Archive for the ‘Top 3 Lattes’ Category

Dwelltime – Coffee Nerds, Your Time Has Come

Sunday, May 6th, 2012

Location: Cambridge, MA

The Foodie: Strongly Recommends

Dwelltime was conjured up during a coffee geek’s dream.

Here’s what has many a bean dweeb staying up later than usual:

  • An espresso machine that looks like it was jettisoned from a lunar spacecraft. That would be the La Marzocco Strada EP they are rocking up in here. This thing seriously looked like it was pimped-out by a tatted-wife-beater-rocking car detailing specialist rather than a bespectacled old Italian man in a small Florence-based workshop. One version of this machine goes for the price of a small car ($15,000) so I guess that makes sense.







  • In other coffee-gadgetry, Dwelltime makes their brewed coffee via the pour-over method utilizing a unique auto-drip device that looks similarly Martian. Pretty cool.

Take me to your leader...

  • The final piece of café-wizardry happening here (and the one I’m most excited about) is the legit tap for  “cold brew” iced coffee that will be chilled constantly. The “Dwellers” (as staff here are presumably called) are even promising “barrel-aged” cold brew as well. Who needs their local pub anymore?

What's on tap?

All this futuristic coffee gear is housed in a very attractive space complete with tiled ceiling, brick walls, sexy copper-plated bar…just an all-around cool spot. Check it:

I’ve saved the most important part for last – how was the friggin’ espresso you ask? Well, in a word, heavenly. I wouldn’t expect any different from the kind chums at Barismo in Arlington who are behind this operation. You’ll find what must be every variety of their locally-roasted outstanding beans for sale. My quadruple latte (the lattes come in one size) was silky-smooth and very enjoyable. I’d say these guys are in the running for the top three lattes in the Boston area judging from the first sip.







Dwelltime is the café for baristas, coffee roasters, and all-around Arabica fiends. If you had any doubt up until this point that coffee appreciation and roasting technique in this country was nearing the fine craft and artistry of wine-making and craft beer, that doubt is no more.

Coffee nerds – your time has come. Dwell in it.

The Best in Class – Cafés – Simon’s

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Location: Cambridge, MA

The Foodie: Strongly Recommends

As the self-proclaimed consummate foodie, I have rarely been a “regular” anywhere, people.

At Simon’s, they know me as the “Friday triple medium latte guy,” I’ve spent enough to put one of Simon’s kids through college, and I’ve become buddies with many a barista.

Nick the Foodie rarely gets all sentimental on the personal aspect of dining out (I’m really first and foremost a food guy) but Simon’s and I have a close relationship spanning three different apartments, multiple women, and several jobs. That’s devotion folks.

The one thing that remained constant was the loving touch with which the espresso drinks here are produced.

Sure, they use a La Marzocco machine and some of the best roasters (think Barismo and Terroir), but the transcendent quality here is the care and attention unrivaled by anyone else.  I swear the lattes are just a little sweeter, slightly smoother, a bit more refined than anywhere else.

Call it brand affinity, call it loyalty, call it a coffee-crush, but Simon’s delivers something special.

I’ve spent the last 6+ years enjoying primarily the following few drinks and loved every minute of it:

  1. Triple medium latte (my signature bev)
  2. Cappuccino (si)
  3. Espresso (bold, ballsy, beautiful)
  4. Yerba Maté Latte (beautiful grassy herby flavor sweetened with a little honey)

…And I keep discovering more with my friend Simon. Take my recent eureka about the fabled “Gibraltar.” They serve espresso with a bit of milk and foam in a small glass suitable more for a shot of whiskey than a glug of caffeine. A perfect afternoon portioning of espresso with a nice balance and great overall flavor.

I can go on and on about the goods, but Simon’s is one of the few neighborhood spots left where you can look people in the eyes and connect on a personal level…where they’ll remember your birthday, your upcoming vacation to France, the fact you’re getting married, and that you’re embarking on a new step in life. They actually care.

As someone recently said to me, “good coffee isn’t magic.” Good people are not magic, they’re real, and they’re rare.

Simon’s  – thanks for being there for six years and making my mornings better.

Bloc 11 – Passed Dr. Nick’s Formula for Good Coffee-ology

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Location: Somerville, MA

The Foodie: Recommends

I’ve been around the coffee block in the Boston area and gotta say this spot has been on my “Top Three Latte” list for quite some time. Below you’ll find all the coffee shop essentials as broken down using Dr. Nick the Foodie’s patented methodology for evaluating caffeine beans:

BEANS: Intelligentsia 

These roasters are out of Chicago (I think) and really have some have some tasty coffee, not to mention really stylish orange bags and a well-branded product. We all know that good beans are at the heart of good coffee, even though water (or milk) makes up the bulk of what you’re drinking.


I have pretty much scientifically proven a correlation between excellent espresso and this make of espresso Machine, made in Florence. Literally ALL of my “Top 3” joints own one of these bad boys, and Bloc 11 is no exception.

BARISTA STAFF: Earthy-crunchy, alternative, indie, cool (whatever that means)

There must be a style guide somewhere or some official “vogue” for baristas because the good ones seem to all follow the same fashion advice. Beyond a laser-focus on their trade, the best of baristas look the look. Walk out the door if you see a polo shirt on your coffee jock.

LATTE-OMETER: Velvety-smooth look, brown of the espresso nicely rising to the top, patterned milk-foam

My standard of comparison across coffee shops is really their latte. Involves the right mix of art, science and technique to get the milk and espresso just right.  The good lattes look something like the one from Bloc 11 pictured below.









The other notable fact about this bloc of Somerville (though it doesn’t have a bearing on the taste of the latte) is that they really strive to be carbon neutral – think bio-degradable everything, green power sources, and composting. Size-wise they’re also one of the most spacious coffee hang-outs around with plenty of seats inside and a small courtyard with room in the open air as well.

Fitting that they’re housed in the former space of a bank too – ‘cause the coffee really is money.