Top Coffee Spots in Philadelphia
Grab a cup at the city’s best coffeehouses
A new wave of coffee has officially hit Philadelphia and The Countryside® like a red-eye with an extra shot. Included in the craze are cafes roasting their own signature beans, baristas who specialize in perfectly engineered espressos and coffeehouses that use one-of-a-kind La Marzocco machines. From an Australian flat white to a Chemex-brewed cuppa, the possibilities for delicious caffeination are endless.
Here are just a few local favorites:
What happens when a chef and a coffee roaster (lifelong friends) join forces for the good of coffee drinkers? Rival Bros. is what—a joe truck serving its own roasted brews, featuring both single origin and blends. Monday through Friday, 33rd & Arch Streets.
What began as a moving enterprise now also boasts a bricks-and-mortar establishment. HubBub Coffee pours steamy cups of Stumptown at both its flagship cafe in Center City and its University of Pennsylvania campus truck. Cafe, 1717 Arch Street; truck: Monday through Friday, 38th & Spruce Streets, (215) 665-1982.
Offering its own Fair Trade Certified, Certified Organic beans roasted in-house, Newtown Square’s Burlap and Bean distinguishes itself as an ambitious independent spot with a cozy, welcoming atmosphere. 204 S. Newtown Street Road, Newtown Square, (484) 427-4547.
Patrons can catch a whiff of caramelizing beans at the upstairs roastery at Chestnut Hill Coffee Company. Downstairs, the coffee bar turns out well-pulled shots and elaborate swirls of latte art. The alt-rock soundtrack and homemade soups are a bonus. 8620 Germantown Avenue, (215) 242-8600.
Celebrity chef Jose Garces is as serious about coffee as he is about his food, so it’s no surprise that the signature roasted beans at Garces Trading Company lend themselves to a memorable French press. 1111 Locust Street, (215) 574-1099.
Inarguably the originator of Philly’s first wave of coffee, La Colombe remains the go-to spot for rich Italian-style espressos and excellent machiattos. 130 S. 19th Street, (215) 563-0860; 1414 S. Penn Square, (215) 977-7770.
With two high-traffic locations—one in Old City, the other in the Reading Terminal Market—Old City Coffee has produced fresh, tiny batches of high-grade Arabica coffee for more than 25 years now. 221 Church Street, (215) 629-9292; Reading Terminal Market, 12th & Arch Streets, (215) 592-1897.
Amid the well-documented Shepard Fairey mural, thrift-store furnishings and vegan snacks at Fishtown’s Rocket Cat Café is a worthy fair-trade espresso roasted by Norristown’s Fonseca. 2001 Frankford Avenue, (215) 739-4526.
Live & Wired
Serving up house-roasted, organic coffee along with a weekly schedule of independent music acts and open mic-nights, Wayne’s Gryphon Café keeps its visitors awake and entertained. 105 W. Lancaster Avenue, (610) 688-1988.
Milkboy Philly, which first built its following with Milkboy Coffee outposts in Ardmore and Bryn Mawr, has opened in a Center City location, making its coffee, table-service veggie-friendly meals and live music available to the downtown crowd. The new rock venue has a liquor license to balance out any espresso-induced jitters. 1100 Chestnut Street, (215) 925-6455, milkboyphilly.com; 2 E. Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, (610) 645-5269; 824 W. Lancaster Avenue, Bryn Mawr, (610) 527-0690, milkboycoffee.com.
Kensington’s Leotah’s Place is a true coffeehouse in the 1960s mold, proffering live music, film, political events and kids’ activities, along with fair trade organic coffees from around the world. 2033 E. York Street, (267) 519-9031.
Coffee, With Food To Match
The organic, fair-trade espressos and lattes at Chhaya are served alongside fresh meals of seasonal salads (peach and fig with honeyed walnuts), sandwiches (prosciutto, apple and mozzarella panini) and a full menu of creative waffles like Nutella/strawberry and veggie chili/cornbread. 1823 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 465-1000.
While its espressos have been given top ratings, the two locations of High Point Café in Mt. Airy also have a mean menu of quiches, baked goods and crepes to match. 602 Carpenter Lane, (215) 849-5153; 7210 Cresheim Road, (215) 248-1900.
GimmeCoffee and Counter Culture supply the beans for Town Hall Coffee Co., and pear and chocolate scones, croissant bread pudding and New York-style bagels are the ideal accompaniment. 358 Montgomery Avenue, Merion Station, (484) 270-8041.
The Shot’s The Thing
University City coffee lounge Lovers and Madmen offers short-pulled espressos from its La Marzocco FB80 in a friendly, collegiate atmosphere. 28 S. 40th Street, (215) 243-9851.
Between its Stumptown and PT’s Coffee Roasting Co. beans and its one-of-a-kind La Marzocco machine, Queen Village’s Shot Tower Coffee turns out impeccable espressos. 542 Christian Street, (267) 886-8049.
Its espresso was rated number one in the city by Craig LaBan, and rightfully so: Ultimo serves Counter Culture coffees, ground and brewed to perfection—for serious coffee lovers only. 1900 S. 15th Street, (215) 339-5177.
At BODHi Coffee in Society Hill, the café proudly wears salvaged materials, the Stumptown coffees are available in pour-over and drip styles, and the food is fresh, organic and local. 410 S. 2nd Street, (267) 239-2928.
Fair trade and certified organic coffee are the foundation at both locations of Good Karma Café, but owner David Arrell’s best-practices philosophy is underscored by green construction and corn-based plastics. 331 S. 22nd Street, (215) 546-1479; 928 Pine Street, (267) 519-8860.
The vegan lifestyle is celebrated at Grindcore House, a Pennsport hangout where coffee drinkers can choose from a variety of non-dairy creamers (soy, rice, almond, coconut) and a meatless, eggless, milkless menu of pastries and sandwiches. 1515 S. 4th Street, (215) 839-3333.
In its Fairmount and Brewerytown locations, Mugshots has made a commitment to sustainability via recyclable packaging; vegan, vegetarian and organic snacks; fair-trade coffee; and the opportunity to shop for local food. 2100 Fairmount Avenue, (267) 514-7145; 2831 Girard Avenue, (215) 717-3327.
Built from reclaimed wood and tile, Northern Liberties’ expansive One Shot Coffee showcases its socially conscious heart with Stumptown’s direct trade coffee and seasonal organic fare—of which some ingredients are grown in customers’ gardens. 217 W. George Street, (215) 627-1620.
For anyone curious about Australian coffees, Ants Pants Café in Graduate Hospital is a great place to be indoctrinated into flat whites and long blacks—not to mention iced coffees made from espresso ice cream and whipped cream. 2212 South Street, (215) 875-8002.
Dark and sweet, pot-brewed Turkish coffee is on offer at the charming Café Fulya, and the Turkish pastries and specialties like manti complete the Ottoman experience. 727 S. 2nd Street, (267) 909-9937.
Long before the current pour-over and Chemex fever began, Chinatown staple Ray’s was serving international by-the-cup Hario siphoned coffees, as well as a full range of teas from around the world. 141 North 9th Street, (215) 922-5122.