A short while ago, my dear friend L.M. set off on an 18-hour drive down to swampland. U-Haul fully loaded and papa McD in tow, Ms. Lariss began the long labyrinth at the stroke of midnight. I imagine by now she has made her way to Orlando, her home for the next three years where she’ll practice her podiatry residency. If I’d embarked on the extended road trek with her, I would have rerouted us to Boston for some serious stimulant—and I know exactly the place to get the fix: L’Aroma. This spot will awaken you more than a double shot of espresso.
I discovered L’Aroma thanks to the energetic and stylish Ms. B.V., founder of Eat.Love.Food. B.V. knows all about Boston’s hidden gems. Naturally, when she shared her 10 picks for best coffee spots in Beantown, I took note. Number one on the list: L’Aroma, located in the Back Bay at 85 Newbury Street. This popular spot is 0.3 miles from Ombe Center, the Saturday sanctuary where I started my morning a couple weeks ago. I was the solo student in Rachael’s Yoga for Runners class, which I highly recommend whether or not you’re a diehard yogi. Absolutely beautiful studio and equally beautiful practice.
Anyway, post-Ombe, I met up with Ms. B.V. at her recommended locale. Upon entering the café, I immediately noticed a wildly strong fixation with tea. It was everywhere. Bags and bags of loose leave teas for purchase decorated the walls like fine art. I asked the owner about the obsession and he admitted that he prefers tea to coffee.
After hearing that, one might presume the coffee served wouldn’t be as important or tasteful. Wrong assumption. L’Aroma’s owner could have kept the former Starbuck’s franchise and served what I think is too strong, burnt-tasting coffee. Instead, he transformed the place into a cozy nugget that serves coffee from Caffè Umbria, a wholesale roaster based in Seattle.
Coffee is in Umbria’s blood with a lineage dating back to the 1940’s, when the founding Ornello Bizzarri built his roastery in Perugia, Italy. Caffè Umbria serves it’s coffee around the country including at the Bellagio Hotel and Culinary Institute of America in Napa.
Aside from the coffee, L’Aroma offers an array of savory croissants, assorted quiches and stomach-satisfying salads and sandwiches. And, of course, an overwhelmingly long tea selection.
Ms. B.V. and I each ordered a coffee and took a seat among the caffeine-wired, Chatty-Cathy crowd, which seemed to be crawling with little kids. Yes, the place is pretty child-friendly, a perfect spot for moms to recharge with caffeine to have the energy to take care of said crazies. And aside from that, Umbria coffee is decent and pairs well with an oversized amaretti cookie, best when shared with a lovely friend.