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 and enjoy one of Boston’s many great coffee shops.
While not exactly a coffee shop, Clear Flour does serve coffee — very good coffee, at that. The star here, however, is the bread. The bakery has been serving up some of the area’s best bread, pastries and desserts for nearly 40 years from their corner shop in Brookline, not far from Packard’s Corner.
There’s nowhere to sit inside the shop. The vast majority of the space is dedicated to exactly what you’d expect: baking. Bread is taken very seriously here and it shows in the end result. As soon as you get through the door the smell alone is worth the trip.
Clear Flour offers a wide variety of constantly rotating artisan European breads. You can check their website for a list of what days of the week certain breads and pastries are available. Just know it’s not uncommon for them to sell out of crowd pleasers early in the day, so there are no guarantees.
Lines are also not uncommon at Clear Flour, especially very long lines that extend out the door and down the block. That just goes to show that Clear Flour is putting out a product that’s hard to find anywhere else, being made with love and attention that keeps people coming back for years.
With so many varieties of breads and pastries available, it can be hard to decide what to take home from Clear Flour. One thing is certain, you won’t be disappointed by any of their baguettes. Whether you choose the basic, sesame or ancienne, it’s sure to be delicious.
The ancienne, a French phrase roughly meaning “old fashioned,” is an especially crusty and delicious baguette similar to what you would find in a boulangerie in Paris. Apart from baguettes, Clear Flour offers an array of bread styles from Germany, Italy, France and beyond. The focaccia and rye are both absolutely delicious.
Aside from breads, Clear Flour puts out pastries including croissants, scones, tarts and tea cakes, all of which are exceptional. The chocolate chunk cookies have gained a great deal of recognition over the years and you definitely have to buy at least a few if it’s your first time visiting the bakery.
As far as coffee is concerned, considering this is a coffee blog, Clear Flour doesn’t slouch. They serve up George Howell beans, which always make for an excellent cup of joe.
The aspect of Clear Flour that stands out the most is the people who work there. If you go and stand in line for a bit, there’s a good chance someone who works at Clear Flour will know at least a few customers by name, asking if they want their usual or how their kids are. That same kind of care and service is extended to every customer, whether you’re a regular or first time visitor. There’s always something special baking at Clear Flour.