Coffee Guide to Downton Boston

Our Guide to Coffee Shops worth visiting

Visitors to Boston have a great coffee scene to look forward to. Downtown/central Boston is easily walkable and there are enough quality coffee stops to keep you going. There's a pedigree of good coffee here, but there aren't so many destination spots as to overwhelm you.

George Howell Coffee

George Howell founded his Boston-area Coffee Connection chain in the 1970s, a third wave before East Coasters even heard of the second one. After selling to Starbucks and waiting out a ten-year non-compete clause, the inventor of the Frappuccino (and other, nobler innovations) returned with his acclaimed line of coffees, roasted in the suburb of Acton.

Render Coffee

A follow-up to Render’s original cafe in the South End, this second location breathes a more startup-y air than downtown peers like Intelligentsia, Blue Bottle, and Kohi, which occupy smoothly corporate lobbies.

Intelligentsia Coffee Post Office Square Coffeebar

Intelligentsia, the Chicago-based roaster acquired in 2015 by Peet’s (owned in turn by JAB Holding Co.), follows the welcome trend of cafes appropriating office lobbies. Patrons of the handsome, open bar at its downtown location spill out onto leather settees and armchairs; the scent of espresso keeps the corporate-modernist lobby from feeling too severe.

Tatte Bakery & Cafe

Though the focus is a bit more on food than coffee, popular Boston-area bakery/cafe Tatte offers a welcome hit of Stumptown in a town that nearly lacks it.