Boston Dining: Cafe Fixe
First-Rate Coffee in
By word of mouth only, Cafe Fixe has established itself as THE place to go for superior coffee. In particular, it is recognized for its outstanding espresso.
But be warned... Once you have sampled what Cafe Fixe has to offer, the beverage from your local chain coffeehouse may never taste the same again.
Cafe Fixe also offers fine teas, hot cocoa, and a variety of luscious, fresh baked goods. Coffee beans are available for purchase. All beverages are made on premises, using the highest quality ingredients.
Owner and proprietor, Maks Milstein, explained with justifiable pride how it is done.
According to Maks, to consistently produce good coffee, you have to start with good coffee, i.e., good coffee beans. Equipment is very important, but it is less important than the coffee and the expertise of the person who makes it. Though Cafe Fixe has some of the best equipment available, there is no machine yet that is able to produce espresso as good as that made by a knowledgeable barista. Ultimately, it comes down to the barista - that person's knowledge of both the coffee and the equipment and his or her skill.
Maks explained that espresso is the result of a specific kind of preparation. It involves extracting a small amount of coffee from ground beans under conditions of controlled temperature and high pressure (approximately 120 PSI). This process causes the essential coffee oils to emulsify, a unique characteristic of espresso.
In addition to being served in its original form, espresso is the basis for the Americano, cappuccino, and cafe latte. With chocolate added to the latte, it becomes mocha.
Cafe Fixe tries to stick to the basics, offering a very straightforward espresso menu without "distractions" such as flavored syrups or frozen blended drinks.
The cafe also serves brewed coffee in both drip and pour-over coffee form. The ready-to-serve drip coffees, which are prepared in a brewer, are always single origin coffees - not blends, and they always rotate, depending on what's in season or is available from the roasters.
Several different varietals of coffee ready to be brewed by the cup are also available. These are known as pour-over coffees - made by hand as opposed to machine brewing (think Melitta). The manual brewing method provides a great way to be able to offer several varietals of coffee from all over the world.
Customers may order coffee in a French press, and can usually choose from the same selection of coffees as for pour-over.
Cafe Fixe also specializes in tea, carrying a selection of teas from the Rishi Tea Company. These include both very approachable and very, very fancy teas, such as an extremely high grade Japanese sencha tea. A few teas from MEM Tea, a local company, are also on offer. One is made from ironwort, a common herb used for tea in Greece, where it is called mountain tea. Another is an extremely rare and expensive yellow tea from China.
The cafe makes its own chai by brewing Indian black tea and adding a Masala spice blend and sugar. The tea is then steamed with milk. Customers from India give it high approval ratings.
The Baked Goods
Pastries are fresh daily from the Danish Pastry House in Watertown. Brioche and bread are made by Iggy's in Cambridge. For those, such as this writer, trying to watch calories (which can be a challenge while looking into the pastry case), the airy brioche served with sides of lingonberry jam and butter or the very light almond macaroons are delicious and satisfying. There is a variety of other choices, including scones, croissants, muffins, and regular and fancy cookies. For the best selection, get there before noon.
There's only one Cafe Fixe, and Brookline is lucky to have it!
Cafe Fixe Logistics
1642 Beacon Street
Brookline, MA 02445
Open 7 days per week, 365 days a year (hours may vary on holidays)
Weekdays - 6:30 AM to 7:00 PM
Weekends - 7:30 AM to 3:00 PMGreen line
C train to Washington Square, Brookline
Lot parking is available behind the shops, entrance on Washington St.
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