The Best Coffee in BC's Backyard

When we graduate from Boston College, leaving behind its storied halls and beautiful vistas, many of us will be leaving with enameled diplomas, invaluable experience under our metaphorical belts and permanent, nearly crippling caffeine addictions.  We’ve all been there - 2 a.m. on a Friday morning, two exams and a paper you’ve barely touched all staring you in the face - what better way to make it through the night than to vigorously down gallons of seemingly divine, yet mildly unpleasant coffee from the Seattle’s Best vending machines?  But when your resulting caffeine addiction sets in and Boston College’s frankly distressing coffee choices can no longer satisfy your jones, where do you go? 

Here are three of the tastiest coffee shops right around BC.

Pavement Coffeehouse

With its artsy atmosphere and hip decor, Pavement Coffeehouse, located on Comm. Ave., provides a wonderful setting for sipping expertly brewed java.  Pavement brews

Photo courtesy of Pavement Coffeehouse / Facebook

Photo courtesy of Pavement Coffeehouse / Facebook

Counter Culture beans, which are sourced predominantly from Ethiopia and roasted in Durham, North Carolina.  Though Pavement may not freshly roast their own beans, Counter Culture beans certainly don’t lose their excellent flavor profiles during shipping and Pavement’s baristas are all well-versed in the craft. 

Counter Culture’s espresso bean, Rustico Organic, boasts a robust aroma with hints of brown sugar and nuts, low acidity, a thick mouthfeel and a vaguely sweet, nutty aftertaste.  Espresso is not all that Pavement offers, as Counter Culture’s countless other blends, such as its Olke Birre, all possess satisfying mouth feels with a wide array of flavor profiles ranging from floral to woody to fruity.  Pavement’s trained baristas ensure that no cup will be overly acrid and that each espresso-based beverage will be proudly decorated with cute latté art - lattés always taste better with hearts in them!

Fuel America

Fuel America, located on Chestnut Hill Ave., is one of the few Boston-based coffee shops that actually roasts its own beans.  And though it may not offer as many options

Photo courtesy of Fuel America / Facebook

Photo courtesy of Fuel America / Facebook

as Pavement, what it does offer, does not disappoint.  Fuel America’s strongest offering is its pour over Fuel blend, which boasts a very complex flavor profile. Its aroma is reminiscent of molasses and brown sugar; it has high acidity (without being acrid), a satisfying mouthfeel, a deep body and a darkly sweet aftertaste.

Fuel America’s espresso, unfortunately, is not as full-bodied as its pour over - while it is more aromatic, it has a slightly thin mouthfeel and a very high level of acidity sometimes verging on acridity.  They also don’t really do latté art, which is disappointing.  Overall, Fuel America’s coffee is tasty and complex, but its espresso is not as consistently good as its pour over.

4A Coffee

Brookline’s 4A Coffee on Harvard St. is notorious for its short hours, closing at 3 p.m. everyday, and its delicious, freshly roasted espresso.  Another coffee shop in the Boston

Photo courtesy of 4A Coffee / Facebook

Photo courtesy of 4A Coffee / Facebook

area that actually roasts its own beans, 4A’s espresso does not disappoint.  Roasted dark and brewed strong, 4A’s espresso delights the senses with its complex aroma featuring hints of woodiness and brown sugar, smooth mouthfeel, low acidity and lasting aftertaste - it is indeed a very bold brew.  While 4A’s non-espresso beverages do not disappoint, their espresso is truly their pièce de résistance.

Some other honorable mentions for coffee shops in the Boston area include the Thinking Cup, Blue State Coffee, Café Fixe, Andala Coffee, Equal Exchange, Vittoria Café and Render Coffee. This article will help get you started on your own coffee adventures in Beantown, but the best thing to do is embrace the caffeine addiction and try it all out for yourself!

Espresso enthusiast and amateur bike mechanic. Enjoys long shoegaze dream sessions and short walks to the local organic grocery store. Most likely working on a postmodern bildungsroman set in the Pacific Northwest.

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