Slow down and smell the coffee at Render in the South End
Render tips the scales in a smart drinker’s favor
Render Coffee, a new independent coffee shop, opened last month and there’s a nod to just about every current trend on the Boston coffee scene here.
Owner Chris Dadey spent the last six years as general manager of Espresso Royale and Pavement Coffeehouse. He says the focus of Render Coffee is on quality and experience, even if it slows the line.
For each $4 drip coffee, the barista carefully weighs Counter Culture grounds (“21.9 grams’’) and puts them into an unbleached paper filter that sits snug in a heated Kalita ceramic cone. Then he drizzles in 200-degree water from an odd-shaped aluminum decanter, consulting flow-rate cheat sheets as he switches the pouring rate from “bloom’’ (slower) to “flow’’ (faster). The coffee drips into laboratory glassware, from which it’s poured into your cup.
The whole process takes place on a digital scale that serves as weight-check and dramatic stage.
Aficionados are dazzled. Others, sometimes, are not. “We had a guy storm out the other day yelling, ‘God! I just want a large dark roast!’ ’’ says Dadey. “We tell people each cup takes four minutes. But I guess he couldn’t wait.’’
If you can, the coffee is exceptionally good. Slow food rules the menu. That might mean quiches and butternut squash soup. Most baked goods are from the tiny 3 Little Figs bakery in Somerville. Buzzwords abound for the food and coffee alike: organic, local, seasonal, sustainable.
Decor is simple with the expected artwork of the day on the walls, and an unexpected sunny glass-enclosed patio in the back. The cafe seats 35, with an outdoor deck for 12. Customers appear to be susceptible to the attitude around the soigne brew and menu. Many are here in pairs with laptops closed - despite free Wi-Fi. For the moment, they’re taking it slow.