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Blank Street Coffee Brews Up a Stir in Harvard Square

Blank Street Coffee, located at 1380 Massachusetts Ave., is the newest coffee spot in Harvard Square.
Blank Street Coffee, located at 1380 Massachusetts Ave., is the newest coffee spot in Harvard Square. By Zuzanna M. Kowalski
By Sidney K. Lee, Crimson Staff Writer

Blank Street Coffee, a chain known for its efficiency and lower priced coffee, celebrated its grand opening on Thursday with $2 drinks and lines spilling out into the Square.

Situated on 1380 Massachusetts Ave., the Harvard Square location is Blank Street’s fourth storefront in the Greater Boston area. During a soft opening Tuesday, Blank Street boasted completely free drinks.

The chain was founded in 2020 and has since expanded to operate more than 70 stores in New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., and London. According to Blank Street co-founder Vinay Menda, Harvard Square is the chain’s first location on a college campus.

“We were drawn to Cambridge — with a mix of students, faculty and local residents, we feel Harvard Square is a natural fit for our next storefront,” Menda wrote in an emailed statement.

Blank Street Chief of Staff Evan S. Mateen ’20 wrote in an email that he believes the store’s space — adjacent to Harvard Yard and the Smith Campus Center — is the “perfect location” for students to grab a coffee between classes.

“As a Harvard alum, it’s always been a goal of mine to bring Blank Street to campus. Harvard Square is one of the key nodes in Cambridge, so I’m honored for Blank Street to have a presence there,” Mateen wrote.

“When I was at Harvard, I wished there were more high quality, convenient options around campus, so I’m excited that we’re able to offer exactly what I was looking for during my time there,” he added. “As a brand, we believe in enriching daily rituals and we know coffee is an important one, especially with college students.”

In recent years, several new coffee shops have opened up in the Square, including Faro Café and a Starbucks just footsteps away.

Blank Street’s locations “prioritize convenience,” according to Menda. Customers can order ahead on the mobile app and participate in a subscription program called “Regulars,” a subscription service that costs a fixed rate for up to 14 drinks per week.

Blank Street’s cold brew menu is “what we’re really known for,” Menda wrote, highlighting the “Candy Cane Cold Brew” and the “Strawberry and Cream Latte.”

Affiliates said they were drawn to Blank Street by the free or $2 drinks last week, with many hearing about the promotions through word of mouth.

Chelsea E. Guo ’23-’24 — who said she has visited the New York City Blank Street location — described the shop as “busy.” Still, she said she appreciated the promotion prices.

“It’s a little bit cheaper, and it’s really efficient,” Guo said.

Marcia M. McLean, a Harvard teaching assistant in Portuguese, said she saw the “long queues” on Mass. Ave. and wanted to try out the new coffee shop. She described her drink as “super tasty” and “really, really nice.”

“Everything is so overpriced in Cambridge, so it’s a good opportunity for the students and the faculty as well,” McLean added.

—Staff writer Sidney K. Lee can be reached at Follow her on X @sidneyklee.

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