I am a coffee addict (ask anyone) and am always on the hunt for great little coffee shops. When my husband and I moved into our Ashmont neighborhood a year and a half ago, my first task at hand was to map out the locations of go-to coffee shops.
Over that time, these are a few of my fave places to get caffeinated!
Banh Mi Ba Le (1052 Dorchester Ave – Fields Corner)
Growing up, I always took sips of my parents’ coffee. They always had single serving slow dripped coffee over condensed milk. It wasn’t until I got to high school that I realized this is not how everyone took their coffee. What I grew up drinking is Vietnamese coffee – hot or cold coffee (my parents always used Cafe Du Monde Coffee and Chicory) sweetened with condensed milk. It’s always such a treat having one. My parents introduced me to Ba Le (mainly for their banh mi’s which I will get to in just a sec) and when I was living in Southie, I’d take a drive over whenever I had a craving for Vietnamese coffee. The banh mi’s here are delicious, authentic and quite affordable (no more than $5). Upon entering, you may be overwhelmed, especially if you go at their busy times. So a few tips. If you plan on getting a coffee/smoothie and food, go to the drink line first and place your order. Tell them you are going over to get food and will pick your coffee up after. Get in the food line and have an idea of what you want to order. When you get to the cash register, tell them you also ordered a coffee/smoothie and they’ll ring you up for everything. By the time you get through that, your coffee should be ready and you don’t have to queue up to order / pay. Ba Le is entirely to go (no seating available).
Reign Drink Lab (1370 Dorchester Ave – Fields Corner)
If you are looking for interesting and creative drinks, then Rein Drink Lab is a must-visit. My favorite drink here is the Dark & Stormy (nitro cold brew, Vietnamese coffee and their house made sea salt whip). However, if coffee is not your thing, do not worry! I am a fan of their Matcha Latte, Nitro Thai Tea and Passion Fruit Green Tea. My husband favors the Pineapple Whip and Banana Fosters – there’s something for everyone! The great part about Reign is that they use all real ingredients – none of the artificial stuff. Definitely give them a follow on IG to keep up with what’s going on in the shop. Every Saturday and Sunday, they offer Union Square donuts! And they recently introduced the Lab Hot Chocolate which features Tazo chocolate topped with their house made whip. Reign has limited seating but I never have an issue finding a seat if meeting a friend for coffee.
Honeycomb Cafe (107-109 Savin Hill Ave – Savin Hill)
I am obsessed with their flavorful flash brewed iced coffee! It’s straightforward, no frills and absolutely delicious! Honeycomb also offers breakfast during the weekday (from 7-11AM) and all day on weekends. There’s also a lunch menu. What’s great about this cafe is that they source their ingredients locally #shopsmall. Honeycomb offers limited counter space if you wanted to hang in and enjoy your breakfast/lunch.
home.stead bakery & cafe (1448 Dorchester Ave – Fields Corner)
My husband introduced me to home.stead but only after having gone here himself. The coffee shop is pretty spacious with a good amount of seating. On our most recent trip there, people were scattered about doing work on their laptops or meeting up with friends for coffee. Their menu offers typical coffee drinks you’d be looking for (lattes, espresso drinks, drip coffee, etc., ). I am a fan of their latte (made with almond milk). It was so creamy and flavorful, I didn’t even have to add any sugar to it (which I tend to do normally). My husband’s go-to here is their cappuccino. We have also tried their pastries (sticky bun, chocolate chip cookie and savory scone that had cheese in it) – none of which disappointed!
Caffe Zia Gianna (1739 Dorchester Ave – Peabody Square/Ashmont)
Caffe Zia Gianna is the new kid on the block and I am so excited it’s so close by to where I live. It offers traditional Italian espresso drinks (think affrogato, con panna, cappucino) and pastries (tiramisu, various pies and muffins). Caffe Zia Gianna is also a great gathering place for breakfast & lunch. I have not had the chance to try the food but every dish that was being brought out from the kitchen looked magnificent. The decor is super cheery and inviting. No need to trek to the North End to curb my Italian cravings from now on! I’ll definitely be back for the food.