Coffee shops are much more than just places to dash in, grab a cup of joe to go, and dash out. Many are places where people can sit and take a load off their feet, browse the internet or meet a client or friend, all while enjoying a fresh cup of coffee or tea, and maybe a snack as well. While Boston has no shortage of franchise coffee places, there are a lot of unique local establishments, many of which are not only more welcoming and comfortable, but serve a superior cup of coffee. Here are just five great locally owned, non-chain coffee shops in Boston.

Boston Brewin
45 Broomfield St.
Boston, MA 02108
(252) 622-6732

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Boston Brewin serves only fair trade organic coffee, and makes every effort to be as eco-conscious as possible. It has a strong following among those for whom drinking coffee is more than just a caffeine fix, but is also about what they believe a business should stand for. The shop is rebuilding its website, but can be contacted through its Facebook page, and its menu is up on Singleplatform. Its signature cup, the Space Shuttle, is a double shot with foam and choice of flavors, and has enough caffeine to put those who drink it into orbit.

Thinking Cup
165 Tremont St.
Boston, MA 02111
(617) 482-5555

Thinking Cup is a coffee house, patisserie, sandwich place and more, all rolled into one. It is, however, most famous for the Stumptown Coffee roasted in Brooklyn, New York, which it brews fresh. Their baristas are trained craftsmen who not only take special pride in their work, but have the certificates and awards to prove it. Like the best bartenders, these baristas like to play with flavors, and their vanilla ginger latte is not only unique, but also amazing.

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True Grounds
717 Broadway
Somerville, MA 02144
(617) 591-9559

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Coffee shops names are often puns on the product they sell, but True Grounds is more than just a typical coffee house with a cute title. This delightful little place in Ball Square in Somerville has a local following whose opinions are as strong as the espresso the baristas brew here. Like so many of the best shops, they have signature cups such as their honey latte and raz mocha. Their baked goods are made fresh in-house daily, and the breakfast and sandwich menu includes some unique offerings, such as the B-Square roast beef with herbed boursin cheese, or the Cedar with homemade hummus and apples.

Gracenote Coffee
Lincoln Street
Boston, MA 02111

A coffee roaster as well as a coffee shop, Gracenote Coffee on Lincoln Street near South Station starts with fresh green coffee and lovingly roasts it to perfection. Their espresso offerings quite literally change every day, depending upon what they are roasting. The place is a lively standing espresso bar, and offers pastries from Cafe Madeleine rather than make their own as, frankly, they are just too busy to bake, or to answer the phone (which is why they do not have one listed!)

1369 Coffee House
1369 Cambridge St.
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 576-1369

“An enduring hangout” for creative types, students and many others who live, work and study in Cambridge, the 1369 Coffee House makes it a point to be part of the community. The homemade soups are wonderfully comforting, as is everything they make, but their coffee is even most astounding. The malted cold brew coffee is simply inspired, and the mocha slide is nothing less than an adult milkshake. They have a long list of Colombian and French Roast standards, and make some incredible specialty drinks as well, like the Mexican hot chocolate with chipotle and cinnamon, or the Almond Joy, which they proudly boast is “better than the candy” after which it is named.

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