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A glass of dark foam-topped coffee sits on a small white table with a glass of coffee beans and bowl of salt visible in the background
Cicada’s sea salt-topped coffee.
Cicada Coffee Bar

15 Essential Greater Boston Coffee Shops

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Cicada’s sea salt-topped coffee.
| Cicada Coffee Bar

For Bostonians in search of a great way to start the day, an afternoon pick-me-up, or a light snack, coffee shops are always ready to accommodate. There is no one characteristic that defines the perfect coffee shop — it may be the place within throwing distance of home, the one right by work, or the convenient chain that takes online orders. For some, serious coffee is the priority; others care about the right balance of ambiance, free wifi, and exceptional pastries.

This map features some of Greater Boston’s best locally owned coffee shops that meet a variety of needs, from a quick, strong caffeine fix to a place to settle in for an afternoon and catch up on work over an interesting latte (or three).

See also: Where to Have a Drink While Working Remotely in and Around Boston; The Ultimate Guide to Northampton Coffee Shops

This map was initially published on September 7, 2016; it is updated periodically, and the date of the most recent update appears above.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Diesel Cafe

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257 Elm St
Somerville, MA 02144
(617) 629-8717
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This Davis Square classic — around since 1999 (but recently renovated in a pretty major way) — is the neighborhood hangout for caffeine, pool, pastries, sandwiches, and more. Also in Somerville, its siblings Forge and Bloc are well worth checking out. (In the mood for ice cream? Definitely swing by Forge.) Diesel, Forge, and Bloc are among several local cafe groups whose employees have recently unionized.

2. Revival Cafe & Kitchen

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125 Cambridgepark Dr
Cambridge, MA 02140
(617) 665-5899
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Revival — which has locations in Alewife, Davis Square, and Back Bay — carries on some traditions from its now-defunct sibling, Crema Cafe, which closed in Harvard Square at the end of 2018. Revival’s menu features house-made bread and pastries, sandwiches, and more; don’t miss the Friday fried chicken sandwich specials. To drink, there are plenty of fun hot and iced coffee and tea drinks, as well as other options like a ginger and lemon concoction, seltzer, and lemonade.

3. 3 Little Figs

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278 Highland Ave
Somerville, MA 02143
(617) 623-3447
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Located in Somerville's Spring Hill area, this popular coffee shop, which has been open for over a decade, is perfect for a weekend morning outing. The breakfast and lunch sandwiches are top-notch, and the spinach pie is an absolute must, but don’t miss the pastries, Greek yogurt, or smoothies either. There’s indoor and outdoor seating, but not a lot, so the shop doesn’t have wifi and asks that customers not use computers.

A sandwich with thick bread, banana, and peanut butter is slice diagonally and stacked on a white plate with a dark rim. There’s a small slice of grapefruit on the plate, and a wooden floor is visible in the background.
Lil Figgy sandwich at 3 Little Figs.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

4. Darwin's Ltd.

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1629 Cambridge St
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 491-2999
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Darwin's has been around for nearly 30 years and operates four locations around Cambridge, including this one on Cambridge Street. It offers soups, sandwiches, and pastries, in addition to its coffees, which are made with the coffee shop's own conical brewing system that mimics pour-over brews in less time. The Massachusetts Avenue location also serves beer on tap and wine by the glass, while the Mt. Auburn Street location has beer and wine available for retail and monthly tastings. Like Diesel above, Darwin’s is another local cafe group whose employees have recently unionized.

5. 1369 Coffee House

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1369 Cambridge St
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 576-1369
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Named for its address in Inman Square, 1369 Coffee House also has a location on Massachusetts Avenue in Central Square. This neighborhood coffee shop covers all the bases: hot espresso beverages, cold brew (available in growlers), seasonal tea lattes (usually with accompanying chalkboard art), bagels, breakfast sandwiches, pastries, and more. Don’t miss the Mexican hot chocolate on a cold winter day.

A plastic cup of ice coffee. Part of the cafe’s branding is visible on the cup — large numbers 1, 3, and 6 and the word coffee smaller below.
1369 Coffee House coffee.
1369 Coffee House

6. Curio Coffee

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441 Cambridge St
Cambridge, MA 02141
(857) 242-3018
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Passing through the Lechmere area and craving a waffle and caffeine? Curio’s got you. Keep an eye out for the ever-changing waffle specials. And watch Instagram for updates on when Curio will start opening at night again — it turns into a natural wine bar (with burgers) a few nights a week.

