Boston’s South End cafes

handsome, hunk, man drinking coffee
Current locally-owned & independent coffee houses in the South End

During these cold months, the many small, independent coffee houses in the South End become a great place to meet up with someone or to get out.

I wanted to update my 2015 post, Boston’s many South End coffee houses. For the purpose of this post, I have intentionally omitted the large, national chains (2 Dunkin’, 1 Starbucks, 1 Peets Coffee, and 1 Caffè Nero) in the South End. I want to showcase local coffee houses that brew different coffees and have far more personality. I hope this post encourages you to find a local coffee house and make it your own. Save the chains for when you’re on the road or at an airport.

Below is a map of independent coffee houses in the South End. All of these places have space to sitdown and enjoy your coffee. I’ve also included the price for a small cup of coffee, the coffee they serve and details about the coffee house.

  1. Render Coffee House – Price for a small coffee is $3.00. Render serves their own brand of coffee and is best known for their pour-over brew method. The first coffee house was in the South End but this coffee house now has a location in the Financial District and Seaport.
  2. Café Madeleine – Price for a small coffee is $2.00. The cafe serves La Colombe coffee. This tiny cafe has limited seating (and none during the pandemic). Aside from having good coffee they have the best croissants, according to this blind croissant tasting I hosted.
  3. Jaho Coffee & Tea House – Price for a small coffee is $2.80. They serve their own brand of coffee and in some of their other locations they also serve wine in the evenings. Originally, based in Salem, MA Jaho now has three locations in Boston.
  4. Flour Bakery and Cafe – Price for a small coffee is $3.25. Flour serves Fazenda coffee (a local coffee roaster). This is the first Flour Bakery and Cafe (opening in 2000). Now the popular cafe has nine locations in Boston and Cambridge.
  5. Greystone Café – Price for a small coffee is $3.00. The cafe serves Proud Mary Coffee. This location was formerly the Appleton Bakery but a mother / daughter team opened Greystone in September 2020 with a beautiful walk-up window.
  6. Kohi Café – Price for a small coffee is $3.00. They serve Tandem coffee and are best known for their pour-over brew method. The first cafe opened in Provincetown but there are now three locations in Boston.
  7. Berkeley Perk Café – Price for a small coffee is $2.50. “The Perk” as I call it serves its own brand of coffee and is the longest continually running coffee house in the South End. It first opened its doors in the late 1990s (I believe 1998).
  8. South End Buttery – Price for a small coffee is $2.60. The coffee house serves Equator coffee. Richard first opened this space in 2005 and transformed this corner of the South End. In 2014 I conducted a blind chocolate chip cookie tasting and the Buttery’s cookie took top honors. Maybe I should do this again. The Buttery has a sister location at 37 Clarendon St. that remains unmarked above because its status since the pandemic remains uncertain.
  9. Tatte Bakery & Café – Price for a small coffee is $3.00. Tatte serves Stumptown Coffee. The South End location is teh largest coffee / cafe in the neighborhood yet this giant space does fill up (especially in the morning). In recent years, Tatte has expanded rapidly and now there are approximately 20 locations in Boston, Cambridge, and Brookline.
  10. Cuppacoffee – Price for a small coffee is $2.36. The Australian coffee house serves Abbotsford Road (an Australian roaster now in the US). If you go, I recommend ordering a Long Black (an Australian version of an Americano). This coffee house has one other location in Boston.
  11. Mod Espresso – Price for a small coffee is $4.00. They serve La Colombe coffee. I enjoy the staff at this coffee house inside the high end furniture store Modern Relik.
  12. Blunch – Price for a small coffee is $2.01. They serve karma Coffee. Better known for their delicious sandwiches, cookies and treats, the space is well loved and has a strong loyal customer base.

Blackbird Doughnuts (Not on the map – my bad) – Price for a small (16oz – yikes) coffee is $2.50 and is from Fazenda Coffee (a local coffee roaster). While no indoor seating is available, they do have a popular bench which makes for good people watching if you can snag the space with a friend. The shop is located near Tremont & Berkeley Street.

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