Beyond Dunkin’: The Best Boston Coffee Shops

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America runs on Dunkin’- and Boston more so than anywhere else. Dunkin’ Donuts provides cheap and delicious coffee and donuts, and is readily available on virtually every block in the city. But while it may seem blasphemous to even suggest it, there are coffee shops other than Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks that will satisfy your caffeine craving. If you are ever interested in expanding your palate, here are some great smaller and independent coffee shops to get your morning fix.

Curio Coffee

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Curio Coffee can be found in Cambridge and has been independently serving specialty coffee and breakfast since 2015. The store is open from 7:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. on weekdays, and from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. on weekends. It’s decorated with eclectic antiques, and features local goods like Counter Culture coffee beans and Taza hot chocolate. With handmade vanilla syrup and fresh-squeezed orange juice, this coffee shop is a necessary breakfast destination. Make sure to try the shop’s specialty, Belgian Liege waffles.

Loyal Nine

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Another Cambridge gem, Loyal Nine is located alongside a working railroad track and features a garage door that opens up onto a trackside patio. Loyal Nine’s website boasts of their East Coast revival; the cafe is dedicated to fostering a direct relationship with local farmers and artisans, serving ethically sourced coffees and teas, and focusing on New England culinary traditions. The cafe is open every day from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. It is also attached to a restaurant that serves supper every day except Mondays, and brunch on Sunday mornings.

Gracenote Coffee

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Gracenote Coffee Roasters started preparing and selling coffee grounds in 2012, and opened an espresso bar in Boston back in 2015. The name refers to a musical grace note, which gives a musical piece ornamentation or embellishment. The founders believe that coffee also has various different notes, from citrus to nuts, and their shop pays homage to those varying notes. Located between Boston’s South End and Chinatown, the shop is open all week and features delicious coffee drinks and pastries.

Ogawa Coffee

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Ogawa Coffee was started in Kyoto, Japan by artisans who have been dedicated to perfecting coffee-making every step of the way. From growing the beans all the way to pouring a cup, every part of the coffee process is given the same amount of attention and care. The Ogawa team wants to give customers a sensory experience from the moment they enter the shop, from the smell of the coffee beans to the whir of the grinder and finishing with the taste of a perfectly-brewed drink. Bringing the social tradition of coffee drinking over to Japan and incorporating it with American culture is a daunting task, but one that Ogawa is more than up to. Fun fact: the 2010 World Latte Art Champion trains all of Ogawa’s baristas to ensure skill, beauty, and art in their beverages.

Blue State Coffee

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Want to pair your coffee with some community service? Then stop by Blue State Coffee, where a  percentage of all sales are donated to local non-profit organizations. In addition, all of the coffee beans are ethically sourced and all eggs and pastries are local as well. The coffee shop is all about community, both in giving back and in making sure that employees and customers feel like family. The shop has some classic favorites on the menu, and also features a rotating offering of micro-lot coffees, which are carefully cultivated and selected to improve the quality and taste.

If you are ever in the mood for moving beyond Dunkin’, make sure to check out one of these great coffee shops. You may even like them so much that you choose to make them your regular destination.

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