A Pursuit of Coffee – Beantown Expedition #3
Tatte Bakery and Cafe
It was the last warm day before the blizzard. Boston hinted at what it could be like in the spring, and I even wore shoes that revealed a little foot flesh. It was a beautiful day, and I spent most of it outside the apartment.
One of the activities that day was to attend a coffee shop that I’d never been to with a friend I hadn’t seen in 12 years. A few weeks ago a woman with whom I attended high school reached out to me (thank you Facebook) because she lives in Boston and wanted to reconnect. It’s not every day two people from Owensboro share the space of a new city together. She suggested we meet at a coffee shop I’d never visited, so I jumped at the opportunity.
I walked the steep streets of Beacon Hill to meet her at Tatte. It’s a chain throughout the Boston metro area, but I’d never seen it before. I arrived 10 minutes early and snagged us the last table.
This gave me time to bask in the atmosphere. To my front was an L-shaped display of the most beautiful pastries. I swooned a little over the plethora of croissants and cookies and beauties. Generally a sucker for gluten, I’m proud to say I resisted this time and just ogled them.
Around me the decor was minimal with white subway tile, white walls and wooden tables. A variety of vintage light fixtures all containing Edison lightbulbs lined the pastry counter. They made the pastries shine just right. Personally, I loved the simplicity of the decor. It created a clean atmosphere where many unique ideas, conversations, designs and stories could be created.
My gaze then moved to the coffee menu. It contained a typical list of espresso-based options as well as pour overs, a special winter latte and a long list of teas. I entered with every intention of drinking some decaf tea, but when I saw Tatte serves Stumptown exclusively, I quickly obliged my coffee-tooth.
In order to entertain myself the rest of the time, I listened to the conversations around me and tried not to make awkward contact with the barista who stared me down. He didn’t seem very happy that I was sitting at the only remaining table by myself and without ordering anything. I tried to send him mental signals that I was waiting for someone, and if he would just be patient, we’d both order and everyone would be happy.
Soon my high school friend walked through the door and we awkwardly hugged. Twelve years is a long time. We chatted for just a moment before walking to the counter. I placed my order second and decided to try their special winter latte. Usually not a fan of even a hint of sweet in my coffee, it felt like a good evening drink. After paying for our drinks, we sat down at the table and started talking. Twenty minutes passed, and I still didn’t have my coffee. Apparently, I hadn’t heard them call out “Meghan”, so my coffee had been sitting out, which made for the perfect temperature to start immediate consumption.
We sat across from each other for almost two hours catching up on a lifetime. We talked about college, travels, weddings, public health, Owensboro, Boston, and adjusting to a New England town. I can’t express the joys of reconnecting with an old friend. I think I took for granted just being able to “grab coffee with a friend” in Louisville. When you don’t have many of them, it turns into a lot of “grabbing coffee with my book” or “grabbing coffee with my journal” or “grabbing coffee with my work”. It’s not quite the same.
I haven’t returned since my visit last week, but I’d love to test out its atmosphere at one of its other locations. I want to sink my teeth into one of their delicious looking pastries. This was the kind of coffee shop/bakery I had been searching for in Boston, and I look forward to frequenting often.
This story is about Tatte’s fifth location on Charles St., which opened in 2015. This location offers full breakfast, lunch and dinner during the week and brunch on the weekends. There are a total of six Tatte locations in Boston and Cambridge.
Tatte was started by Tzurit Or in 2007. She is a self-trained pastry chef who grew up in Israel baking with her family and community. Before dedicating her life to baking, she spent twelve years as film producer. However, when she moved to the United States she put all of her energy into baking and pastries. Tatte serves cookies, cake, tarts, and pastries along with full meals. All the ingredients are raw and carefully sourced. If you’re interested in learning how to make these breads and pastries, Tatte even offers classes on how to make croissants, brioche, and other types of bread.