Category Archives: Massachusetts

Haymarket Cafe

One of the most perfect Sundays I can imagine would involve great friends, sweaty yoga, and a nourishing post-workout breakfast. I am pleased to say I was fortunate enough to enjoy one of these perfect Sundays recently at Haymarket Cafe in Northampton, MA. After an amazing moving meditation at Shiva Shakti, we headed to Haymarket for some juices, but naturally, I took a detour towards their iced mocha.


Taste: 5

This is one of the best iced mochas I have enjoyed in quite some time. The trick, apparently, lies in their homemade cocoa powder! Really smooth flavor. Haymarket has been roasting their very own Fair Trade coffee beans since 1999.

Appearance: 2

Nothing super special about this mocha, but doesn’t it look deliciously refreshing?



Ambiance: 3

This is a sleppy, bohemian style spot. Some students studying, some folks reading newspapers, and some diners dining downstairs. Trust me on this–you really do not want to spend time in this dingy cafe; order your coffee and juices to go. One last tip: do not order the food. It boasts a wide vegetarian selection, but you don’t want to waste your time or taste buds on their breakfast sandwich with soy sausage (gag). My friend Nicole enjoyed her vegan scramble, and while this does appear to be the most popular breakfast choice, you will not find me back at Haymarket to give it a try. I will, however, be back for a post-yoga mocha, and you should try one too!




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Posted by on August 18, 2013 in Massachusetts



On a recent trip to Boston to visit some lovely friends, we stopped by Cafeteria on Newbury St. for a (boozy) brunch. I have walked by this place dozens of times but never stopped inside – maybe I was just deterred by the name? But after spending some time dining here, I left feeling both confused yet refreshed – confused because this place in NO way resembles a cafeteria, refreshed from great conversation and a mocha that WOKE me up!

Taste: 5

This little mocha tasted like a latte at first. It was not served with a spoon so I grabbed one from a nearby table, mixed it up, and voila! A mocha. It got super chocolatey, but in a good way. Would have liked it to be a bit warmer in temperature though.

Appearance: 2

This does look tempting, yes, but this is nothing super special. I do like the size of this mocha – just perfect! And obviously, a point for the cup AND saucer. So those are the only two points I can allot to this little mocha. Some designs in the foam would have been nice to see, and perhaps serving this with a small spoon would have been helpful. I love the foamed milk at the top and find it more appropriate to use a spoon to get the last bit of foam. The more I think about it, the more I wonder if maybe I’d like a mocha cappuccino over a mocha latte – more foamed milk! I’ll give it a try some time…



Ambiance: 6

I really liked this place! I was so surprised, actually, to see how big Cafeteria is inside. It was way too cold to sit outside, even though there is an outdoor patio during warmer months. The downstairs and upstairs seem to have totally different vibes – the downstairs was so busy, but the upstairs was much more modern, quieter, and had great service. There was a big mix of people – some college students out to brunch, some guys watching football, and some older folks reading the newspaper. I personally would not come here again to grab a mocha and study, but it is a great place to socialize over great drinks (bloody mary!) and food (grilled cheese). I recommend visiting Cafeteria during the warmer months so you can sit outside, people watch, and have a drink after a long day of shopping and sightseeing.




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Posted by on January 21, 2013 in Massachusetts


Voltage Coffee & Art

As much as I love Cambridge coffee shops, I have to say they are all starting to look rather similar.  I have been hearing lots of buzz about Voltage Coffee & Art in Cambridge, MA.  The buzz is biased, all praise from fellow coffee lovers, who say that owner/barista Lucy is a welcome addition to the Kendall Square coffee scene.  I had to see for myself.

Taste: 7

Nicely done, Voltage.  On my first sip I noticed the great mix of flavors!  Deep dark cocoa and rich espresso are what I tasted most.  The temperature was warm, would have liked it a little warmer.  The texture of the steamed milk was almost perfect!  I had to get a spoon to scoop up all of the goodness.  I love steamed milk!  Wonder if steamed soy/coconut/anything else milk will turn out just as tasty?

