By Ryan LaRosa
Boston is home to a wide variety of specialty coffee shops and roasters. In recent years, the scene has grown across the city, with some older shops expanding to multiple locations and new shops popping up quickly. Here at Boston University, Starbucks is a mainstay, with many locations across campus. While convenient, there’s so much more to coffee than Starbucks. Whenever you have a second, take the opportunity to venture away from campus for a moment and enjoy one of Boston’s many great coffee shops.
Blue Bottle Coffee is a major player in the craft coffee industry, beginning in Oakland, California, and expanding now to multiple cities across the United States and Japan. They are known for their single-origin coffees and the minimalist design of their cafes. Now with three locations across the Boston area, one in Harvard Square, one in the Financial District and one in the Prudential Center, more and more people across the city have access to their coffee offerings.
There is definitely a focus on simplicity in all of their cafes, and it shows in their menu and coffee options. They specialize in simple coffee drinks that let the flavor of each unique roast and bean variety shine through. If you like your coffee black or typically order coffee drinks that use little or no milk, you will probably like Blue Bottle. The staff are extremely knowledgeable and helpful, so if you aren’t sure what you might like, simply ask and they will point you in the right direction.
It’s interesting to see so many “third-wave” coffee companies entering the Boston market. The third-wave coffee movement focuses on high-end coffee production, seeing it as a complex drink to be taken seriously. And there is definitely a place for these companies alongside the more homegrown offerings. The more cafes that open up in Boston, the easier it will be to get fantastic coffee wherever you are in the city.
Blue Bottle is a great addition to the Boston area coffee scene with a lot of unique offerings that are hard to find anywhere else.
Here are a few ideas of what to try if you ever find yourself near a Blue Bottle cafe:
Blue Bottle typically has at least two, if not more, coffee bean options for their drip coffee at any given time. They tend to be a lighter roast, full of different flavors. This is where the staff come into play and can help you choose which roast option you’ll like best — whether that’s a lighter, more citrusy coffee or something a little more traditional. Blue Bottle puts out some coffee options with extremely unique flavors. You might be surprised how different plain old drip coffee can taste all from using specific beans and roasts.
Just like their drip coffee, Blue Bottle usually has at least two, if not more, espresso roasts available. Definitely ask whoever’s helping you to sort out which you might like best. Blue Bottle does, of course, offer cappuccinos, lattes and other milk-based espresso drinks, but I would recommend at least trying a straight espresso shot because of the truly unique flavor their beans have.
This Belgian waffle variation is absolutely delicious and not particularly easy to find in Boston. It consists of a delicious cake-y waffle made with orbs of pearl sugar that caramelize and create small, crunchy pockets of sugar throughout the waffle. You absolutely have to try one if you find yourself near a Blue Bottle location. At only $3, they’re a steal.
New Orleans-Style Cold Brew
This style of cold brew is made with a very dark classic French roast paired with pieces of chicory. The result is a very dark, earthy cold brew that is almost always served with milk and some sweetener. It is delicious and a must try.