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Short Orders

A cup of coffee as an art form

Barista Phil Roberts makes a hazelnut latte at Thinking Cup. Barista Phil Roberts makes a hazelnut latte at Thinking Cup. (Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff)
By Natalie Southwick
Globe Correspondent / January 26, 2011

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Boston’s newest coffee shop is not your average corner bakery. From the old Boston Post and Herald newspapers under glass that serve as tabletops, to the movie screen playing a Charlie Chaplin silent film, Thinking Cup strives to be different. “Our idea was that people come in and get everything from bottled sodas to old photos of Boston,’’ says co-owner Hugh Geiger. “Anything that provokes thought.’’

Thinking Cup, which opened across from the Boston Common on Dec. 14, is the only shop in Boston to exclusively use the popular Oregon-based Stumptown Coffee, which it receives from the company’s Brooklyn roastery the day after roasting. The cafe also boasts on-site pastry chef Meghann Osmon, formerly of Bin 26. Osmon supervises the shop’s menu, from flaky croissants ($2.50-$2.75) to quinoa salad ($5.99), but her contribution is most obvious in the pastry cases by the entrance, filled with mini chocolate and red velvet cupcakes ($1.95), decadent chocolate mousse cakes ($6.25) and fluffy cheesecakes ($5.95).

The lunch menu features six sandwiches, including roast beef on ciabatta with caramelized onions, mixed greens, provolone, and tiny pickles ($8.95); and grilled cheese ($4.95), which pairs perfectly with tomato-cheddar soup ($4.95).

Starring here is the coffee ($1.50-$2.50). Drinks take a few moments to arrive, but the presentation is worth the wait. Lattes and cappuccinos ($3.50) appear with perfectly formed foam hearts on top. Barista Phil Roberts is constantly experimenting with new specials, like a latte made with roasted hazelnuts, rather than flavored syrup. “We want the ultimate fresh cup of coffee,’’ says Geiger. “We treat it like wine — it’s artisanal, not just a commodity.’’ Thinking Cup, 165 Tremont St., Boston, 617-482-5555, thinkingcup.com

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