25 July 2017

The Cambridge, MA, Caffeine Chronicles: Broadsheet Coffee

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you may know that I'm currently on holiday with my family in Massachusetts. We're staying at a beach house near Gloucester on Cape Ann, about 40 miles northeast of Boston. To the best of my knowledge, the only speciality coffee on Cape Ann is that which I am making in our rental house (I brought some coffee from Catalyst and Five Elephant with me), although there is a coffee shop and roastery I'm looking forward to checking out in Ipswich.

Our first full day was beautiful and sunny, so we spent most of it on various beaches, but rain was forecast all day yesterday so we drove into Boston (the regular train service from Gloucester is, alas, much less convenient than usual thanks to construction works all summer). As we parked in the North End, I made a quick pit-stop at the George Howell Coffee inside Boston Public Market (my review of the newer, Downtown Crossing branch is here), and then headed to the T to travel to Harvard.

My destination was Broadsheet Coffee Roasters, a small-batch coffee roastery and café that opened a few weeks ago on Kirkland Street. I discovered Broadsheet on Instagram during my last trip to Boston in February and have been following their progress, eagerly awaiting their opening — and hoping they'd be ready in time for my trip! The café is just under a mile northeast of the Harvard T station and had the weather been rather more clement than yesterday, it would have been a pleasant stroll through Harvard Yard and along the leafy, residential Kirkland Street. As it was, I was very pleased when I made it to Broadsheet.

The barista later told me that the smiley face in the neon 'coffee' sign turns into a sad emoji when the café is closed, which is a very cute touch. They take their coffee, which is roasted in the back room, very seriously, however. There were four single-origin coffees, including one decaf, available as a Kalita Wave-brewed pourover; one of the (regular) coffees was also available on batch brew. The barista recommended the Jhon Wilson Poveda coffee from Huila in Colombia ($7.50), so I ordered that and took a seat, trying to dry off before my coffee arrived.

The café itself is very bright and airy, even on a grey, rainy day. The huge front windows let in a lot of light and the light-wood and white décor helps too, although there are a few pops of colour and plenty of foliage too.

As for my pourover, it tasted great, with the subtle citrus and floral notes coming through very nicely. In fact, I liked it so much, I bought a bag of beans to take back to our rental house. At $24 for a 340g (12 oz) bag, they were not cheap, but after carrying them around Boston all day, my handbag smelled wonderful and I look forward to brewing them in my trusty Aeropress.

I also tried a cortado ($4) with a different Colombian variety, the Nuveo Horizonte, and my coffee was well-balanced and with a sweeter, smoother taste. I was about to have lunch with my family so I didn't order anything to eat, but with items like the New England breakfast sandwich and the coconut rice bowl, the food menu lets you slip seamlessly from breakfast to lunch via brunch. On the weekend brunch menu, there's even a Yorkshire pudding, served with bacon, parmesan, poached egg, zhug hot sauce; probably not typical English pub-grub fare, but it sounded amazing!

Broadsheet isn't especially easy to access via public transport and there isn't a huge amount in the immediate vicinity, but it is well worth the detour, especially if you enjoy walking like me — and even if it's pouring with rain. It's a beautifully designed new addition to the neighbourhood with super coffee.

Broadsheet Coffee Roasters. 100 Kirkland Street, Cambridge, MA 02138. Website. Twitter. Instagram.

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