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Dwell-time Coffee Bar

May 10, 2012

Dwell-time recently opened up in Mid-Cambridge, MA, near Inman Square. 364 Broadway to be exact. The name delightfully captures the intent of the bar's founders: in keeping with the bar's preparatory precision, dwell-time is a technical coffee term that refers to water-coffee contact time, but also alludes to the hominess that the place aspires to embody...this is a "clean, well-lighted place" in which to dwell for a time. 

Neither goal has been fully realized yet, unfortunately, because the place has only recently opened up--therefore brew options are limited--and hasn't yet secured a city permit for additional seats--there are not many. There is, however, a gorgeous copper coffee bar/island in the middle of the place, and like another Boston-area shop, Bloc 11, the space was converted from a bank (or perhaps an auction house). So there's lovely Boston brick walls, a high ceiling with great details...it's one of my favorite interior spaces, period, in the city.

For this morning's coffee I had a couple of drinks. First, a shot of Barismo's Lucid blend. Barismo is a key player in the Boston coffee industry, second to perhaps only George Howell as a roaster (their espresso blends are superior to Howell's, however). They're also the force behind the cafe itself. They have a roasterie in Arlington, MA that serves drinks--standing-room only-- but roasting is the primary purpose there. Dwell-time, on the other hand, is a bona fide cafe. 

As for the shot itself--this being Barismo's backyard, I've had Lucid pulled at many places. This was by far the best shot I've had. It was pulled on I believe a Strada, if not that then another variable-pressure machine. It took about five minutes for the drink to come up, which I like. The barista dumped a trial shot, or perhaps more than one, in order to make sure that the shot was up to spec. It was, and then some.

Beautiful malic acidity, like biting into a just-ripe Comice pear, the soft flesh easily giving way and yielding up that signature sweetness, juices dribbling down one's oblivious chin, dripping, still dripping. Amazing shot, should have gotten a second--but there's tomorrow.

I also had a pourover, a Hario v60 1-cup that yielded 7-8 ounces. It was poured using a Luminaire Bravo LB-1, which is a better version of the Uber Boiler...it controls flow-rate and temperature and they've programmed it with a certain profile for the coffee, a Kenyan Othaya. Good cup, not great. It may be because the Kenyan is oldish--I remember they offered the same coffee last summer, and I don't think a new crop has yet arrived. Strawberry tartness, slight, in the finish, and a delicate light to medium body. 

They also bake pastries in-house, which I couldn't resist sampling, and the baristas are very nice. If you're in the area, definitely definitely check this place out. Fair chance you'll spot me dwelling there.








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