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Topic: good espresso in Boston/Cambridge? (12 msgs / 452 lines)
1) From: French Lewis
Hi,
I'm calling on the collective wisdom of the group to
seek out a place to get a good espresso in either
Boston or Cambridge, MA.
My new job has me traveling to these locations
frequently, and sometimes in the afternoon before the
drive back to central CT, I just want a good espresso.
  Granted, I could bring a power inverter, bottle of
water, Gaggia MDF (or my Zass knee mill) and my La
Pavoni Europiccola and make a good espresso before I
hit the road, but if a supplier exists, I would rather
not turn my minivan into a rolling espresso bar.
thanks for the suggestions, and if anyone wants good
espresso in Middletown, CT, Klekolo World Coffee on
Court Street or Sugar Cube Cafe in the plaza at the
junction of Rt 372 and Rt 3 are the places to go
(aside from my house :) )
thanks,
French
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2) From: mirrera
French,
Good cafes in Boston are scarce, but there are a couple.  Simon's on Mass. Ave near Porter Sq. in Cambridge is my recommendation.  They use Terroir coffee on a Marzocco.  The baristi are generally very good, and Jaime, the lead, is excellent.
Diesel in Somerville (the address escapes me) is also pretty decent.
-AdkMike
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3) From: Floyd Lozano
I live in Cambridge, and sure could use some advice on where to find a good
espresso!   I mean we have the north end, full of Italian eateries and cafes
right across the river in Boston - you'd think at least one of those places
would do a good espresso ;)
Someone linked this before: http://www.espressomap.com.  Use zipcode 02139
(mine) and click the LONE pin on the map for directions to Simons.
On 3/26/07, mirrera  wrote:
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4) From: Lynne Biziewski
I've only been to Diesel (Davis Sq., Somerville - hop, skip & jump fr Porter
Sq., Cambridge) once, and I know it's very popular, but I thought it was
awful. Typical burned beans. Had to throw my coffee away.. I may be wrong,
but I don't think they roast their own beans.
It's a bit of a jump fr. Boston/Cambridge, but the Atomic Cafe in Beverly
(north) is a decent roaster. Haven't tried their espresso or any of their
prepared coffees - and it was about a year ago when I bought some of their
roasts when I had run out of greens. I was very pleased. If I find myself up
there, I'm going to try some espresso, just to see how it is.
Cafe Vittoria is old school Italian in the North End, but, again, I have no
idea how their espresso is today (one could call to see if they use a local
microroaster, or something like Lavazza - I would expect the latter). Lots
of people like George Terrior's coffee (served at various shops & at Whole
Earth), but whenever I had it, I thought it was bitter & just plain awful.
Not at all like what he served at his old Coffee Connection.
Now I did a search on Boston Chowhound, and found a message from someone who
mentioned a place called Batian Peak. Apparently they were coffee farmers in
Kenya, and they've established this little place (the menu they have on
their site says they have seating for 12) to sell both the Kenyan coffee and
tea (never realized that tea was a product of Kenya). I called, & spoke to
Philip (think he actually runs the company). They are at 131 Boston Post
Road in Billerica - now this is not close to me, but I'm going to consider
it a pilgrimage to actually visit there! Although the pdf menu at his site
says they have espresso, he said they don't serve that.. but I can't wait to
visit this place. Will let everyone know what it's like, when I do, of
course!
Lynne
On 3/26/07, mirrera  wrote:
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5) From: Lynne Biziewski
I figured the same about Vittoria. Haven't been there since the 70's - I'll
probably go there this summer, maybe have some gelato - for the nostalgia.
There's little in the North End that's actually Italian these days..
Yes, can't wait to visit Batian Peak. Will have to borrow my son's car
(makes me think of a song by Don White, a local folksinger - whole song is
about turning the tables on our kids.. including stealing the keys to the
kid's car, climbing out the window so they don't realize it... on second
thought, I'll take the stairs..)
Lynne
On 3/26/07, mirrera  wrote:
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6) From: Lynne Biziewski
Dave -
Hey, my oldest daughter lives in the same area (although I hadn't even heard
of Simon's before). I love Davis Square... and yes, it is mandartory to brag
about the kids, always. Good articles, btw, and so cool that they chose to
interview your daughter. Way to go!
I gave George Howell the name of his company as his last name. Yes, you are
right that any shop can mess up on the brewing and preparation of a coffee.
You mention all these places I used to get to somewhat frequently, but not
<Snip>
Yeah, there are times it seems that the only people I talk to have four legs
and shed long black & white hair that I wear so fashionably on my clothes.
But the snow is disappearing, and I'm near the T, so I'm going to start
exploring some more...
Have you been to one of George Howell's open houses?
<Snip>
No - had no idea that he had any! But I'll make it a point to get over
there, sooner or later, and will appreciate help with directions. Isn't it
amazing how the online map searches sometimes leads people by way of, say
China, to get to local places?
Lynne
P.S.I've been to both Redbones & Uncle Pete's (before they moved to Revere,
though) and I thought that Uncles Pete's was better. But that was a LONG
time ago... need to compare... all in the name of scientific study.

