Wellness. It’s a buzzword now, but rest assured, the art of being well is real, achievable by all, and successful usually with a little help from those you call your closest, dearest, best companions – your tribe. Having a cup of coffee at my tiny apartment kitchen table (on wheels) with sweet friends and family has been one of my biggest pleasures in life. I serve whatever is “in stock” in my fridge and pantry and delight when I throw together something unexpected without having to run to the store. People (and pores, I suppose) open up over (hot) cups. It’s a thing.
Boston’s Coffee Scene – Update on Up and Coming Coffee
We recently checked out a coffee spot in town called Spark Coffee. It’s pretty nondescript from the outside, as it’s a pop up inside a Wine Gallery. In fact, I thought CVS had a wine section for years – NO – it is actually a separate shop. This location has a large space to read your newspaper by the window, a communal table, and a small market to pick up the makings for a picnic – charcuterie, fromage, local ice cream, crackers. They’re not on social media, not about the hype, but you heard about them here first!
This is the place to discover a wine you probably haven’t heard of before, but the owners have been to most of the wineries they sell there and know a lot about the flavors. Grilling swordfish steak? They won’t just grab you a bottle – they’ll ask what spices you’re planning to use, marinade, and pair it on that level of detail.
Igor, one of the two partner entrepreneurs behind Spark Coffee, is about to POP out of the wine gallery into three more locations around Boston, including a 40-seat cafe on Tremont St in the South End between Barcelona and Picco.
They aim to be a retail coffee shop destination, sourcing beans from 20 local roasteries kept for 2 weeks before rotating to give fresh inventory a go.
The concept gives customers the opportunity to cup and learn about different beans, roasts, flavors, pairings with a community, and should keep customers coming back again and again.
Boston’s coffee scene is rising quickly with the arrival of big names like Blue Bottle (opening at 40 Bow St. in Harvard Square Fall 2017, with 5 more locations to follow), intelligentsia (in Watertown) to the scene.
You can still, of course, grab a cuppa joe at any of my 10 favorite coffee shops in Boston I wrote about here, check out Spark when they launch, or, grab your favorite beans and make coffee at home.
You will can find the article under “Travel” if you’re browsing, or at the link above.
Since that can be tricky – what’s in the perfect cup?
It may be strong, bitter, light, acidic, and oh – no – grainy. Here are some helpful guides from our friends at Atlas Coffee Club to help you get that perfect cup the way you like it. With charming illustrations by Joe Brottman, you can learn how to make great coffee without a coffee maker, how to make espresso without a machine (I’m looking at you, Gracenote espresso beans), how to make the perfect cup of coffee, how to store coffee, and how to brew the perfect cold brew.
While we’re on the subject – has anyone else wondered what the difference between coffee and espresso beans is? Here’s a quick explanation distinguishing coffee and espresso beans.
Meet, the coffee wheel. This gets at the concept Spark Coffee tries to get at – as people get more familiar with tastes from wine, or chocolate, or coffee, the ability to distinguish finer flavors arises. The science of taste, explained right here. Take the sensory lexicon and let your curiosity take the lead – explore the flavors, working from the center outwards.
That way, worry less about the cup, and have more time for a quiet reflective moment, or delving into a good catch up session with your dearest people. The phrasing on this mug, a gift from a friend, is a reminder to seek to give off the good vibes. Yes, life isn’t perfect. Yes, sometimes you will vent or lose it and regret things, but ultimately, if you have your people, you’ll be good. (Curious about The W.E.L.L. Summit? I recently wrote a recap.)
Round up your tribe and take a seat around the table. Really listen. Laugh without abandon. Gratitude becomes you. Have a great weekend!