HOT COFFEE: Thinking Cup

Starbucks has come to our aid during many a caffeine emergency, but you can't deny that time spent there tends to meld together into a blur of fake wooden tables and bad pastries. Thinking Cup (165 Tremont Street, Boston, 617.482.5555) is eager to ease your coffee-shop d�j� vu. The recent edition to the city's caf� scene has been a bright spot in a downtown stretch dominated by chains. It's the only establishment in Boston that exclusively carries Stumptown Roasters Coffee, a beloved Oregon-based brand that has been called the "best coffee in the world" by NPR. And Thinking Cup has an array of other smart features: a commitment to conversation (no Wi-Fi and limited outlets discourage laptop use), knowledgeable baristas, fantastic baked goods (they've got a legit baker on the premises), and a cozy atmosphere, complete with exposed bricks and an accessible indie playlist. In short, it's the least-pretentious pretentious coffee house in Boston.