7) From: Lynne Biziewski
I was going to say just the same thing! Except I only do French Press right
now - don't have any (working) espresso equipment, and my sad, sad stove in
this apt. forced me to put my little Mokapot away, at least for now.
Hey, we REALLY should have a local get together. I wouldn't mind having it
here in Malden... if someone could bring some folding chairs.
Lynne
On 3/26/07, David Morgenlender  wrote:
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8) From: David Morgenlender
I've been to Diesel a couple of times.  I thought the espresso was ok ...=
 but
that was before I really knew anything beyond *$.  My daughter Julie =
lives
between Diesel & Simon's.  Since I haven't been to Diesel in many months =
& I've
never been to Simon's, I think Julie is in need of a visit!  (I also =
never have
a problem finding an excuse to go to Redbones for barbecue!)  :)
My old iPod started dying recently, so I replaced it with one that =
handles
podcasts.  I've been catching up on old CoffeeGeek podcasts when I =
exercise.  I
get very jealous hearing about one great cafe in Vancouver (& elsewhere) =
after
another ... not to mention Chicago, and other cities.  It almost makes me=
 want
to open!  (And with better atmosphere than Diesel!)
You mention all these places I used to get to somewhat frequently, but =
not much
anymore ... Beverly ) a little, Billerica, North End.  I need to get out =
more!
Have you been to one of George Howell's open houses?  I strongly =
recommend them.
He's a great speaker, and interesting to talk with afterwards.  You get =
to cup
many beans.  When I was there, he had examples from different altitudes =
so one
could taste the differences.  Then afterwards, his barista pulled =
espressos from
many different beans, discussed technique, machines, etc.  If you do go, =
I'll be
happy to provide clues on finding the place ... the website's directions =
just
didn't do the trick.  I spoke to George about it afterwards ... I had =
arrived 30
minutes late, after leaving a generous amount of time to find the place. =
 He
said he had wondered why the place was almost empty at start time!  There=
 ended
up being a good crowd.
I've bought his roasted beans from his website & Whole Foods.  I prefer =
my
homeroast, but I thought the beans were pretty good.  But I've never =
tried them
at a cafe ... it's possible to ruin any beans!
BTW, I was pleasantly surprised to learn Julie appeared in the Boston =
Globe
today ... p. 6 of the Business section (which gets you into the Living =
section).
Also the link:http://www.boston.com/news/globe/living/articles/2007/03/26/nice_work_if_=you_can_get_it/
If you click on the picture there you'll hear a voice clip.  Sorry if =
this is
OT, but I believe it's mandatory for a Dad to brag in such a situation!  =
:)
Dave
On Mon, 26 Mar 2007 15:54:45 -0400, you wrote:
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Porter
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wrong,
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Beverly
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their
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their
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myself up
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 no
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local
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Lots
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Whole
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awful.
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 who
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farmers in
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 and
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to
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consider
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site
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wait to
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Mass.
<Snip>
Terroir
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 the
<Snip>=
<Snip>
==========================
==========================
=====
Dave Morgenlender
e-mail: dmorgen
==========================
==========================
=====

9) From: David Morgenlender
French,
Others have written telling you everything I know about good espresso =
around
Boston ... a very sad state of affairs! :)
There is one place between Boston & CT which hasn't been mentioned ... my=
 place!
The espresso isn't very good (yet), but I do have the equipment =
(GeneCafe, Rocky
& Silvia) & the beans.  So if you ever feel like stopping by & are brave =
enough
to try my espresso, or want to pull your own shots on my equipment, just =
let me
know!
Dave
On Mon, 26 Mar 2007 06:23:05 -0700 (PDT), you wrote:
<Snip>
<Snip>
unsvbscribes) go to =http://sweetmarias.com/maillistinfo.html#personalsettings==========================
==========================
=====
Dave Morgenlender
e-mail: dmorgen
==========================
==========================
=====

