Monday, July 21, 2014

World Buzz

A Coffee Maven Preview 

Buzzfeed -- that online depository of lists -- advises us that we must visit 25 coffeeshops around the world before we die. I do not plan to die any time soon, but at the rate I am going (having visited none of these in ten years of serious coffee-shopping), I need to live a lot longer!

I post the link here to spark imagination and to show the variety of ways in which a coffee shop can distinguish itself, aside from the coffee.

This cute photo, for example, represents Grumpy's in New York City, which is distinct in three ways -- it appears on a television series, it has tasty macarons, and it is the closest to my house, of the "brewer's two dozen" places listed. I hope to get to it later this summer.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

LaLaJava -- Northborough

Very Odd Cafe

A Coffee Maven Review 

Several years ago I had heard about Armeno Roasters, so I decided to visit while Pam attended a meeting in the area this afternoon. The visit there was brief -- it is a cool old grist mill and I was welcomed to look around. I tried to strike up a conversation about coffeelands, but the roaster I spoke with talked mainly about his fear of such places, and he did not introduce me to his partner. He also could not recommend any cafes in the area except for Panera, so I set off on my own.

Within a couple miles I found LaLaJava, where I am enjoying the funky atmosphere as I write this, but am struggling with the coffee. The cafe is spacious and funky -- definitely on the high end of what one would expect of decor in a suburban strip mall.

I should have known something was wrong, though, when I saw a sign on the coffee pots, offering to heat up the coffee if necessary. This should have been my hint to get an espresso drink, which I might still do. But I poured the "Smooth As Silk" blend, knowing it had to be better than the pistachio (!) and other flavored coffees on offer. The barista kindly explained how the heating could be done -- using the steam wand on the espresso machine. She explained that it would not taste like microwaved coffee. Hmmm -- that is hardly a ringing endorsement.

A few minutes later I was back at the counter, getting the wand that made the coffee somewhat passable. The barista tried to answer my questions about how this cafe ends up with lukewarm coffee, but aside from admitting that hot coffee is not a priority, she could not really explain it. The outdoor seating might be enough to tip the balance toward a favorable review, were it not for one other inexplicable characteristic of this cafe -- WiFi is available, but at airport prices. I did not know that any cafes still do that.

Bottom line: I should have gone to Panera after all.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Rick's Music World, Raynham Ma

Hours of Operation 
Mon-Thu 11am-9pm
Fri 11am-6pm
Sat 10am-5pm
Sun 12pm-5pm

Rick's Music is a instrument shop and a small school of musical instruction. Found on RT 44 in a little corner of it's mini plaza, they have a small cafe open to anyone who wants to sit and enjoy a little coffee, food and music.

View Larger Map
Rick's Music is a delightful place to spend some of your time at for a somewhat decent cup of coffee. They serve Richard Alan's Gold Label most of the time. It is a light roast coffee comparable to a McDonald's cup of coffee. On occasion they also serve an additional choice, usually a flavored coffee such as blueberry, cinnamon roll, ect. The bags of coffee they use are pre measured, pre roasted, and pre ground to be used in a coffee dispensing machine. This takes away from the potential of the cup of coffee but this should not deter you from trying out the place as they have much more to offer.

Their cafe on the left offers plenty of snacks, personal pizzas, sandwiches, and soft drinks. On the right there is a small stage and seating arrangement where you can listen to many talented students or even live bands play. The people who work here are extremely friendly and know quite a bit about music as to be expected. So if you want to enjoy a little place with some good music, give Rick's a try and maybe with enough support, their cafe will improve their coffee.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Cutty's in Brookline, MA

Cutty's, which is located in Brookline Village, MA, is a  really popular cafe that serves breakfast and lunch for a lot of customers. They have 16 seats, which is a good size for a cafe so they can maintain quieter atmosphere inside of the shop.

Even though it seems like their best recommendation and concentration is on their handcrafted bread and sandwiches, you can also enjoy coffee at this place. They also serve tea in this cafe and here is the list.

George Howell Coffee; They get this from Acton, Massachusetts
Upton Tea; They get this from Holliston, Massachusetts

So I placed my order for an iced coffee and a roast beef sandwich and both were really enjoyable. They give so much effort to keep their ingredients fresh and they were awarded for one of best sandwiches in Boston in 2013. It is a must-go place for a fancy brunch. Their main focus might not be on coffee but they said they always concern freshness for everything.

