Thumbs Up: Diesel Cafe

July 27, 2007 psipsina

My interest in coffee is moderate.  I’m not a coffee snob, debating the relative merits of Arabica versus Robusta, or why the coffee in Italy is so good compared to the coffee in France.  (According to my friend Glodsmith, it’s because Italy gets its coffee beans from former Italian colony Ethiopia, while France gets its coffee from some former French colony with inferior coffee.  I find this interesting, but not interesting enough to organize my life around.  I liked the coffee in France just fine, though I must say that Montréal has better café au lait.)

On the other hand, I can’t drink just any coffee – I have been known to describe the method of coffee preparation favored by my mother as “dipping a brown crayon in lukewarm water.”  (I borrowed that line from someone, I think Charles Schultz, though if I recall correctly he was talking about bad hot chocolate instead of bad coffee.)

So I care about my coffee, but I don’t obsess over it. 

I gave up on Dunkin’ Donuts decaf when I started to notice that it tasted like soap.  I first attributed this to a failure to rinse the coffee maker properly.  However, when cup after cup, at shop after shop, had the same soapy taste, I concluded that they had changed their decaffeination process, and what I was tasting was some residual chemical residue.  Yuck.  I will admit to never having given Starbucks much of a chance, because they burn their beans nearly to a crisp, making for coffee that tastes like it’s been stored in a smokehouse.  Yuck.  And Au Bon Pain’s coffee is nearly as acidic as balsamic vinegar, but without the sweetness.  It gives me acid reflux.  Yuck.  Borders bookstores had good coffee, extremely good coffee, even, until they made their deal with the devil with Seattle’s Best.  Now – yuck: ’nuff said.  (The Borders in my hometown used to be the only place to get a decent cup coffee, most local places favoring my mother’s method of preparation.  Wherever will I turn now?)

The chains are certainly consistent, but each is consistently bad in its own unique way.  Local was the way to go.  I used to get my coffee at the Someday.

So, when the Someday closed about a year ago (and was replaced, I wish I were making this up, with a crêperie for pete’s sake.  How’s that for a dumb business decision?  Estimated Amercian intake of coffee:  2 cups a day.  Estimated American intake of crêpes:  1 crêpe every 2 years.  Yeah, I’d say a crêperie is a winning business model.  I hear they’re not doing well.  Who is surprised by this?), I had to find a small local place.

Enter Diesel.  I tried their coffee, and it was love at first sip:  robust without being bitter or burnt, smooth without being insipid or flat, hot enough to telegraph the aroma compounds to your nostrils, but not too hot to enjoy right away.  The decaf tastes like coffee, not solvents.  If you order anything with steamed milk, it comes with a very pretty design on top of the milk.  I’ve never had a bad cup of coffee there (and the pumpkin muffins are to die for).  And the staff are just right for an urban cafe – friendly and hip, but not too hip.

I can’t believe I’d lived in this neighborhood for two and a half years without trying Diesel.  And I will be sorry to leave next week!  But I’ll be back, if not as often – the coffee is worth going out of my way for.


Entry Filed under: boston, cafe, coffee, davis square, diesel, rave, somerville, thumbs up

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. sandrar&hellip  | 

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

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