of the shop’s coffee beans come from distributors in Arlington and Acton. “We focus on brewing, rather than on one cup to go or a ‘push the button’ type of coffee,” owner Simon Yu said.
On the menu: Cold brewed thai iced tea.
1736 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-497-7766 Next
The original Wired Puppy is in Provincetown — Brooks Firth opened the Boston location in November 2009. “It feels like my home away from home,” she said of the spot, which sees an eclectic mix of regulars, Newbury Street shoppers, and tourists.
On the menu: The rooibos latte is on our must try list—it’s a South African red tea made with steamed milk, cinnamon, and honey, and can be served either warm or iced. And, grab a muffin, baked fresh daily.
“I had the desire to do something different, to get out of the corporate setting,” owner Alvin Tsang said. The coffees and teas he serves come from Mem, a Somerville-based company, and Fazenda, a Needham-based company.
On the menu: The Mint Chip Latte, flavored with peppermint, can be served iced or hot.
“We both lived in Jamaica Plain and felt that JP could really use a community, neighborhood-oriented coffee shop,” said co-owner Kate Bancroft. Bancroft says she and business partner Korinn Koslofsky have achieved this goal: “I’ve actually seen a lot of neighbors meeting each other in here for the first time.”
On the menu: Made with brown sugar and cinnamon, the Café Cubano sounds irresistible.
284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, 617-524-7890, www.ulacafe.com
P.S. Gourmet Coffee
Owner Jim Fallon estimates that 90 percent of the customers at his 25-year-old South Boston shop are regulars and local residents. Don’t expect a pump of vanilla or hazelnut from these baristas. “Our forte in here, especially compared to the big chains, is that we fresh brew all our flavors,” Fallon explained.
On the menu: The P.S. Special, a mocha made with hazelnut coffee and cinnamon.
106 Dorchester St., South Boston, 617-269-4020 Next
Flat Black Coffee Company
Named after the Australian slang term for espresso, this cafe offers 24 types of coffee. The beans — imported from countries like Honduras, Rwanda, and Haiti — are roasted in Dorchester.
On the menu: The Flat White (pictured), is an Australian style latte. So what exactly does that mean? It’s stronger, and creamier, than the traditional American latte.
Diesel Café and Bloc 11
Tucker Lewis and Jennifer Park own these Somerville coffee stops. At Bloc 11, a bank turned cafe in Union Square, you can sip your coffee inside a vault. Grab a cue stick with your latte for a game of pool at Diesel Cafe in Davis Square (pictured).
On the menu: Snag one of Bloc 11’s mint-flavored mochas.
1369 Coffee House
“One of our main missions is about community, and considering the coffee shop a third place between home and work for people to live another part of their lives,” general manager Annabel Gill said.
On the menu: The London Fog, an Earl Grey tea mixed with steamed milk and vanilla syrup.
Espresso Love started in Martha’s Vineyard and expanded into Boston in 2011. With coffee, sandwiches, burgers, and salads, Espresso Love is good for a quick cup of java or a full-fledged meal.
On the menu: Try the gingerbread latte, made with a double shot of espresso, gingerbread flavoring, and steamed milk.
Other coffee spots to try
Downtown Boston: Sip Cafe
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