Appearance: 6

I haven’t seen one of these pretty little designs in a while.  I still can’t quite figure out what the heck this design is supposed to be.  Or is it really nothing but one of the Rorschach test photos… what do you see? So Voltage, while I so appreciate the effort, if you want to STAND OUT in the Cambridge coffee world, why don’t you try creating a more unique appearance?  Lucy has a degree in fine arts for goodness sakes!


Store Ambiance: 5

I walked into this nearly empty rotating art gallery/coffee shop, looked around, and tried to figure out the vibe – contemporary? vintage-y? or some hipster-esque mix of the two? I was then greeted by a barista who was a dead ringer for a hipster Zach Efron/Jared Leto mix.  I smile as I recall my newest coffee joke:  How did the hipster burn his tongue?  He drank his coffee before it was cool!  You know you laughed, come on. 🙂 To be quite honest, Voltage does not stand out amongst the other Cambridge coffee shops – same look, same feel, same menu.  The one difference I noticed is that Voltage has some fun decorations toys to play with (sorry Joshua, poor grammar, I know). See those globes in the photo below?  One of my favorite games with a globe is to determine my next big vacation.  So I spin a globe and blindly have a friend plant one finger on the globe when I say stop!  My friend Stephanie Flores (hi!) determined that by pure chance, both she and I will take our next vacations to Flores Island.

I open a parenthesis:  I admit, I am embarrassingly horrible with geography.  I don’t know how that happened.  I like to think of myself as pretty well traveled and pretty smart, but geography is not my strong suit.  Honestly though, would you have ever heard of Flores Island if your last name isn’t Flores? Close parenthesis.

Voltage is extremely spacious.  This can be a good thing when you have tons of customers; however, it was so sleepy quiet on a sunny Saturday afternoon that I wasn’t sure how to read the emptiness.  If you like to study in a coffee shop that makes little – no noise, then Voltage is for you.  Perhaps this is their ‘we’re new in town’ phase, and eventually mocha-goers will actually grab a mocha and stay a while.  Bring this place some much needed life!  According to the website, Voltage seems like they are trying to liven the place up with open events to the community. I am interested to see what this place is like on a busy night.  So I hate to break it to you Voltage but I was not so impressed with your first impression.  Some of us do deserve a second chance though, so perhaps we will meet again.

  Order your drink at this counter!  Look closely and             they spelled Banana Bread wrong. Wahh wahh.

 A photo from our corner table. Behind the globes is a table with all the milk and sugar you can imagine.  I love the option to do this yourself, to make your drink just the way you like it.

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Posted by on September 12, 2012 in Massachusetts


New Kid on the Block

Render Coffee is a newbie on the Southie coffee scene but boy has it hit the ground running.  Having just opened during Fall/Winter 2011, Render’s reputation as a hidden gem is getting out.  On a recent trip to Boston, some friends and I headed to 563 Columbus Avenue for some brunch and mocha research.

Taste: 7

“My friend writes a coffee blog”, chimed Teresa as I ordered my mocha for here.  “Make that one look good,” shouted the 30-something, flannel wearing, hipster store owner to his barista. Since every single table was occupied, we (Nick and I) took our coffees to the bar table by the window (the other friends don’t ‘do’ coffee. Eughh). This mocha was bitter, instantly woke me up, and the temperature was perfect.  You almost need to eat something with this mocha to balance out the bitterness, and lucky you, Render has lots of delicious choices to offer (pastries from 3 Little Figs!? Yum).


Appearance: 7

Render baristas take pride in appearances!  The rich espresso color, the detailed latte art, and the sprinkle of dark cocoa around the top make for a beautiful mocha.  I’ve seen this design all over the place, so points lost for originality.   Also, is it just me or does that black cup and saucer do nothing to bring out the prettiness of this mocha?

