North End of Boston - Cafes with Levers?

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#1: Post by cyclezib »

I planning an upcoming trip to Boston's North End.
Does anyone have a recommendation on a cafe that pulls their espresso with a lever machine?


#2: Post by Coffcarl »

I haven't seen one. The only recent lever sighting I had was in newburyport, and the pull was godawful

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#3: Post by djcuvcuv »

Not aware of anything in the north end, but Tokava in Jamaica Plain has a KVW Mirage spring lever. I think the best quality espresso in the boston area generally are Cafe Fixe in Brookline, Broadsheet in Cambridge, and lastly Gracenote (i put gracenote last not because their espresso is worse than the others, but i just personally never liked their coffee all that much despite desperately trying very hard to like it)

More on Tokava - they used to be better pre-corona just because you could have the espresso to stay rather than to-go. As of now, the espresso from that KVW spring lever is quite amazing, but i didnt include it in the above list since you can only have it in a tiny to-go (shot-glass size) paper cup. Although maybe call them and see if that has changed, who knows, since things around here are opening up a bit more.

Enjoy boston!
Best wishes,


#4: Post by coffeechan »

Personally the best part of the north end is a meal in the small eateries and a pastry or gelato after. I don't remember any specific cafes that pulled espresso with levers in the north end in all the times I've been there. It's mostly semi auto machines serving Lavazza or a similar Italian brand. If you are a fan of Italian blends with Robusta, Order 1 or 2 drinks and enjoy it with the pastries from Mike's or Modern pastry.

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#5: Post by EddyQ »

djcuvcuv wrote:As of now, the espresso from that KVW spring lever is quite amazing,
Ha. I own Martin's (owner of 7 Pond St Cafe, now Tokeca) 2 group KvdW Idro. He replaced it with the three group that looks to be there now.

Photo Jan 2020.

Way back, 1995?, I tasted my first real Italian ristretto pulled on a lever machine at the North End and ordered from a coworker who grew up in Italy. This experience paved the way for what I have now. Sad to hear nobody knows of a quality lever being used there now (I havent been there in quite a while)
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#6: Post by djcuvcuv »

eddy i am infinitely jealous! that is so cool. why did you buy it and how has it been pulling shots on that thing? have you had to fine up your grind compared to other machines?
Best wishes,

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#7: Post by EddyQ » replying to djcuvcuv »

It was quite a change from my La Pavoni Europiccola. Believe it or not, it took me a month to make better espresso than my La Pavoni. But now that I have the machine completely figured out and dialed in, it is great. Very stable and I have one group intentionally 2ddgrees cooler than the other (for darker roasts).

Why did I buy it? Well, I was getting more and more groups of people visiting to have coffee. The La Pavoni wasn't great for crowds. The Idro is overkill, but a machine really designed to pull a shot anytime and any rate.
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#8: Post by dmw010 »

Honestly, the "best" (as in drinkable) espresso in the North End is probably at Thinking Cup, a small local chain with three locations that uses Stumptown. I've never had a good espresso from one of the traditional cafes or restaurants there. The last time I went to an old-school North End cafe, they dosed the portafilter with preground coffee sitting in a wooden drawer under the grinder.

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#9: Post by IamOiman »

EddyQ wrote:The Idro is overkill
Careful, overkill can be a big range for various people :D
Using a spice grinder violates the Geneva Convention
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#10: Post by Coffcarl »

Since the post was about levers, I did not chime in on what I thought was the best in the North End, but I agree with The Thinking Cup. They pull a really good shot. They use Stumptown Hairbender for their espresso.