The 20 Best Coffee Shops in Boston
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Even as European mega-chain Caffe Nero and third-wave American pioneers like Intelligentsia, Blue Bottle, and La Colombe have encroached on Dunkin’ country, the specialty coffee scene in Boston has amped things up. From classic coffeehouses in Cambridge to modern roasting companies in Brighton, here’s where coffee connoisseurs and caffeine fiends should go for their next cup (or three).
1369 Coffee House
A Cambridge community linchpin, this classic coffee shop has been serving up French roast, cold brew, and more at two art-filled locations for nearly 30 years. Besides the fresh roasts, 1369 is just as reliable for efficient service and specialty drinks like the frozen mocha slide, house-made chai, and a destination hot chocolate.
1369 Cambridge St., Inman Square, 617-576-1369; 757 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square, Cambridge, 617-576-4600, 1369coffeehouse.com.
3 Little Figs
Cofounder Katie Rooney is a baker by trade, so this café is well-known for delicious scones, muffins, breads, and specialties like a family recipe for spinach pie. But the coffee program is quietly one of the region’s best, with baristas brewing Tandem Coffee out of Portland, Maine, alongside ever-changing guest roasters from all around the country. We love the outdoor seating options, too.
278 Highland Ave., Somerville, 617-623-3447, 3littlefigs.com.
At this bright and cheery coffee shop, co-owner Alan Draper will likely pull your espresso order himself. Draper opened this Coolidge Corner café with his wife, Erke, after successfully launching 4A Coffee Roasters in Kazakhstan. He is a meticulous coffee expert, taking the same care to top off your cortado with a velvety layer of foam as he does roasting 4A’s signature Silk Route blend to nutty, fruity perfection.
419 Harvard St., Coolidge Corner, Brookline, 617-738-4444, 4acoffee.com.
7 Pond Coffee Bar
A smaller, second outpost for Cafe Fixe founder Maks Milstein, this coffee bar serves up well-balanced beverages in a relaxed environment with natural light and jazz lilting in the background, like its Brookline sibling. But this narrow location boasts a quick walk to Jamaica Pond, the perfect place to enjoy your hand-brewed Barrington Coffee roast of the day.
7 Pond St., Jamaica Plain, 617-524-7663.
This spacious Mid-Cambridge café—originally branded (and beloved) as Dwelltime—showcases Barismo’s Woburn-roasted coffees through meticulously executed methods like siphon-brewing and draft cold brew. The full bakery on-site makes the treats for Barismo’s other locations in Kendall Square and East Arlington.
364 Broadway, Cambridge, 617-714-5536; 171 Massachusetts Ave., Arlington, 339-368-7300; 295 Third St., Cambridge, 857-259-6667, barismo.com.
Broadsheet Coffee Roasters
When Cambridge’s first roasting company debuted in 2017, its coffees already had a pedigree: Then-hobbyist roaster Aaron MacDougall had earned a couple “best in show” nods at competitions like Genuine Origin Coffee Project’s Roast and Go. Now, Broadsheet offers a rotating selection of sweet and complex coffees every day (roasted on-site twice weekly), plus a robust café menu and a sunny spot to relax on an underserved stretch between Union and Harvard squares.
100 Kirkland St., Cambridge, 617-945-2867, broadsheetcoffee.com.
This atmospheric shop is just a few steps from Lechmere Station, making it a convenient commuter stop for Counter Culture espresso drinks and grab-and-go Liège waffles in the morning. Later, it transforms into a natural wine bar—so it’s an all-day option for anybody who appreciates a well-crafted beverage.
For 20 years, this surprisingly large location has fueled the Davis Square community with strong renditions of Black Cat espresso and other Intelligentsia Coffee Roasters blends. It’s one of the best places in Somerville for people-watching, and it was first for the locally grown café company that’s also given us Union Square’s Bloc, Forge Baking Co., and its next-door ice cream shop.
257 Elm St, Somerville, 617-629-8717, diesel-cafe.com.
George Howell Coffee
The eponymous owner kickstarted the country’s third-wave coffee obsession by selling his original Massachusetts company, Coffee Connection, to Starbucks in the 1990s. Since then, George Howell has returned to his roots of sourcing the best single-origin beans, now roasted in Acton, for a bar-setting selection of espressos and pour-overs at his flagship café at the Godfrey Hotel, and food-hall outposts inside the Boston Public and Time Out markets. Oh, and Frappuccino fans? Allow us to direct you to the Godfrey location’s seasonally available creamy, sweet frozen drink–aptly named the Original.
505 Washington St., Boston, 857-957-0217; Boston Public Market, 100 Hanover St.; Time Out Market, 401 Park Dr., Fenway, Boston, georgehowellcoffee.com.
The coffee bar for Central Mass. specialty roasting company Gracenote is a standing-room-only space spanning just more than 200 square feet. But thanks to its baristas’ genuinely friendly hospitality and knowledge of the exquisite roasts constituting the drip coffee of the day—not to mention the gorgeous live-edge olive bar, and the sleek state-of-the-art brewing equipment—Gracenote looms large on Boston’s coffee scene.
