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.
Located just across the street from the Davis Square T stop, Nine Bar Espresso is a local cafe serving up a variety of coffee, tea and pastries.
The spot has a minimal feel and is tiny as far as coffee shops go. There is very limited seating, save a few small tables outside and stools along the wall. Nevertheless, the product stands out from the crowd in a few ways — mainly through the designs that their baristas leave on the top of their lattes, cappuccinos and matcha tea drinks.
They use Gracenote Coffee, a local roaster with a high quality product, so you can be sure that your coffee is fresh and has a balanced flavor. They take their tea seriously as well, using Camellia Sinensis leaves to brew each cup fresh.
This shop is excellent, and you should be sure to stop by if you’re in the area. They have easily some of the best-looking coffees in all of Boston — so be sure to snap a picture. Most of the drinks they serve are topped with foamed milk and have a unique design delicately poured on top. If you ask nicely, they might even make a specific design.
Here are some ideas on what to order, although it’s very hard to go wrong with their simple menu.
Green tea latte (or matcha)
This is a relatively unique drink in itself, made from matcha tea, which has a wonderful earthy flavor and aesthetically pleasing green color. Nine Bar does a great job balancing the stronger tea flavors with perfectly frothed milk. The latte’s beautiful color is topped with a design each time. Definitely a must try from Nine Bar.
The flat white is a good option when ordering from Nine Bar because it’s a bit of a different, more time consuming drink. And they know how to get it right. Their flat white has a nice, velvety texture and strong coffee flavor. And if it isn’t busy, the attention to detail required for a flat white will up your chances of getting a great design on top. Even if you get your coffee to go, check under the lid and you’ll likely find a nice design hidden under there.
Chocolate croissant (or any pastry)
Nine Bar features pastries from the Salem-based AJ King Bakery that rotate constantly during the year. There are some that are likely to be there daily, like croissants, and others that you may only find occasionally. You’ll have to call and ask if you want to find out what they have that day. There doesn’t seem to be any set menu for pastries. The chocolate croissant was buttery and flaky with a dark chocolate filling. And it made an absolutely perfect pairing with Nine Bar’s excellent coffee.