Cafe Fixe deserves more than it’s about to get in this review given their commitment to well-prepared coffee and a decent array of brewing options, but there are times when my brain simply grows weary of writing clever descriptions of cafes and their coffee. Add to this fact that I visited Cafe Fixe last August and maybe you can understand my inability to conjure the creativity needed to write this post. Now if only I had those two espressos I consumed as I was writing my notes.
Here are the facts. The coffee options at Fixe are not too dissimilar to what you can now get at Sip. Fix prepares both filter coffees and espresso from both a primary roaster, in this case Barrington Coffee Roasters, and a rotating guest roaster. When I visited last summer, the guest was Novo coffee. More recent information indicates that Fixe served as one of Stumptown’s first forays into the Boston area.
My Barrington Gold espresso (the consumed one on the left in the photo) was a super short shot with all the signs of good extraction (healthy crema, some flecking, etc.) and the taste to back it up. It was a mellow espresso with a velvety mouthfeel, a wine-like acidity and notes of spice and tobacco. I could have done without the musty, slightly funky qualities but these seemed slight and the sort that were intended rather than an extraction defect (4-).
The Novo espresso (I didn’t catch which coffee) was very nice with the mottled, red-brown crema visible on the right below. It was a thick, viscous and intensely fruity shot with very pronounced blueberry notes but also some chocolate and cherry, which mellowed substantially in the finish. If anything, it was overly fruity but in espresso, it’s hard to complain about this quality too much, and I still preferred this shot ever so slightly to the Barrington (4-).
The filter coffee options aren’t (or I should say were not at the time) as varied or multiple as SIP’s are now, but Cafe Fixe provides a couple of solid choices. You can pick from a rotating coffee stored in an airpot and brewed via French Press or your choice of coffee, brewed to order in an Abid Clever Coffee Dripper. I opted for the Abid (quite possibly my first time to have coffee with the Abid) using Novo’s Amaro Gayo. It was an intensely fruity coffee, full of strawberries and white wine. I’m guessing it was the natural Amaro (although I don’t have this in my notes) given that it was nothing like the washed version of this coffee that I tried recently. I liked this particular coffee, but somewhat preferred my experience with the espressos (3+).
Overall, it’s hard to argue with Cafe Fixe. It’s conveniently located right on the Green line and even has a parking lot in the rear.The decor is crisp, pleasant and plentiful even if it does resemble a Pinkberry-Ikea lovechild. Most important, the coffee is good and they offer a variety of well-executed brewing. My description may not do Cafe Fixe justice but it’s certainly worth your time to go.