A Liege-style waffle sits next to a frothy hot chocolate in a white cup and saucer.
Waffle and hot chocolate at Curio.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

7. Pepita Coffee

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284 Broadway
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 945-0450
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Time your visit to Lamplighter Brewing Co.’s in-house cafe Pepita right, and you can have Pepita coffee and Lamplighter beer at the same time; beer starts flowing at 11 a.m. Pepita serves sandwiches and more for a light breakfast or lunch — don’t miss the pastries from Cambridge’s Cafe Beatrice — and a full range of coffee- and tea-based drinks, spicy double hot chocolate (chocolate milk makes it “double”), cold brew flights, and lots more. The seasonal specials are always enjoyable, such as a springtime orange cardamom latte.

8. Cicada

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106 Prospect St
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 714-4766
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Vietnamese cafe Cicada, a relative newcomer to Cambridge (and one of the most exciting local openings of 2021), is the place to go to unplug, sip a sea salt-topped coffee sweetened with condensed milk, and eat noodle salad or banh mi, perhaps with a funky glass of wine on the side. Definitely try to grab a seat in the beautiful garden hidden out back.

A hand pours liquid into a glass full of a foamy, milky iced coffee on a small white table. Plants are visible in the background.
An espresso drink at Cicada.
Cicada Coffee Bar

9. George Howell Coffee

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505 Washington St
Boston, MA 02111

Coffee at George Howell is roasted in small batches every day. Its swanky location in downtown Boston’s Godfrey Hotel is a European-style espresso bar with quick-serve coffee, a range of espresso beverages, coffee tasting flights, classes, and much more (including beer and wine); be sure to check out the creative seasonal specials that are almost cocktail-like in their intricacy. There are also locations in Newtonville and at the Boston Public Market, and the main roastery is in Acton (not currently open to the public). George Howell also provides beans for several cafes and restaurants in the area, so if you can’t make it to the shop, you can still find the beans scattered around town.

10. Thinking Cup

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165 Tremont St
Boston, MA 02111
(617) 482-5555
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Thinking Cup, around since 2010, serves Stumptown Coffee in a range of beautiful forms, from pour over to iced. It also has a selection of teas, as well as light breakfast and lunch fare. Note: The place can get crowded, and there is no wifi available. This location is steps from the Common, and there are two other locations in Boston, on Hanover Street in the North End and on Newbury Street in Back Bay.

11. Gracenote Coffee

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108 Lincoln St
Boston, MA 02111

This tiny Leather District standing espresso bar takes coffee seriously and offers a beverage selection that includes nitro cold brew, filter coffee, lattes, mocha, hot chocolate, tea, and espresso, of course. Gracenote Coffee has a roastery in Berlin, Massachusetts, and distributes its beans to other local coffee shops, and there’s also a new cafe location at downtown Boston food hall High Street Place. (Swing by the new spot to try coffee-based cocktails.)

Exterior shot of a cafe, with coffee apparatus, cafe employees, and white vases holding green plants visible through floor-to-ceiling windows.
Gracenote Coffee in Boston.
Gracenote Coffee

12. Glasser Coffee Co.

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589 Washington St
Brighton, MA 02135
(617) 987-8877
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Full of lush plants, this cafe in Brighton’s Oak Square is a pleasant place to visit. Glasser features Peaks Coffee from Syracuse, New York, and serves fan-favorite breakfast tacos, bowls, and sandwiches, with several vegan options available. Try a rose mocha latte or Vietnamese cold brew to drink. (Hungry for more? Head over to Allston to visit sibling spot Coreanos, serving Korean-Mexican fusion.)

13. Pavement Coffeehouse

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286 Newbury St
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 859-9515
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With eight locations around the Boston area, Pavement — another recently unionized local cafe group — is a fixture in each of its neighborhoods. Brighton’s location also accommodates Pavement’s roastery and headquarters. Known for its bagels and strong coffee, Pavement serves a simple menu in each of its cafes, with sandwiches, pastries, salads, and more. It's a good place to settle in and do some work.

14. Render Coffee

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563 Columbus Ave
Boston, MA 02118
(617) 262-4142
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Around since 2011, popular South End spot Render sources Tandem Coffee from Maine and also roasts its own, offering pour-over cups of strong coffee, espresso drinks, and pots of tea. The cafe also has a second location in Downtown Boston that can accommodate commuters looking for a quick cup of coffee or those with time to sit and sip. There’s food available, too, like doughnut holes from Mass Hole Donuts, salads, and sandwiches. Charlestown and Seaport District locations are expected to open in 2022.