Customers were ranged from families with young kids to elder couples and the diversity was telling how popular it is. They do not have a lot of staff but each of them looked happy during the work.  

I ended up spending 9 dollars and it was a fair price. The visit to cutty's was so great and I would like to return again. It was great to know one of these great cafes in Massachusetts through this assignment. 

Everyday Cafe, Quincy

The Everyday Cafe is such a small place I couldn't initially find it on Google Earth. But it's where my mom and I would get coffee every morning before school when I was in the twelfth grade. 

It's located a mile or less away from the YMCA in Quincy.

They offer a lot of seasonal treats, like pumpkin spice latte in the fall, peppermint coco in the winter and frozen lemonade in the summer.

There is limited outdoor seating but we usually have to get to school anyway. I usually get a mocha blast which is served both hot or cold at a very reasonable price. The cafe was closed on the day of my visit but I believe they do have a dark roast which they call Jack and a light roast which they call Jill. I couldn't ask where it was from but I think the names are cute and they show great attention to detail. 

So visit the everyday cafe and get the mocha blast! You won't be sorry!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Marisol's Cafe

Marisol's Cafe
439 State Rd, Dartmouth, MA 02747
Britny Costa

Hours of Operation:
Monday - Saturday 7:00am - 7:00pm
Pajama Sunday: 9:00am - 5:00pm.
Holiday Hours Vary.

Exclusively serving: Jim’s Organic Coffee, Republic of Tea, Yerba Maté …and…. We’re also the only place you can get our SUPER-CHARGED, SUPER SEXXY CHiPPi
Coffee milk with an expresso shot, liquid dessert, or heaven in a cup.
We will never know what is a Chippi is really made of because the owner makes the secret ingredient before anyone gets there, even the employees
Flavor of the Month: Chocolate!

Aurora Blend: The lightest of the roasts
Italian Roast: The darkest & boldest of ‘em all,
Altogether Decaf: A mid-roast, flavorful coffee
Hazelnut, French Vanilla & Double Chocolate: Offers a natural and true flavor behind a richly textured coffee.

Other Beverages:
Lattes, Cappuccinos, Expresso, Chai, Hot Chocolate, Smoothies, Shakes, and Tea

Breakfast sandwiches and wraps
Lunch: Quesadillas, wraps, grilled cheese, salads and they have a kids menu
Dessert: Cookies, brownies, granola, fruit with yogurt

 Who Does This Cafe Appeal To?
The better question who doesn't this cafe appeal to. Morning, afternoon or just getting out of work, this place has customers from as young as 5 years old to one of their 83 year old regulars. There is seating outside and an open seating floor plan with areas varied throughout the cafe that are a little more private and intimate so that way meeting cans be held there or even studying.  This place can seat approximately 35-40 people comfortably, which is why Marisol's Cafe needs to expand because there are days where you have to park down the road or in the neighboring businesses parking lots because Marisol's new expanded parking lot is unable to hold all of their customers.

Overall, some people may say this place is a little pricey, but when you taste the quality of the beverages and food and you see how well this place is run, you will realize why this little cafe receives the business that it does. Good atmosphere, friendly and personable staff, it is clean and the coffee is always fresh and you know that it is in good hands before it even gets to Marisol's Cafe thanks to Jim's Organic Beans. And of course, the Chippi is amazing!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Panera Bread, Ron Davidson

Ha Ha, just kidding. I chose Panera Bread in Brockton, MA because it was in the town I live in, has been around for quite sometime and because I've always thought of it as a bit of a higher end place. To my surprise, when asked about the type of coffee, Arabica, Robusto etc. the young lady behind the counter had no answers, and simply said, "I think it's from Columbia but I don't really know about the coffee, since it isn't our main thing." Strange considering that on Google maps the only edible descriptive words for the business (aside from bread in the title) are coffee and tea.

