Coffee Grading #1 – Thinking Cup

2012 is becoming the year of the numerical food blog posts. I’ve already completed 4 of 52+ new-to-me recipes from my favorite food websites, cookbooks and recommendations from others. I have planned my first of 12 dinner parties (a January 29th taco night with friends). That covers a lot of the “appetite” aspect of this blog, but not the “appetite” + “instruction.”
Given how much coffee and food I consume during grading tests, quizzes and projects, I have decided to start another series: coffee-grading. As much as I love my condo, sometimes I prefer to do work at coffee shops. A latte, some Icelandic electropop, and a wooden table can motivate me to finish my work faster in a comfier environment than my classroom. I am also not tempted to nap on any coffee shop couches (as I would be on my own). The next time you’re at your favorite coffee shop, look around for math tests, red pens, and rubrics among the sea of MacBooks…teachers are everywhere!
For this series, I’ll write short reviews of my favorite spots around the Somerville, Boston and Cambridge areas with respect to location, food/drink, table space, ease of finding a seat, and atmosphere.

Location: Near the Boston Common, Thinking Cup is popular with tourists and college students from nearby Emerson and Suffolk. It’s easy to get to from the Park St or Downtown Crossing T stations. Street parking is difficult.

Food and/or Drink: Excellent. For food, I recommend the peppercorn turkey sandwich, roast beef sandwich, goat cheese, apricot and arugula sandwich, and mini cheesecake. For drink, I recommend the Americano, honey cinnamon latte (pictured below), and watermelon lime cooler (seasonal).
Table Space: All the tables are tiny. They’re made for up to two people at most, though I’ve seen groups of four crowd around them. You could do lesson planning on the computer or grade papers, but not both at the same time. Two teachers and their laptops could not coexist on the same table unless both had teeny tiny netbooks or were okay with perching the laptops halfway off the table.
Ease of Finding a Seat: Bring out your vulture skills, it’s like Wrentham Village parking lot on Black Friday in here. The central location and proximity to landmarks causes a huge influx of tourists on weekends, especially on nice days. You’ll likely have to put away your Bostonian anti-social face and make friends with a stranger just to get a seat. Luckily, most people are not aiming to set up shop with a computer and work for multiple hours.
Atmosphere: The music varies from downtempo to techno, and the lights sometimes get dim. The playlist is punctuated by many different languages and conversation topics. Try to avoid sitting by the door in the winter, as the constant influx of cold air can interrupt your work groove.

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