One place I’d suggest you go for coffee in Boston is Sip, a greenhouse-like structure, situated downtown, at the southern end of Post Office Square Park. If you’re like I was, you may be suspicious. After all, cafes that set themselves up in parks are often tourist traps, right? They typically offer over-priced, low grade coffee that is better off left alone.
As you approach Sip, however, you’ll notice a few ways this cafe differs from the above-mentioned stereo type. First, the park is tiny and the type intended to beautify a downtown business district and not one aimed at attracting tourists. Second, the cafe offers full service with plenty of seating; it’s not a simple open-air kiosk. It lends itself to a pleasant indoor park experience, which is important given Boston’s weather extremes. Third, it offers a nice selection of sandwiches and salads with good ingredients that don’t seem exorbitantly priced.
Most importantly, though, Sip is armed with all the tell-tale signs of good coffee: a 2 group La Marzocco GB/5, gorgeous (and expensive) Terra Keramik demitasses, a litany of brew by the cup options (v60, Clever, and Aeropress) displayed on top of the glass display cases (but not in the older photo pictured above), and coffee (both espresso and filter) by both Terroir and a monthly rotating guest roaster.
I first visited SIP last summer when coffee options consisted solely of those by Terroir. Similar to Crema, filter coffee options consisted at that time of a house blend and a featured single origin (for $.25 more). I opted then for the El Salvador La Libertad, which was like rich, buttery caramel with roasted almonds. It was very good, but this Fetco brewed coffee less lively than the Terroir Colombia I had at Crema (3+).
The Daterra Southern Italian espresso, however, was excellent and the first really good shot of Terroir I had in the Boston area. This espresso has a deep red, enduring crema and was perfectly smooth, exhibiting notes of milk chocolate, vanilla and almonds with a mild orange-citrus acidity. It did reveal a slight edge in the aftertaste, but only just (4-).
I stopped back at SIP on my most recent visit to Boston which is when I discovered that the menu now includes both an espresso and filter coffee by a monthly, rotating guest. The menu also includes brewed-by-the-cup options. It was late in the day which is why I skipped the espresso. But for the record, it was Counter Culture’s Aficionado as guest in addition to Terroir’s Southern Italian blend.
Instead I opted for a Clever of the Counter Culture Papua New Guinea, based on the staff recommendation. This thick and chewy coffee tasted of bittersweet chocolate fudge with vanilla and something fruity, perhaps, pear or cherry or both. Still, it was a tad mild and understated. It was good, but simple (3+).
All in all, SIP is hard to argue with. It’s easy to get to from public transportation, provides a nice place to sit while you sip, offers coffee from multiple roasters, pulls quality espresso and gives you a choice of brew methods. It may very well be the only quality cup of coffee in downtown Boston, but it’s well worth checking out no matter where you happen to be in the area.