15. Flat Black Coffee Company

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1170 Washington St
Dorchester Center, MA 02124
(617) 298-1800
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With cafes in Dorchester’s Lower Mills and downtown Boston, this local roaster and wholesaler has been caffeinating Boston since 2003. Flat Black focuses on sustainable, single-origin coffees and also serves a strong selection of teas. Each cafe has a bit of seating and some baked goods available as well.

1. Diesel Cafe

257 Elm St, Somerville, MA 02144

This Davis Square classic — around since 1999 (but recently renovated in a pretty major way) — is the neighborhood hangout for caffeine, pool, pastries, sandwiches, and more. Also in Somerville, its siblings Forge and Bloc are well worth checking out. (In the mood for ice cream? Definitely swing by Forge.) Diesel, Forge, and Bloc are among several local cafe groups whose employees have recently unionized.

257 Elm St
Somerville, MA 02144

2. Revival Cafe & Kitchen

125 Cambridgepark Dr, Cambridge, MA 02140

Revival — which has locations in Alewife, Davis Square, and Back Bay — carries on some traditions from its now-defunct sibling, Crema Cafe, which closed in Harvard Square at the end of 2018. Revival’s menu features house-made bread and pastries, sandwiches, and more; don’t miss the Friday fried chicken sandwich specials. To drink, there are plenty of fun hot and iced coffee and tea drinks, as well as other options like a ginger and lemon concoction, seltzer, and lemonade.

125 Cambridgepark Dr
Cambridge, MA 02140

3. 3 Little Figs

278 Highland Ave, Somerville, MA 02143
A sandwich with thick bread, banana, and peanut butter is slice diagonally and stacked on a white plate with a dark rim. There’s a small slice of grapefruit on the plate, and a wooden floor is visible in the background.
Lil Figgy sandwich at 3 Little Figs.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Located in Somerville's Spring Hill area, this popular coffee shop, which has been open for over a decade, is perfect for a weekend morning outing. The breakfast and lunch sandwiches are top-notch, and the spinach pie is an absolute must, but don’t miss the pastries, Greek yogurt, or smoothies either. There’s indoor and outdoor seating, but not a lot, so the shop doesn’t have wifi and asks that customers not use computers.

278 Highland Ave
Somerville, MA 02143

4. Darwin's Ltd.

1629 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02138

Darwin's has been around for nearly 30 years and operates four locations around Cambridge, including this one on Cambridge Street. It offers soups, sandwiches, and pastries, in addition to its coffees, which are made with the coffee shop's own conical brewing system that mimics pour-over brews in less time. The Massachusetts Avenue location also serves beer on tap and wine by the glass, while the Mt. Auburn Street location has beer and wine available for retail and monthly tastings. Like Diesel above, Darwin’s is another local cafe group whose employees have recently unionized.

1629 Cambridge St
Cambridge, MA 02138

5. 1369 Coffee House

1369 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139
A plastic cup of ice coffee. Part of the cafe’s branding is visible on the cup — large numbers 1, 3, and 6 and the word coffee smaller below.
1369 Coffee House coffee.
1369 Coffee House

Named for its address in Inman Square, 1369 Coffee House also has a location on Massachusetts Avenue in Central Square. This neighborhood coffee shop covers all the bases: hot espresso beverages, cold brew (available in growlers), seasonal tea lattes (usually with accompanying chalkboard art), bagels, breakfast sandwiches, pastries, and more. Don’t miss the Mexican hot chocolate on a cold winter day.

1369 Cambridge St
Cambridge, MA 02139

6. Curio Coffee

441 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02141
A Liege-style waffle sits next to a frothy hot chocolate in a white cup and saucer.
Waffle and hot chocolate at Curio.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Passing through the Lechmere area and craving a waffle and caffeine? Curio’s got you. Keep an eye out for the ever-changing waffle specials. And watch Instagram for updates on when Curio will start opening at night again — it turns into a natural wine bar (with burgers) a few nights a week.

441 Cambridge St
Cambridge, MA 02141

7. Pepita Coffee

284 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139

Time your visit to Lamplighter Brewing Co.’s in-house cafe Pepita right, and you can have Pepita coffee and Lamplighter beer at the same time; beer starts flowing at 11 a.m. Pepita serves sandwiches and more for a light breakfast or lunch — don’t miss the pastries from Cambridge’s Cafe Beatrice — and a full range of coffee- and tea-based drinks, spicy double hot chocolate (chocolate milk makes it “double”), cold brew flights, and lots more. The seasonal specials are always enjoyable, such as a springtime orange cardamom latte.