Store Ambiance: 7

This place is truly a hidden gem.  Good quality coffee from Counter Culture Coffee (same as Tryst in DC).  The staff here seemed knowledgeable of their products and damn proud of them! I like to see passion in people.  You order your drinks and food at the counter, the staff brings your order to your table, and will occasionally walk around to clear your plates and cups.  Nice, attentive, clean! Render has to be one of the most high tech coffee shops I’ve been to in a long time.  It seems like they run the entire shop with an ipad.  The decor is sleek, no fuss, and locally infused with pieces of bizarre art from the Boston community.  There are only about 10 tables and a few chairs by the front of the building.  During the warmer months Render opens up their back patio for additional seating.  One of my favorite things about Render is their focus on shopping locally/bringing the community together.  Render offers a discount card for shopping at a handful of local coffee shops/eateries, offers latte art throw downs, and home brewing courses.  This place is great if you are looking for a sleepy, neighborhood coffee shop with good quality ingredients and a commitment to being a leader in the local coffee community.  Just be prepared to spend upwards of $4.00 for a coffee (pour over method only!).



Posted by on March 13, 2012 in Massachusetts


Bloc 11

Before Del Mocha Vista was born, Bloc 11 Cafe in Somerville, MA was giving the Starbucks mocha a run for its money.  Not only do their mocha lattes look and taste better, but this store has so much fun history (it used to be a bank AND you can have a cup of coffee in the old bank vault).  On a recent trip to Boston, my grad school roommate Stephanie and I headed to our old stomping grounds for delicious ‘research’.

Coffee + yoga + free parking? My kinda store!

Taste: 7

Oh yum Bloc 11.  Just as good as I remembered.  Good quality, somewhat bitter cocoa, nice warm temperature.  This was smooth and subtle, which was nice, but I’m looking something to WOW me! I would recommend this to anyone searching for a slightly above average mocha.

Appearance: 6

So answer this:  why do your mochas look so much better on your website than they do in real life?  And we’re not talking about the picture quality here 😉  So what do you think, fabulous readers?  You’ve seen a wide variety of mochas right here, and this is just above average in my opinion.  Yes, there is a glimpse of a design, so points for trying, Bloc 11.  Yes, their website has a ‘do it yourself’ video for how to recreate this design.  But no, drinking out of a cubicle coffee mug does not put me in the coffee shop mood.  I would have loved to drink out of nice bug cup and saucer… with or without the silly logo.

Store Ambiance: 7

This place is pretty amazing for many reasons. For starters, this building used to be a bank and the owners (who own nearby quirky coffee shop Diesel Cafe) have preserved some unique parts of the bank, i.e.: the old vault!  I am much too claustrophobic to comfortably sit in the vault but it’s beautiful to look at.  The Bloc 11 customers were mostly families and friends enjoying a lazy, delicious, overpriced brunch.  And what a cool place for brunch it is! SO SPACIOUS.  Bloc 11 is like a maze – you can sit at a table by the front windows, in the vault, or in the way back by the fire and board games.  Local art on the walls, community board of local events, private coffee tastings for the coffee enthusiast.  The industrial, modern interior and the open kitchen made me feel like I was in someone’s home.  So the only downside is that this place is not the cleanest.  Do people just not like cleaning up after themselves?  Stephanie and I went through a few napkins to clean off the crumbs from our wobbly, uneven table.  I went to to see if others also found Bloc 11 to be a bit on the messy side.  Some yelpers had gripes about their lack luster sanitation, and one in particular quoted a few choice words from Bloc 11’s recent health inspection report (“droppings found that are consistent with rat activity… dish rinse below required temperature…”!!!)  Who knows how true this is, but perhaps I’ll stick to sitting at their outdoor tables and bringing my own mug from now on.

Hello little one!

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Posted by on February 21, 2012 in Massachusetts


Bourbon… It’s Not Just For Breakfast Anymore

What says Happy New Years quite like a beautiful mocha latte? Not much 🙂 With the spirit of the new year, I am making a Del Mocha Vista resolution: I will have a once monthly guest sample a mocha and document his/her review right here for your viewing pleasure!

But for now, allow me.  I tried my first 2012 mocha in Cambridge, MA at a new coffee shop in Porter Square called Bourbon.  This place just opened in December 2011 and of all places it is located in the same building as my old graduate school! If only they had opened this great little spot a few years ago… Here is my review:

Taste: 4

Oooh this was a bit too sweet for my taste. The added chocolate syrup on top of the mocha gave every sip an extra dose of sweetness.  I’m going to chalk it up to the fact that this place is brand new and they have a few kinks that need to be worked out… in particular, their choice of cocoa. I would have loved to taste more espresso and a bitterrer (it’s a word now) chocolate.