108 Lincoln St., Boston, gracenotecoffee.com.
Jaho Coffee Roaster and Wine Bar
Whether it’s espresso or an espresso martini, the spacious, vaguely steampunk Chinatown-adjacent location has your fuel. The large bar (which boasts free Wifi, by the way) is our favorite outpost of this Salem-based roasting company, though it also branches on the North Shore, in the Back Bay, in the South End, and in Tokyo. (Yes, Tokyo.)
665 Washington St., Boston, 857-233-4094, jaho.com.
Kōhi Coffee Co.
The sleek and chic Brighton outpost provides the Boston Landing area with Tandem Coffee options ranging from Chemex-brewed pour-overs to boxes of batched brew for up to 10 officemates. It’s a citified version of the artisan coffee shop that got its start in Provincetown, and Kōhi also has a smaller location (with a walk-up window!) on Summer Street in downtown Boston.
130 Guest St., Brighton, 617-378-5738; 125 Summer St., Boston, kohicoffee.com.
Night Shift Roasters
When Night Shift got into the coffee business as part of its expansion into downtown Boston, it did so with the same quality control with which it approaches beer-making. Seasonally sourced beans are roasted in small batches at Night Shift’s Chelsea headquarters, then prepared under the supervision of former George Howell Coffee barista and 2018 U.S. Brewers Cup champion Rose Woodard. Bonus for night owls who don’t drink alcohol: The unpretentious, neon-lit coffee bar—conveniently colocated at the taproom next to North Station—is open until 10 p.m.
1 Lovejoy Wharf, Suite 101, Boston, 617-456-7687, nightshiftfamily.com.
Nine Bar Espresso
Situated right across from the Davis Square MBTA station, this grab-and-go shop is super convenient—and with a range of roasts sourced from the likes of Gracenote, Broadsheet, and Flight Coffee Co. of Bedford, N.H., there are always a ton of great choices (not to mention, pastries from Salem’s A&J King). A sister café to Simon’s Coffee Shop in Porter Square, Nine Bar also has a location in Downtown Crossing.
11 Holland St., Davis Square, Somerville, (617) 764-1915; 45 Bromfield St., Downtown Crossing, Boston, ninebarespresso.net.
The only international location for this beloved Japanese roasting company serves up excellent coffee, matcha, and more inside a cool space. The stadium-style seating overlooking the espresso bar is the perfect perch to watch the baristas play with foam—pro tip: Ask for a custom latte art design with your order.
10 Milk St., Downtown Crossing, Boston, 617-780-7139, ogawacoffeeusa.com.
As one of the first Boston-area cafés to offer pour-over and cold-brew coffee, Pavement has always been serious about the beans—but in 2018, the local chain started roasting their own. Single-origin styles are featured as pour-over options at the Brighton headquarters, and the house Rathskeller Espresso blend and other seasonal roasts are available at all eight local outposts. Each coffeehouse serves Pavement’s homemade bagels and other food, and most are great places to get work done, too.
415 Western Ave., Brighton; 286 Newbury St., Boston, 617-859-9515; 736 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, 617-766-6048; and other locations, pavementcoffeehouse.com.
Recreo Coffee & Roasterie
A roasting company first, founders Miriam and Hector Morales set up this West Roxbury shop in 2014 to showcase coffees from Miriam’s 40-plus-year-old family farm in Nicaragua. Now Recreo has an outpost inside Boston City Hall, too. The original café is the coziest, with exposed-brick walls and warm service, but both locations deal in deliciously fresh, flavorful coffee that directly supports the people who harvested it.
1876 Centre St., West Roxbury, 617-755-7018; 1 City Hall Square, Third Floor Mezzanine, Boston, elrecreoestatecoffee.com.
The ultimate Render experience is taking the time to enjoy a hand-poured cup of Tandem or Gracenote Coffee at a table in the gloriously light-filled atrium—or best yet, on the secluded back patio. But a quick stop in for a frothy latte or the sweet, signature malted cold brew—at the South End original or the newer location in downtown Boston—is a welcome respite for any coffee lover.
563 Columbus Ave., Boston, 617-262-4142; 121 Devonshire St., Financial District, Boston, 617-401-2421, rendercoffeebar.com.
Solid Ground Cafe
Newly opened by Mission Hill residents Keith and Lucia A. Patrick in early 2019, this cute café is just what their neighbors ordered: A community spot with all-day breakfast and lunch, and mismatched mugs of coffee roasted locally by Plymouth’s Speedwell Coffee.
742 Huntington Ave., Boston, 617-487-5557, solidgroundcafe.com.
Winter Hill Brewing
The founders of this café-by-day, brewery-by-night were developing a beer business plan when they learned the landlord chose their proposal over a Starbucks. They realized the neighborhood did lack a community-focused coffee house, so they built out their five-barrel brewhouse to include one. It features a full espresso bar (with Wifi), ample seating (and outlets), and a Counter Culture Coffee program (open weekdays at 7 a.m., and at 8 a.m. on weekends). Cheers!
328 Broadway, Somerville, 617-718-2337, winterhillbrewing.com.