284 Broadway
Cambridge, MA 02139

8. Cicada

106 Prospect St, Cambridge, MA 02139
A hand pours liquid into a glass full of a foamy, milky iced coffee on a small white table. Plants are visible in the background.
An espresso drink at Cicada.
Cicada Coffee Bar

Vietnamese cafe Cicada, a relative newcomer to Cambridge (and one of the most exciting local openings of 2021), is the place to go to unplug, sip a sea salt-topped coffee sweetened with condensed milk, and eat noodle salad or banh mi, perhaps with a funky glass of wine on the side. Definitely try to grab a seat in the beautiful garden hidden out back.

106 Prospect St
Cambridge, MA 02139

9. George Howell Coffee

505 Washington St, Boston, MA 02111

Coffee at George Howell is roasted in small batches every day. Its swanky location in downtown Boston’s Godfrey Hotel is a European-style espresso bar with quick-serve coffee, a range of espresso beverages, coffee tasting flights, classes, and much more (including beer and wine); be sure to check out the creative seasonal specials that are almost cocktail-like in their intricacy. There are also locations in Newtonville and at the Boston Public Market, and the main roastery is in Acton (not currently open to the public). George Howell also provides beans for several cafes and restaurants in the area, so if you can’t make it to the shop, you can still find the beans scattered around town.

505 Washington St
Boston, MA 02111

10. Thinking Cup

165 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02111

Thinking Cup, around since 2010, serves Stumptown Coffee in a range of beautiful forms, from pour over to iced. It also has a selection of teas, as well as light breakfast and lunch fare. Note: The place can get crowded, and there is no wifi available. This location is steps from the Common, and there are two other locations in Boston, on Hanover Street in the North End and on Newbury Street in Back Bay.

165 Tremont St
Boston, MA 02111

11. Gracenote Coffee

108 Lincoln St, Boston, MA 02111
Exterior shot of a cafe, with coffee apparatus, cafe employees, and white vases holding green plants visible through floor-to-ceiling windows.
Gracenote Coffee in Boston.
Gracenote Coffee

This tiny Leather District standing espresso bar takes coffee seriously and offers a beverage selection that includes nitro cold brew, filter coffee, lattes, mocha, hot chocolate, tea, and espresso, of course. Gracenote Coffee has a roastery in Berlin, Massachusetts, and distributes its beans to other local coffee shops, and there’s also a new cafe location at downtown Boston food hall High Street Place. (Swing by the new spot to try coffee-based cocktails.)

108 Lincoln St
Boston, MA 02111

12. Glasser Coffee Co.

589 Washington St, Brighton, MA 02135

Full of lush plants, this cafe in Brighton’s Oak Square is a pleasant place to visit. Glasser features Peaks Coffee from Syracuse, New York, and serves fan-favorite breakfast tacos, bowls, and sandwiches, with several vegan options available. Try a rose mocha latte or Vietnamese cold brew to drink. (Hungry for more? Head over to Allston to visit sibling spot Coreanos, serving Korean-Mexican fusion.)

589 Washington St
Brighton, MA 02135

13. Pavement Coffeehouse

286 Newbury St, Boston, MA 02115

With eight locations around the Boston area, Pavement — another recently unionized local cafe group — is a fixture in each of its neighborhoods. Brighton’s location also accommodates Pavement’s roastery and headquarters. Known for its bagels and strong coffee, Pavement serves a simple menu in each of its cafes, with sandwiches, pastries, salads, and more. It's a good place to settle in and do some work.

286 Newbury St
Boston, MA 02115

14. Render Coffee

563 Columbus Ave, Boston, MA 02118

Around since 2011, popular South End spot Render sources Tandem Coffee from Maine and also roasts its own, offering pour-over cups of strong coffee, espresso drinks, and pots of tea. The cafe also has a second location in Downtown Boston that can accommodate commuters looking for a quick cup of coffee or those with time to sit and sip. There’s food available, too, like doughnut holes from Mass Hole Donuts, salads, and sandwiches. Charlestown and Seaport District locations are expected to open in 2022.

563 Columbus Ave
Boston, MA 02118

15. Flat Black Coffee Company

1170 Washington St, Dorchester Center, MA 02124

With cafes in Dorchester’s Lower Mills and downtown Boston, this local roaster and wholesaler has been caffeinating Boston since 2003. Flat Black focuses on sustainable, single-origin coffees and also serves a strong selection of teas. Each cafe has a bit of seating and some baked goods available as well.

1170 Washington St
Dorchester Center, MA 02124

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