Appearance: 6

How cute is this little spider web? I so appreciate the barista’s efforts. He put a lot of time into creating this unique design.  This design is easy enough for anyone to do, thus the 6 rating (difficulty is low). Perhaps placing a steamed milk spider in the web might be worth aspiring to…

Store Ambiance: 6

This place is beautifully designed – modern, dark wood, metal appliances, rich colors, stone accents; I semi want this place to be my house.  There were only a few groups of people studying in this massive coffee shop.  I found it hard to get a ‘vibe’.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Pier 1, but when you furnish an entire store with their decorations it makes me think a little less of an organization.  This is Cambridge, people! Get artsy!

Me enjoying my mocha!

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Posted by on January 5, 2012 in Massachusetts


Backwards Forwards

Take a wild guess where I went this weekend! That’s right, I went to Boston for a weekend filled with good friends, good food, and a good mocha latte of course! I met up with an old work friend of mine – the lovely Holly! We went to our old stomping grounds also known as the Starbucks on Galen Street in Newton, MA. We relived great memories, filled each other in on life thus far, and made plans to do this again soon! I took the advice of another coffee enthusiast (thanks Kristin!) and tried the festive peppermint mocha (no whip, in a for here mug of course).

Taste: 4

I felt like I was drinking a peppermint patty candy… but not in a good way. While I do like the mint-chocolate combination, I prefer to consume the duo in their solid state and never again in drink form. I have to say that it was a little refreshing, the steamed milk was foamy and delicious, and I could taste that dark chocolate-y mocha taste that I love so much. Oh well, I tried something new, but I suppose I am a mocha latte purist (no caramel or mint added).

Appearance: 3

I do like how the steamed milk takes center stage in the peppermint mocha.  It makes me think of snow and how ready I am for winter to begin.  However, look at the sloppiness dripping down my mug! The barista who made my mocha appeared to be annoyed and in quite a rush, but still that is no excuse.

Store Ambiance: 5

This store was super busy and filled with very friendly people. There was ample seating and such a variety – a few couches, a few tables and chairs, one community table with chairs, and a bar where you could sit and watch the baristas in action!  This Starbucks was clean, had fun music playing, holiday goodies to browse, and a community bulletin board to see what’s happening in Newton. These I love. I would really love it if Starbucks could be a little more unique by perhaps decorating their stores with pieces by local artists. AND it would be great if someone could walk around with samples of drinks and desserts. AND MOST important it would be great if Starbucks would finally recycle in the store.



Posted by on December 6, 2011 in Massachusetts


We All Have Favorites

Over Halloween weekend in Boston I went straight to one of my favorite spots – Sofra Bakery and Cafe in Cambridge, MA. Sofra serves up modern Eastern Mediterranean goodies and is the sister restaurant to Oleana, by faaah (Bostonian for ‘far’) my favorite restaurant in Cambridge (2nd best falafel I’ve had in the U.S.). And now I am drooling just thinking about that… focus, Kate! Ok, so not only was I lucky enough to dine at Sofra, I was also dining with my beautiful childhood friend Billie! Two for one! Here is what I thought of their mocha latte:

Taste: 7

While not as weirdly flavored as I had remembered, this mocha still has a little something different to it. Some smoky flavor! Some spicy something! Maybe it is their espresso… not sure what it is but the subtle differences make a big difference in this mocha quest! One way I knew this place was for me was when I ordered my mocha in a ‘for here’ cup with no whip cream and the woman behind the counter stated that they do not serve their mochas with whip cream! Finally, someone that understands me (hate whip cream on mochas!)

Appearance: 6

This mocha was kind of cute. Not sure if this was done on purpose (but assuming it was because this place is amazing) but my little mocha appears like a delicious piece of modern art. Perhaps some more obvious art might be better next time for a higher appearance rating.

