09 August 2017

The Boston Caffeine Chronicles: Gracenote Coffee

On our penultimate day in Massachusetts, we packed up our rental house and drove into Boston, dropping off our luggage at the hotel and the car at the car-hire office. It was a swelteringly hot afternoon and I wasn't planning to visit Gracenote Coffee's Boston coffee shop until the following day but when I realised I was so close to its location in the Leather District near South Station, it would have been silly not to go.

I'd heard great things about Gracenote from, among others, Sprudge (whose Boston coffee guide came out just after mine) Brian of Brian's Coffee Spot and Chris at Little Wolf Coffee and I've been wanting to visit the coffee shop for some time. Intrigued by the name Gracenote, I'd meant to ask the baristas where it came from but (bad blogger) forgot, but there's a nice interview with Patrick Barter here where Gracenote's founder talks about this and his musical background.

The coffee shop is unassumingly minimalist from the outside and pleasingly zen on the inside. I arrived not long before the weekday closing time of 4:30 pm and it was relatively quiet inside the small, standing-room-only espresso bar. The first thing I noticed was the beautiful selection of colourful pottery mugs on display above the retail bags of Gracenote beans. But the gorgeous counter set-up, with its elegantly attractive gridded wooden front and countertop (I believe from the same Maine-based craftsman as the mugs) and lovely Modbar espresso set-up, came a close second.

Despite the hot weather, I wasn't in the mood for a nitro cold brew and the filter options were batch-brew only (a Colombian Consaca that day), so, in what will be a surprise to no regular reader, I decided to order a cortado, with the day's featured espresso — an Ethiopian Guji Chire Mill, which was new to Gracenote at the end of June. Their house blend, Alpha Espresso, was also available as usual. I really enjoyed the cortado, which had nice peachy and floral notes coming through.

Strangely, I felt much cooler after my hot drink, even bathed in sunlight as I perched at the long, raised table attached to the big, west-facing windows along the side of the café. I was tempted to order an espresso tonic but I was also very tempted to buy the vibrant ultramarine mug or some beans, neither of which I had room for in my suitcase, and paralysed by indecision, I ended up buying nothing. I told myself I'd try to go back the following day but alas, the inclement weather put paid to that. Another time! I was less certain about the "Aussie cappuccino" on the menu (topped with Dick Taylor chocolate shavings), but then I rather enjoyed Cup & Bar's Dirty Charlie in Portland.

I loved hanging out at Gracenote, chatting with the friendly baristas and enjoying a bit of end-of-holiday quiet time. And with such great coffee, I'm sure I'll be finding my way back to the Leather District next time I'm in Boston.

Gracenote Coffee Boston. 108 Lincoln Street, Boston, MA 02111. Website. Twitter. Instagram. You can also find their coffee at various Boston-area coffee shops and cafés.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Bex,

    Awesome write-up. Gracenote is one of my Boston favourites and that's such an amazing spot/set-up. You would think, from the size of it and the lack of seating, that you would in and out in a few minutes. As it was, I reckon I was there for about two hours! Thanks for the link, by the way.