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Local restaurants branch out with booming coffee programs

Java gets the VIP treatment in Mass.
Coffee
These restaurants are taking coffee to the next level. Photo by Brian Samuels Photography

You can’t swing a dead cat in Boston without hitting a restaurant with a “robust cocktail program.” But it’s not just the alcoholic beverages that get the VIP treatment these days. Full service dining establishments around the Bay State are paying particular attention to the coffee they serve, carefully curating that after-dinner cup of joe with beans from around the world.

At Deadhorse Hill in Worcester, the popular Brooklyn brew Parlor Coffee is used as their main coffee brand. The Wallabout blend, which features flavors of milk chocolate, molasses and bittersweet cocoa, is the primary espresso, while the Colombian single estate coffee beans are rotated as their drip coffee.

There’s also a guest roaster for manual brew coffees, which allow the restaurant to share a specific place and style of the farmer and the roaster.

“All ingredients here are treated equally,” says Julia Auger, director of wine and service at Deadhorse Hill.  “A bad cup of coffee after an incredible meal is such a let down. And just not fair!”

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Deena Marlette, general manager of Branch Line in Watertown, says that when they were going through the opening stages of the restaurant, choosing just one roaster proved to be a challenge.

“Coffee is seasonal, much like the food we source in the kitchen,” says Marlette. “By offering beans that feature what is currently in season, we are not only able to give our guests something new each time they come in, we are also staying true to what is actually growing at that time.”

Branch Line rotates their featured brand every two to three months. So far, they’ve used out-of-state options like Parlor Coffee and Philadelphia’s Rival Brothers, as well as Boston-area brands Fazenda Coffee Roasters and Mystic Coffee Roasters. Creating unique drinks has also become a popular method of establishing trademark beverages. Branch Line has added a turmeric ginger latte and an iced matcha latte to their menu, while Deadhorse Hill’s “Schlatte” is a decadent iced latte that blends Parlor espresso, Cooper’s Farm milk and cream with a hint of sugar.

“Coffee is just as complex as beer and wine,” says Marlette. “It was important to us that our coffee program be on the same level.”

 
 
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