I grew up in Boston; this means that my first taste of coffee was not at home, it wasn’t at a “third wave” coffee shop, it wasn’t even at a Starbucks. No, my first taste of coffee was a “medium regular” from Dunkin Donuts. Dunkies is a New England institution based out of Quincy Mass. They serve mediocre coffee which takes on a syrupy creamy consistency when you order it as god intended: regular.
A “regular” from Dunkies means too much sugar and too much cream, but when they say that America runs on this stuff they aren’t kidding. A cup of Dunkies really is a complete breakfast (at least from a calorie standpoint!). The downside of this is that so many Bostonians and other New Englanders now consider this a benchmark for coffee quality. As much as I do love my Dunkies I have to accept the fact that its just not very good and there’s nothing wrong with that; DD sells a mass-market product at a very reasonable price, they aren’t trying to entice coffee snobs or connoisseurs. I do think that there is some room for improvement because even Starbucks, which is also in the business of selling coffee to the masses, offers high quality coffee in locations that have the Clover coffee system (which I love by the way).
A counterpoint to this speed and price over quality mindset does exist in Boston however; in fact it thrives in Boston’s historic North End. The North End is a historically Italian neighborhood, filled with cafes, restaurants (amazing restaurants actually) and some pretty astonishingly expensive real estate. One of my very favorite Café’s in the world is right in the North End: Café Vittoria. This place is a beautiful, quaint and yet very stylish café that serves what has become my benchmark for espresso (even if they do charge six bucks for a double).
In addition to the very traditional Italian cafes in the North End there is a growing number of excellent third ware coffee shops in Boston. These include Café Fixe and Diesel Café, just to name my two favorites. I’ll be sure to review these in the near future.
Thanks for reading,
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