A Coffee Guide of the Greater Boston Area

North America

USA

I have a real coffee problem and my poor heart does not thank me for it. But a girl needs artificial aid to keep up with this nonstop, fast-paced, capitalistic drain that is society—I also sometimes just need a change of scenery after hours of sitting in the same room.

Work vibes only

I wanted to give Boston a proper send-off, and compile the ultimate guide to Boston, but Boston is a small town with hospitals and schools, a downtown, some history, and not too much else to offer—no shade, just facts. Plus, most of my time in Boston was spent with my laptop and a coffee to my left, so why not a list of the one thing I’ve perfected while in Boston: a coffee guide of one of the biggest college towns in the world.

This list was created based on what I specifically look for when searching for a coffee shop to do work in. So there’s no room for Dunkin or Starbucks here.

Hahvad Square: are you a student, a tourist, a prospective? No one knows

1. Forge Baking Company 

This is one of the few places where I feel like the student population doesn’t overpower the entire shop. It’s a no frills, all business vibe with a splash of industrial decor. If you want cozy this might not be the place for you, but if you’re looking for a clean and minimalist environment to help you focus this is a great spot. It’s also 2 blocks from a park if you need a quick break.

Access: this is a little out of the way, accessible by bus or a short walk from Porter station

Outlets: few and far between

Wifi: sit closer to the entrance for faster internet

Food: never sampled their food, but they have a small selection of pastries

Side of ice cream with your coffee anyone?

2. Tatte Bakery & Café 

This is not your hole in the wall—wow how did I find this place—kind of spot, so I’ve visited a few of their locations since I like them so much. Everyone needs something different to do their best work; I need chaos. My background needs to be a Where’s Waldo mess of activity and noise. Into my sophomore year I discovered quiet libraries and solitary dorm rooms were not my vibe, so I was lucky when I found Tatte. It’s always packed to the brim and the noise level even rivals sound canceling headphones. Apart from the optimal working conditions, they also have some of the largest selection of food. There’s pastries, breads, cakes, pizza, and even hot meals.

Access: there are a few locations, but most are located within walking distance to a train station or somewhere where there is heavy foot traffic

Outlets: as long as you stick to corners you will find a few (if you make it to the Cambridge location go upstairs, they have more outlets by the bar)

Wifi: slow af since there are so many people trying to use it

Food: the closest thing you’ll find to a French bakery in Boston

It's pronounced - Taa-te - as in Tate Modern. I do not accept any other iterations

3. Danish Pastry House 

Convenience is everything. And when your groggy shell of a body needs a place to work the café 2 blocks away seems like the one and only option. It’s the perfect compromise of quiet and lively. It gives you the human interaction you crave with the silence you might need to get all that work done ( as I sip on my latte, writing this post). It’s a cozy corner spot that reminds you of that family-owned shop you went to for your dose of people watching. And if you’re not trying to spend your evening with panicking hordes of students furiously typing away (me, I am the panicking student furiously typing away), there’s a decent flow of local grandmas spending some wholesome time together.

Access: it’s a bit far from the closest station (Davis) but one 6-minute bus ride (or 20-minute walk) can drop you off in front of the shop

Outlets: exactly 2 outlets: one by the nook at the front door and the other in the far right corner

Wifi: fastest you’ll find on this list

Food: aside from the obligatory pastries you can get freshly made sandwiches and paninis

"coffee and friends make the perfect blend," thank you optimistic sign attempting to sooth their drowning patrons

4. Bourbon Coffee

This coffee shop is a baby chain. They are direct from the farm, sustainable, black-owned international brand first founded in Kigali, Rwanda back in 2007. Since then they have expanded to 8 stores worldwide with stores in DC, Cambridge, MA, and Rwanda. Both their DC and Boston locations offer optimal working environments. They offer choices between comfortable couch seats, wooden bench sections, to high rise bar seating. It’s the type of shop that offers something for everyone. There are areas where you can quietly work, love seats by the window you can people watch, or outside seats to enjoy the spring sun. A little tip if you ever make the trip…if you want to be more adventurous try the cold brew, one of the better ones I’ve tried.

Access: super accessible; a block from Porter station

Outlets: plenty of outlets throughout the cafe, some even have extension cords already plugged in

Wifi: pretty fast, but the system sometimes disconnects from some devices

Food: there’s a good variety from wraps and sandwiches to smoothies

Support your local black business

5. Café Zing

I’ll always be partial to bookstore-coffee shop hybrids. It’s the perfect setting if you are as easy to distract as I am. You have the quiet setting of a bookstore with the controlled chit-chat of a coffee shop and the perfect backdrop of books to pass time if you need a little procrastination break. It’s also in the middle of a strip if you need to stretch your leg or do some of your weekly groceries. There’s not too much seating, but if you are looking to unwind you can take a book and flip through the pages in the outside seating next to the tulips.

Access: across the street from porter station

Outlets: multiple across the window facing bar

Wifi: reasonably fast

Food: one of the smaller selections, there are a few sandwiches and pastry options

Anyone want to open a bookstore café with me?

             **All establishments listed are supporters of the oat milk movement.

Comment below your favorite local coffee spot.   

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