So I place an order for a small coffee and remembered to say black as I wanted to get the full flavor of the coffee, that was when I was pointed to the thermoses behind me where I would be getting my own. Heading over with my paper cup in hand I was beginning to realize she wasn't joking about the second class outlook on coffee in this business. I looked at the dispensers and saw some plaques describing the coffees. No note of the bean type, but it did mention the regions of the blends, better than nothing anyway. There was also hazelnut and a space for dark roast where there was no container for it.

To my surprise, despite the lack of pride in coffee, I have to say that the light roast was actually pretty good. That is saying something for me, considering I don't drink black coffee because I usually find it to be too bitter. This however was smooth and had its own natural sweetness.
     The shop itself was set up with dividers so as to allow for some level of privacy/intimacy if so desired. There was a ranged of people coming in and out, from teenagers to collage students, to upper middle class moms, and a businessman sitting on his laptop taking advantage of the free WiFi. Although I was surprised by the lack of enthusiasm for product that gets so much attention I was adversely surprised by the quality of the coffee and the atmosphere was pleasant. I would go again but not make a habit of it, as I find $2 for a small coffee to be a bit much, and the rest of their products, (sandwiches etc.) are even more so.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Better Bean Coffee Co.

The Better Bean is located in the Center Square of Bridgewater, MA. It is a smaller sized shop that offers many different specialty drinks and paninis, along with baked goods made fresh every day. This location is a great location due to accessibility from the highway and to all local residents including college students.,-70.975978,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x89e491b669ac76f3:0x1dfbbc81c77382ee

The menu offered many different options for a meal or a drink. They included different paninis and sandwiches along with my favorite the Vermont Panini with Vermont cheddar, ham, honey mustard, and sliced green apples. They also offer chilled drinks such as Iced Lattes and Coffees with many different flavors. I had a regular iced latte and it was delicious.
 The inside of the shop was quiet with a few students working on homework and interacting with each other. There were a few places to sit with tables and chairs to drink your coffee or sit and have a sandwich. The staff was very friendly and approachable which added a warm welcoming to the customers.
 Overall, my experience at The Better Bean Coffee was GREAT! The staff was welcoming and informative, they were excited about the shop and I really enjoyed being there. It was an easy commute for me right near campus so I definitely recommend this coffee shop for any college students or residents of Bridgewater.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Supreme Coffee & Donuts -- Seekonk

Supreme Coffee and Donuts is located in Seekonk, MA on 1735 Fall River Ave. (Route 6).  There are also 3 other locations, 2 are in Brockton, and 1 is in New Bedford, MA.  There is also a drive-thru available for those who are on the go just heading to work for their morning cup of coffee.

Inside of the shop, there is a retro kind of feel.  Everything behind the counter takes you back in time as you step in to order your coffee.  There is a KENO station as well as a spot to buy some scratch tickets if you're feeling lucky that day to go in and get your coffee.  After you get your coffee there is a small sitting areas just consisting of a few tables to enjoy your pastries or your coffee.
Supreme has their loyal customers as well as new ones that venture in to try everything out.  There weren't many flavors of different coffees at the one that I went to, but at others there are a variety of flavors to choose from.  You can get your coffees hot or iced, whatever you prefer.  They serve more than just coffee as well.  There are sandwiches, pastries, lattes, etc.
Customers range form young to old, all ages go to this shop according to the woman working behind the counter on my visit.  She told me that they open at 6 AM and have a rush from around 6-9 AM and then another rush just after noon.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Better Bean Coffee


23 Central Square
Bridgewater, MA
Mon-Fri: 7am - 9pm
Sat: 8am-9pm
Sun: Closed

Better Bean Coffee Co. is a great coffee shop about 3 minutes away from the Bridgewater State University Campus.

For drinks they serve Espresso, Brewed Coffee, Iced Coffee, Blended beverages and Tea. 

In addition to these drinks BBCC also have delicious sandwiches. I ordered The Californian, a smoked turkey sandwich with avocado, swiss cheese, mayo, romaine, tomato and herb vinaigrette (Which was amazing!).

BBCC sells a house blend that they get from Kahve. It is Kahve's Golden a medium roast blend that includes beans from Guatemala, Brazil, Kenya and Sumatra. I had a cup of this with one sugar and one cream and it was great! Coffee usually gives me a slight headache but not this cup!  

They also have the option of Decaf and Dark roast, with a variety of flavors.

