If you’re a Tufts student, chances are you’ve been to Tamper. It’s a short minute walk from campus, depending on where you are, and you can get there from lower campus without climbing any hills (a big plus). I feel a personal connection to this spot because it was the first coffee shop I stopped by when I first toured Tufts. And it feels very “Tufts” with a lot of students working there and comprising much of its customer base.
Pretty much every Tufts student I’ve talked with has agreed that Tamper’s environment and food is amazing, but the drinks are lacking. I’m really not a fan of Tamper’s coffee because it’s very bitter and chalky, so it honestly gets a 3 or 4/10 from me. They also don’t have any flavoring (like vanilla), which could possibly offset the bitter taste. One student even commented that there’s “no redeeming qualities” to the drinks.
However, when I asked a Tamper customer (a local resident, not a Tufts student), she rated the coffee (her order: an iced latte with honey) a 9/10! So there’s definitely room for debate; maybe I just need to get honey in my latte next time. Also, she and I both agreed that we prefer light roasts, and Tamper leans on the dark roast side, so maybe that factors into my dislike.
This customer also pointed out the natural lighting, which I have to agree is a huge plus. The windows are big, lining the wall on one side, so you get great natural lighting coming in, especially on sunny days. There are four black booths with two tables each, though the tables don’t move so it can get a little squished (I’ve had two people on a first date basically sitting with me before, which was funny and entertaining.). The booths are prime real estate, so they’re usually full; I know it’s going to be a good day when I get a booth at Tamper.
Four stools fit at the front counter facing the kitchen and six stools sit at the back counter in front of the big window, which are great for people watching. There are also a couple of tables outside for sunnier days. The rest of the building is filled with two long tables that seat probably around 12 people per table, so there’s quite a bit of seating. The fact that there’s rarely open seating is an indication that Tamper is popular! I attribute this to the vibes and the food.
Foodwise, I give the breakfast quesadilla an enthusiastic 9/10 — it is a delicious blend of cooked onions and eggs, and the tortilla is perfectly crispy. There’s a little carrot slaw on the side which adds the perfect balance of acidic taste to the quesadilla. I’m hungry just writing about it! Let’s talk about Tamper’s scones: I’m not usually a scone person, but Tamper’s cranberry scones are amazing, a definite 9/10 from me. The BLT is also exceptional, though I wish there was a drink I enjoyed here to pair it with.
Overall, Tamper receives a 6.5/10 from me. I want to rate Tamper higher, but the coffee really docks some points for me. The food is a redeeming quality, though, and when I can find seating, it’s a great environment for studying or a brunch date!