10) From: David Morgenlender
Lynne,
I also love Davis Square;  it's a real "happenin'" place for the young'ns=
 these
days.
I looked at a map ... it turns out Simon's is further away from her (& =
Davis
Square) than I thought ... it's not between Davis & Porter Square, it's =
between
Porter & Harvard Square.  But it's still not very far to go for good =
espresso!
:)
There is a nice walking path heading out from Davis Square.  Many dogs =
take
their humans there.  There are also some really nice dog parks in the =
area.
We've been to one of the parks in Arlington ... fun for both dogs & =
humans.  Let
me know if you're interested & I'll get directions from my daughter.  She=
 & Cody
are best buddies, so Cody also gets to enjoy Davis Square!
Uncle Pete's precedes my time in Davis Square!
Getting to George Howell's company (Terroir) is one case where Mapquest =
is not
totally to blame.  There is truly a tricky turn (180 degrees).  There are=
 also
multiple streets with the same name in the area.  To top it all off there=
 are no
signs telling you you're at Terroir, even when standing in front of the =
building
(although that may have changed by now)!  Otherwise, directions were =
perfect! :)
Dave
On Mon, 26 Mar 2007 17:14:46 -0400, you wrote:
<Snip>
heard
<Snip>
brag
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to
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are
<Snip>
coffee.
<Snip>
not
<Snip>
out
<Snip>
legs
<Snip>
clothes.
<Snip>
it
<Snip>
say
<Snip>
Revere,
<Snip>
==========================
==========================
=====
Dave Morgenlender
e-mail: dmorgen
==========================
==========================
=====

11) From: David Morgenlender
Lynne,
I would love to do a local get together.  I've got a few folding chairs I=
 could
bring (if I can find them all).  We can do the following get together =
here in
Newton.  
Dave
On Mon, 26 Mar 2007 17:18:17 -0400, you wrote:
<Snip>
right
<Snip>
 in
<Snip>
it
<Snip>
 my
<Snip>
(GeneCafe,
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brave
<Snip>
just
<Snip>
<Snip>
==========================
==========================
=====
<Snip>
==========================
==========================
=====
<Snip>
==========================
==========================
=====
Dave Morgenlender
e-mail: dmorgen
==========================
==========================
=====

12) From: Floyd Lozano
I went to Simon's today while waiting for my bike to be put together at
Wheelworks.  It's a short (5 min) walk out of the T stop - you get out the
door, you turn left, you walk down Mass Ave and it's on the other side next
to what's probably the last remaining Hollywood Express video store in the
nation that hasn't been ground out of existence by Blockbuster and Netflix.
I wanted to get a reference for what my espresso is supposed to taste like.
I had a single espresso (Terroir - Daterra, South Italian) and it actually
tasted pretty close to what I have pulled before at home on the Gaggia
Evolution once or twice.  It tasted exactly like the espresso that Peter
Lynagh (the barista / roaster / taster that works for George Howell over in
Acton, you will see him when you go to the open house and he will pull you a
fine SO espresso).  I thought to myself 'ok, so I guess this is what
espresso is supposed to taste like', but honestly it was not my favorite.
Then the barista suggested I try the other coffee, a blend from Paradise
Roasters, their Espresso Classico.  He said it would be a more balanced
espresso.  Ok, I'll bite.
WOW.  It was chocolatey and sweet, caramelly, unlike any espresso that's
ever come out of my machine.  While both were fine pulls from what I have
seen, this is the drink I think I could sit there and drink all day (if my
heart didn't give out first).  I am going to have to pore through Tom's
reviews again and see if he has an espresso blend that is like this one.  Of
course, my other problem is I think Rocky needs new burrs, because I can
grind down to +4 and still not get anything longer than a 16 sec pull for a
double shot out of my machine, and that's not right (4 day rested Liquid
Amber roasted FC+/Vienna and fresh ground).  I'm practically standing on the
pf, I tamp so hard and I am not a small guy.  I wish there was a way to get
a good 'reference grind' to see if the problem is my machine or my grinder
or my roast or me.  Or what combination of those ;P
At any rate, I'll visit Simon's again.  I will have to hit some places in
the North End (little Italy) in Boston and see how they stack up too!
-F
On 4/1/07, David Morgenlender  wrote:
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