Thinking Cup

Overall Rating: 7.400

Address: 165 Tremont St.
Cross Street(s): Btwn Avery & West Sts. across the Boston Commons
City, State ZIP: Boston, MA 02111
Phone: 617.482.5555
Hours: M-W 7am-10pm; Th-Su 7am-11pm
Type of Establishment: Espresso Bar (Chain)
Cafe Rating: 8.00
Barista: 8
Savvy: 8
Ambiance: 8
Presentation: 8
Consistency: Consistent
Espresso Machine: La Marzocco
Coffee Rating: 6.80
Aroma: 7
Body: 8
Brightness: 6
Crema: 6
Flavor: 7
Taster's Correction: 0.0
Size: L
Primary Taste: Smoky
Coffee Beans: Stumptown Coffee Roasters
Cup Manufacturer: ACF
Price: $2.75
Last Update: 04/14/2013
First Reviewed: 04/11/2013
Notes: Coffee Sales

This downtown shop opened in 2010 right across of Boston Common and was Boston's first to exclusively use Stumptown Coffee beans - even identifying Stumptown with a sign out front. (They've since opened a nearby location in the North End.) They offer window counter seating facing out across Tremont St., overlooking the Boston Massacre memorial in the Boston Common. There's a lot of aged, exposed wood, brick, and many small, shared café tables with old newsprint themes inside. Inside you might hear multiple languages and lounge music like it's still 1998, but it's a good vibe. The owner is proud of one of his baristas (Cabell Tice) for recently winning the World Latte Art competition at Coffee Fest NYC 2013 (there's an award on display). They have an assortment of (good) baked goods and sweets in front and the sale of Stumptown coffee, pour-over devices, and logo mugs in the back. Using a three-group La Marzocco GB/5 in the back, they pull shots as default doppios with a thin layer of medium brown crema with little density. It's a slightly larger pour, but it manages to keep a solid, proper body. It has flavors of caramel and tobacco, but for Hairbender it lacks the acid bomb sweetness and sharpness we're used to. Served in classic brown ACF cups. Milk-frothing is solid, and arguably some of the best in Boston -- but that really isn't saying much given what we've seen of the local standards.