While Boston has a strong local coffee scene, the city also doesn’t mind supporting a few out-of-town chains. The London-based Caffe Nero, for one, touched down in Boston in mid-2014 and has since opened over a dozen locations in the area, with more popping up seemingly every day. California-based Blue Bottle, too, has been active, opening in Harvard Square, Downtown Boston, and Back Bay, and Philadelphia’s La Colombe has opened in the Leather District and Seaport District since 2016, with a Back Bay cafe still in the works.
Meanwhile, the Chicago-based Intelligentsia — in which Peet’s Coffee acquired a majority stake in 2015 — has been testing the waters here as well, debuting in Watertown a little over a year ago with a “coffeebar” at 810 Mt. Auburn St. and a coffee training lab and sales office next door. At the time, Intelligentsia president and CEO James McLaughlin told the Boston Business Journal that the company was “actively looking for new sites in Boston and Cambridge.”
In March 2018, the company announced plans for a downtown Boston location, and it opens tomorrow, August 17, on the first floor of the property formerly known as the State Street Bank building at 225 Franklin St. in Post Office Square. (Downtown coffee lovers are in luck: This is a two-minute walk from the recently opened downtown location of Blue Bottle, not to mention nearby locations of Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Flat Black Coffee, plus a Post Office Square kiosk called Sip Cafe, so neighborhood caffeine options abound.)
The new location of Intelligentsia was designed by international firm Gensler Architects (which has an office in Boston), inspired by the vibe of a hotel lobby bar, with communal seating and plenty of marble, leather, and brass. Like at the Watertown location, the design is supposed to encourage interactions between the customers and the baristas. There’s a patio outside, and Post Office Square’s green space, Norman B. Leventhal Park, is just steps away as well.
Intelligentsia serves coffees sourced via a direct trade model that includes longtime partnerships with growers in Central and South America as well as East Africa. Intelligentsia “coffeebars” also serve teas from Kilogram Tea.
Once it opens tomorrow, Intelligentsia’s new Post Office Square location will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays (closed Sundays).
Update, 12 p.m.: This piece has been updated to reflect that the property at 225 Franklin St., now owned by Oxford Properties, is no longer called the State Street Bank building.