• Feature


Drinking coffee too often becomes a matter of necessity: Caffeine boosts fuel us through morning drudgery, so we stop at the convenient chain on our morning commute. But in another realm altogether is the more discerning style of drinking coffee—the savoring of every sip, the unraveling of the beverage’s endless complexity and nuance. For true aficionados, coffee is both art form and hobby—and barismo, a local roaster and retailer, was founded by aficionados, for aficionados.

What began a decade ago as a blogging project among a group of baristas sharing experiences roasting and tasting coffee eventually spurred a coffee bar sourcing direct-trade beans from around the world. The team officially launched its flagship barismo coffee-roasting location (a modest East Arlington storefront) in early 2008, adding a coffee bar a few years later. In 2012 the company opened barismo 364, a second coffee bar housing a full bakery, in the historic F.B. Hubley Auction House near Inman Square; barismo 295 opened in 2015 in Voltage Coffee & Art’s former Kendall Square space, with a focus on trendier offerings like hot draft joe and on-tap cold brew.

We recommend opting for an ultra-frothy nitro cold brew right from the tap—low on bitter and remarkably smooth. If java isn’t your thing, peruse a menu of direct-trade teas or opt for a uniquely refreshing tea fizz with carbonated water. Pair with a pastry from barismo’s continually rotating menu—yielding surprises like pineapple turnovers, gluten-free corn-and-blueberry loaves, and lemon-lavender scones—and you’re good to go. For the hungrier among us, a brunch menu offers staples from Belgian waffles and eggs Benedict to a vegan oat bowl with homemade granola and apple butter.

It makes sense that barismo expanded into tech-centric Cambridge, given the company prides itself on innovation. The hot draft coffee on tap, for example, is stored in kegs and then pumped through high-temperature food-grade hoses. It’s brewed in such a way that any sediment negatively impacting flavor is removed while oils are allowed to pass through more easily, promoting a cleaner flavor and richer mouthfeel.

Direct trade has been barismo’s sole way of doing business since day one, and a glance at the menu—which brims with roasts purchased directly from farms across South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia—confirms the fact. Valuing transparency, the roaster also displays its wholesale price for the beans right next to the resale price. This philosophy has encouraged  barismo to forge numerous lasting relationships with individual producers. One award-winning southern Peruvian farm barismo works with, for instance, meticulously peels every coffee cherry by hand to ensure the bean’s not damaged and the skin doesn’t enter the fermentation process. The roaster also participates in a development project in northern Thailand aimed at creating economic opportunity through coffee.

About six different varieties of coffee are available for purchase at any given time, all of which can be ordered online as well as in stores. If you’d like a steady supply of joe, sign up for a subscription plan (weekly or monthly) for an individual home ($15 per 12-ounce bag), an office ($42 per 2.5-pound bag or $77 per 5-pound bag), or for the Clockwork Espresso plan ($14.50 per 12-ounce bag).

Other Locations

  • 364 Broadway, Cambridge
  • 171 Massachusetts Avenue, Arlington
  • 295 Third Street, Cambridge

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