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Your Guide to Cambridge’s Blue Bottle Coffee

By Grace Z. Li
By Lucy Wang, Crimson Staff Writer

As the temperature outside dipped below the thirties, sweet scents of liege waffles and a warming light radiated from 40 Bow Street, as Blue Bottle Coffee opened its doors in Cambridge for the first time. Students lined up by the West Coast giant’s entrance, eager for their Friday caffeine fix. The Crimson went to the scene to check out what Blue Bottle Coffee has to offer.

New Orleans Coffee
The coffee menu seems standard at first glance—espresso, cold brew, lattes, drip coffee. Blue Bottle has its own twists on these classics, like the delightful New Orleans cold brew, served with milk, cane sugar, and roasted chicory. The iced drink is smooth and sweet, creamy but not too rich. It’s the perfect way to ease into the morning for anyone who’s not used to or ready to be hit with the bitter and oftentimes sour taste of HUDS coffee—a wake-up call that’s gentle, soothing and effective.

For a warmer drink, try the latte, just as comforting. The latte art is beautiful, and the light and not overly airy microfoam is the star of this drink. I found the espresso a bit underwhelming and too diluted, though I’d be willing to give it another shot on its own instead of with steamed milk.

Liege Waffle
Move over, Zinneken’s. You no longer have the monopoly to waffles in the square. The liege waffle, which CEO Bryan K. Meehan called the “star” of the menu, upstaged the rest of the selections. A crunchy and sugar-sweet crust falls apart to a soft and chewy center. It’s definitely a satisfying bite. The size is perfect for a breakfast to-go or a daytime snack. There’s something about the fresh and lightly sweet pastry that makes me feel like it’d be okay to have one of these waffles everyday. Maybe it’s not that bad for me. Or maybe it’s just that good.

Avocado Toast
And, of course, Blue Bottle Coffee wouldn’t really be a west coast joint if it didn’t offer avocado toast. A thick slice of hearty multigrain bread serves as the base for a heap of avocado goodness. The spicy pepper flakes and lemon juice sprinkled on top add an amazing kick to this millenial classic, and the dish is dense and filling despite its portable size. However, it costs $9. Would I buy this? Not everyday. But if I’m treating myself? Definitely.

Spearmint Herbal Tea
For those looking for a non-caffeinated drink, the coffee shop offers decaf coffee as well as teas. I tried the spearmint herbal tea, which was at once soothing and refreshing, but nothing to boast about. If I really wanted tea, TeaLuxe is still my place of choice.

The Ambience
Even as students weaved in and out of Blue Bottle, tables across the cafe filled up. Meehan emphasized “hospitality” as one of the key values of the company, and the layout inside provides a space for social gatherings with the ambience of a true coffeehouse. Against one side of the store, a countertop lines the window, creating a whole row of space conducive to working. The minimalist design and plain white walls highlight the store’s interior, much like its year-old competitor Tatte, located a little more than a block down the street. However, where Tatte tries to be elegant with a vintage aesthetic, Blue Bottle tries to be contemporary.

The menu also includes in-house English muffins and dairy-free overnight oats, as well as grab-and-go sandwiches and pastries. Blue Bottle offered a cup of free coffee to customers stopping by between 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on its opening day. Regular business hours will be between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

—Staff writer Lucy Wang can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @lucyyloo22

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