La Colombe, Seaport

An espresso, made with the single-origin option, the Women of Ketiara from Sumatra, served in my Kaffeeform cup at La Colombe, Seaport.Regular readers will know that one of my go-to American coffee places is La Colombe, the roastery/coffee shop chain from Philadelphia. Along with its Philadelphia coffee shops, I’ve visited La Colombe in New York CityWashington DC, Chicago and, most recently, Boston, when I caught La Colombe, South Station between arriving by train from New Haven and catching the bus to Portland. However, that still left the subject of today’s Coffee Spot, the Seaport location, which I was able to catch just before my flight back to the UK on my most recent trip.

As the name suggests, La Colombe, Seaport is in Boston’s Seaport District, just across Fort Point Channel from Downtown Boston.  Although the address is Northern Avenue, it’s actually around the corner on the pedestrian strip connecting it with Seaport Boulevard. A fairly small shop, with just seven tables inside, this doesn’t stop it from providing the full La Colombe offering of two options on espresso, another two on batch-brew and two more on pour-over. There’s also a range of in-house teas and draft lattes and, if you’re hungry, cakes and pastries. For now, La Colombe only uses takeaway cups, so don’t forget to bring your own.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • La Colombe, Seaport, the latest La Colombe addition to Boston (circa 2018).
  • The front of La Colombe, which is floor-to-ceiling glass...
  • ... with the door on the left.
  • This is a typical New England airlock-style set up, with the outer door...
  • ... opening into a vestibule. Look to the right and you can see the counter.
  • To get in, however, you need to go straight ahead to the door at the back.
  • Facing you, beyond the second door, is the counter, at the back of the store.
  • However, the counter soon pivots by 45°, extending into the room, with seating behind it.
  • That said, there is also some seating at the front, in the shape of this two-person table.
  • This gives you an idea of how tall the windows are.
  • There's a second table at the front, then comes the bulk of the seating, running down...
  • ... the right-hand wall and behind the counter (the back wall of which is to the left).
  • You'll also find the restrooms at the back, along with La Colombe's famous water taps.
  • A view along the tables from the back, looking towards the front of La Colombe.
  • In all, there are five tables, four of which are two-person ones like this.
  • This gives a better feel for the dimensions of the table (and the stool!).
  • The tables run all the way to the front of La Colombe, where ending in a little L-shape by...
  • ... a pillar. The table is twice the size of the others and can seat four.
  • The view across La Colombe from the seating behind the counter, looking back to the door.
  • You'll find the retail shelves over t here, with boxes of coffee to the left of the door...
  • ... and cups and filters on the other side.
  • Another of La Colombe's signatures is great art. In Seaport, this geometric piece...
  • ... graces the right-hand wall, along with this one...
  • ... and another lever espresso machine.
  • To business. You order at the left-hand side of the counter, just where it pivots by 45°...
  • ... although to the left of that are the pastries (all gone by the time I arrived) and...
  • ... behind that, the current choices for drip filter (one blend, one single-origin).
  • These are also displayed next to the till, along with the espresso and pour-over options.
  • Talking of which, here's the till, complete with the full menus...
  • ... which you'll also find around the shop.
  • I decided to go for something from the La Marzocco espresso machine...
  • ... where, if you count decaf, you have three choices.
  • Meanwhile, if you really can't wait, there's always coffee on draught (draft).
  • I, however, waited for my Women of Ketiara Sumatra espresso in my Kaffeeform cup.
Webpage Slideshow by v4.6

This is the second La Colombe in Boston, which opened in 2018, and is just a 15-minute walk across Fort Point Channel from the first at South Station. Although easily accessible from downtown Boston, other than for a couple of strolls around Fan Pier Park to take in the views (highly recommended, by the way), it’s not a part of the city that I know that well, having been heavily redeveloped over the last 20 years.

La Colombe is on a broad, pedestrianised street, on the left as you head towards the waterfront. Although the coffee shop doesn’t have any outdoor seating of its own, there are several long, concrete benches on the street that you are welcome to use. The front of La Colombe is all glass, a series of tall, floor-to-ceiling windows which wrap around the whole building, including the clothing stores which flank La Colombe.

The door is on the left, with the typical New England airlock-style system to keep out the winter cold. The first door opens into a large, glass-walled vestibule, while the second door, at the back, leads into the coffee shop proper. La Colombe occupies a broad, wedge-shaped building which is slightly narrower at the back. The counter is in front of you as you enter, with a short section at the back, running parallel to the wall, where you’ll find the limited selection of cakes, pastries and other snacks (unless, like me, you turn up an hour before closing at the weekend, when they’ll be long gone).

However, unlike a conventional counter, which would typically run along the back wall, this one sets off at 45°, extending into the front of the store, stopping short of the windows (reminding me of La Colombe’s Gold Coast location in Chicago). This splits La Colombe neatly into two, with a large ordering/takeaway section on the left and a separate seating area to the right, which is partly behind the counter. That said, there are two tables in the windows at the front, a low, two-person one to the right of the door, with a tall, four-person one next to that, opposite the end of the counter. The main seating, however, is formed by a bench along the right-hand wall, where you’ll find a row of five tables, each with a stool. Four of these are two-person tables, but the one at the front seats four and is tucked away behind a large, square pillar. Finally, there’s a standing bar against the back wall of the counter, but this doesn’t seem to be in use right now.

In keeping with La Colombe’s philosophy, there’s no Wifi, but the area has plenty of free Wifi, so you shouldn’t have problems getting connected. It’s also worth noting that, unlike South Station, which has gone back to proper cups, Seaport is still only serving in disposables due to COVID-19.

Seaport has the familiar La Colombe offering, the Nizza blend joined by a single-origin on espresso, while the Corsica blend and another single-origin (the Inga Red Honey from Colombia) are on batch brew. Finally, there are two more single-origins on pour-over (Sun Peak, Guatemala and Sierra Sur, Mexico). There are also decaf options, with a variety of draught (draft) lattes and cold brew on top.

I had the single-origin espresso, the Women of Ketiara, a washed coffee from the Ketiara Cooperative in Indonesia, served in my Kaffeeform cup.  A well-rounded, lighter roast, it had plenty of body, with a pleasing touch of acidity on the first sip, which set me up nicely for my journey to the airport.

29 NORTHERN AVENUE • BOSTON • MA 02210 • USA +1 (617) 531 1940
Monday 07:00 – 19:00 Roaster La Colombe (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 07:00 – 19:00 Seating Tables
Wednesday 07:00 – 19:00 Food Cake
Thursday 07:00 – 19:00 Service Counter
Friday 07:00 – 19:00 Payment Cards + Cash
Saturday 08:00 – 19:00 Wifi No
Sunday 08:00 – 19:00 Power Limited
Chain Regional Visits 12th February 2022

If you enjoyed this Coffee Spot, then take a look at the rest of Boston’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to Boston & Cambridge.

You can also see what I made of all the other La Colombe locations that I’ve visited.

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3 thoughts on “La Colombe, Seaport

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