Store Ambiance: 9

I need to start taking pictures of the stores! Sofra makes me feel like I have stepped out of Cambridge and back into Istanbul (‘Ikke kahve lutfen!’); the Persian rugs, the silver trey table tops, and the CROWDS really transport a girl. This store is tiny and seating is tough so you basically have to order your food then stalk every little table to see who will leave first. Not only can you eat and drink here, but there is a tiny refrigerator that holds lots of delicious treats made by Sofra and others that you can take to go. On top of all of this, Sofra is connected to a small wine shop of some sort. You can grab a mocha and browse the wine selection! I love the music, the feel, the decorations. I only wish this place was a little bit bigger to accommodate everyone.


Behind photo number 2 is a glimpse of Sofra’s heavenly selection of baked goodies! When you go you simply must try their chocolate hazelnut baklava with cocoa honey. I know.. sounds too good to be true.

Have you ever been to Sofra before? What do you think of this hidden little gem?


Posted by on November 12, 2011 in Massachusetts


Salted Caramel

Last weekend I went to, yup you guessed it, Boston! In Boston I found myself needing a boost of energy after a day of shopping! I had been eyeing the new Starbucks Salted Caramel Mocha and went to try one. As the impending winter snow/rain/wind/everything storm was beginning, I sought refuge at the Natick, MA Starbucks across from the Natick Collection. Here is what I thought of the mocha:

Taste: 5

This tasted… just like a regular mocha. Maybe a teeny bit different… I could taste the slightest hint of salt and caramel but only because I knew those flavors were in there. If someone had told me this was a regular mocha latte, I would not have believe that there were any other ingredients in the drink. And come to think of it, I am not sure I would like to drink a salted caramel mocha that predominantly tastes like salt and caramel. Lets save this combination for salted caramel chocolates! This drink was a good dollar more expensive than a regular mocha so I think I’ll stick to my usual order from now on.

Appearance: 4

Look at the pretty swirls! This little bit of effort says to me that someone cares about her job as a barista… or perhaps she is just a bored art student (or both?!) Either way, a little swirl is better than no swirl in my book. I like pretty things 🙂

Store Ambiance: 4

This store was packed with people! I liked how this Starbucks had one very large table with what appeared to be 6 strangers sharing a space. Other than this fun little extra, this Starbucks looked exactly like all of the other Starbucks – dark brown furniture, boring art on the walls, average music selection. It would be great if there was a local guitarist or perhaps a Barista walking around offering samples of drinks and food to people.



Posted by on November 6, 2011 in Massachusetts


It’s Witchcraft

Last weekend in Boston a few girl friends and I went to Salem, MA for some Halloween fun, psychic readings, and mocha lattes (of course!) We quickly realized that we were the odd balls because we were among the few NOT walking around Salem dressed up as a witch, a sexy witch, or a zombie Steve Jobs.  After a few laughs and “what the heck’s?!” we stumbled upon the Front Street Coffehouse. This bizarre little place had a lot of creative food and drink options – hello organic wheat grass shots, half order vegetarian sandwiches with names like Veggin Out Pixie, and local MA farm milk! In addition, the interior was like a mix between a big, random, antique shop + Tim Burton movie scene . Very cool. Very Halloween. Here is what I thought of the Front Street Coffeehouse mocha latte:

Taste: 5

SMOKEY was the first flavor that hit my taste buds. Can espresso beans have a smokey taste? Besides the smokiness I also enjoyed the mocha flavor – kind of like the chocolate used by Starbucks. It was a bit bitter and no traces of sweetness. Overall taste was pretty good but I would have preferred to taste a bit more mocha and to have a bit more steamed milk.

Appearance: 3

Nothing too special about this one. It just looks warm and cozy. I have become slightly more picky about the appearance rating after oohing and ahhing over the pretty mocha at L’Aroma Cafe & Bakery in West Newton, MA. 

Store Ambiance: 6

By far the coolest mocha latte shop I have been to on my mocha quest. There was lots of Halloween inspired local art, comfy couches, rickety old tables, and Halloween decorations. This store also attracted a diverse crowd – hard to tell whether this is the normal crowd or if it looks a bit different now that we are so close to Halloween.  People in 70’s bell bottoms and vests, people in witch costumes every day attire, hipsters, and Salem tourists 🙂  You could sit inside or outside, but either way you are guaranteed some great people watching.

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Posted by on October 22, 2011 in Massachusetts