The atmosphere in the coffee shop is very relaxing. The shop is dimly lit with artwork for sale along the walls. 

I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at the Better Bean Coffee Co. shop. I would definitely recommend this shop to anyone that will listen. The employees were very friendly and helpful, the drinks are great and the food is amazing! Make sure to stop by!

By: Tyler Durocher

Located on:
439 State Rd, Dartmouth, MA 02747
(508) 996-2323

Hours of Operation:
Monday - Saturday 7:00am - 7:00pm
Pajama Sunday: 9:00am - 5:00pm.
Holiday Hours Vary.

Mirasol's cafe is a decently sized breakfast/ lunch cafe that offers many coffee beverages. They are located off of Route 6 in Dartmouth. This can be reached by going down 24 South and merging onto I-195 West and getting off at the Reed Road Exit. Once getting off the highway, follow this road all the way until the end and take a left. You are now on Route 6 and Marisol's will be a little ways down on the right. 

They are home to the one and only "super charged and super sexy" coffee drinks called the Chippy. The Chippy is a highly caffeinated drink that has been described to taste like a coffee frappe, liquid ice cream, or as i like to refer to it as, heaven. The strange this about this drink is that no one but the owner actually knows what the secret syrup consists of. Supposedly, he comes in early every morning, makes up a huge batch of the secret syrup for the Chippy for the entire day.

Mirasol's proudly serves Jim's Organic Coffee. Jim's coffee is certified fair trade, shade grown and 100% Arabic. Jim's Organic Coffee's headquarters is actually in Wareham, Massachusetts

They offer a variety of food from breakfast sandwiches, to pastries and quesadillas. On top of this, there are a variety of Coffee beverages offered hot or cold such as espressos, cappuccinos and lattes. They offer three main types of blend, the Aurora blend (lightest roast), the Italian blend (the darkest roast) and the All-together Decaf (the medium roast). On top of this they offer three different flavor roasts, vanilla, hazelnut and double chocolate.

When looking at the store from the outside, you will notice the bright window paintings that cover the windows.  As you walk in you will be hit with the sweet coffee aroma that fills the inside of the cafe. To the left will be a lounge area that consists of high and low tables, benches and sofas. To the right is another little lounge area with two couches. Directly in front is the line to the register and behind it are the chalk board that have the menu written on them in bright colors. Overall the cafe provides a very calm and relaxed demeanor that makes the overall experience enjoyable.

The typical group of people who come here and sit down are college kids who have come to do homework or just talk with friends. The majority of the people just stopping in, grabbing a drink and leaving are typically adults.

Overall review: Get the Chippy. It's amazing. The food is awesome, the people are friendly and the couches are comfy. What more could you ask for?

NU Cafe


335 Chandler St.
Worcester, MA

Nu Cafe's coffee is all organic and fair trade.  They offer 5 different roasts of coffee which include light roast, medium roast, dark roast, decaf, and expresso.

It was a very friendly environment.  The staff was very nice.  The majority of the people in there were college students who were studying.  There were a lot of people in there just talking and catching up. There were also people who were having a business meeting.  It was very quiet and laid back.

They offer a lot of different food there.  They have sandwiches, soup, salad, and a variety of different pastries and bagels.  

They have books along their walls that you can read while you are there.  I talked to someone who told me that you could even buy the books if you want, but they are mostly there to read while you are enjoying a cup of coffee.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Arielle's Cafe & Pizza

8 Central St 
Stoneham, MA 02180
Mon-Sat: 11:30am-9:30pm
Sun: 2pm-9:30pm

It was somewhat difficult for me to find where the shop was. But it is close to center of Stoneham's downtown. So the shop should have a lot of business.

I would describe the atmosphere of the inside of the shop is very cosy.
I could definitely see business type people coming in for breakfast or lunch break, and sit at one of the tables while some work out.

The shop also has a modern look to it, maybe to attract the more younger consumers.

It was pretty hard to find any signage of their coffee. But when I found it, it was only a white board that had "Hot Coffee" and "Ice Coffee" written on it. Not much info about the coffee itself.

The coffee they serve is Colombian Arabica Coffee. It is a medium roast, and the owner buys it from BJ's. Again, not much information was given about the coffee.