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Best Coffee In Philly?


angevin
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Spruce Street Espresso.

It seems a shame not to be promoting our local roasters, La Colombe, but damn – these guys on the northwest corner of 11th and Spruce make a fine cuppa.

Quarters are a bit cramped; it’s not the place to bring a large group of out-of-towners. And $4 for a latte is a bit steep. But the baristas are top-notch, service is friendly and of course the central location convenient. The beans are sourced globally, but most seem to come from various places in South America.

I’m not terribly knowledgeable or geeky, but I do drink a lot of coffee and have been on a continuous search for a great latte. I found it. Perfection.

latte.jpg

I’d be curious to hear where the coffee connoisseurs on here like to go.

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It's not very convenient for me, location-wise, but I quite like the coffee at Ultimo, at 1900 S. 15th St (at Mifflin.) They're pretty nerdy about the beans, mostly from Counter Culture Coffee, and precise water temps for the Chemex, or the old-school pour-over drip systems. It's not quick, but worth the wait.

But I'll also agree with Bill that Old City Coffee is pretty good, either in the RTM, or on Old City (221 Church St, just north of Market.)

And I think we in Philly take La Colombe for granted, but they still do a great job, I think we're lucky to have them in town.

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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I've never been to Ultimo but it sounds like their operation is similar to Spruce St, who also uses Counter Culture beans.

I'm also a La Colombe Corsica consumer at home - they're a good value for $11.99 / lb at Whole Foods. Cheaper than Lavazza!

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La Colombe fan here. I use their Corsica blend for home brewing and am totally impressed by the skill of those working the ever present line.

I don't live in Philly anymore but for the 7 years I did I thought La Colombe exceptional in every way. Corsica for me, too. Outstanding people who have your order ready by the time you get up to the counter. Wonderful atmosphere (19th and Walnut). Still my favorite coffee house of all time, anywhere.

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  • 1 month later...

It appears Laban set out to rip LaColombe. I've tried a number of the places he favors. None come off anywhere near as professional as LaColombe.

How do you figure, Holly? I'm a longtime La Colombe fan (the comment about motor oil pretty much summarizes my feelings about this Third Wave nonsense), but I spotted no dis from the LaBan. In fact, even the subjects seemed mostly respectful, if defiant.

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From LaBan's rating of La Colombe.

The mother ship of Philly’s coffee culture, this bustling urban space remains the see-and-be-seen epicenter of the tony Rittenhouse scene. It’s still by far the busiest cafe in the city, but longtime habitués think the sponge-painted room could use a makeover, and coffee quality has become inconsistent since the arrival of new machines.

I wonder how many "long-time habitués" LaBan talked with. At least two, I guess, since the reference is plural. I doubt that is the majority opinion or even that of a significant minority. Certainly not mine, and I'm a regular - most every morning. The decor is fine - perfect for what La Colombe is. I have experienced no inconsistency in their coffee and espresso. Always well crafted.

I also have issues with the phrase "seen and be seen" - often code for superficial. It is an inaccurate generalization. La Colombe's customer base runs the gamut from bicycle messengers, to students, to apartment dwellers, to local shop keepers, to a rumpled, grumpy eGullet contributor. The "tony" crowd LaBan refers to are, if any, a very small minority.

LaBan's comment on La Colombe struck me as reminiscent of the generic Yelp or Zagat observation - more hearsay/perception than experience/fact.

The tone of the article, itself, paints La Colombe as past its glory, as one may compare Heineken to today's craft beers. Totally inaccurate.

Edited by Holly Moore (log)

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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I did get the feeling that LaBan was getting some digs in on La Colombe in a backhanded way. Who cares though, competition is good. Every good producer needs to stay true to its roots while still adapting to changing tastes and challenges from young upstarts.

That said I still think La Colombe is one of the best things about Philly, and I don't see any of these other upstarts roasting their own coffee or developing interesting blends. I could give a rat's ass about a perfect fleur-de-lis design on top of my latte, so much style over substance. Dn't get me wrong, these "Third Wave" coffee houses hand Starbucks its head in a bucket and I would cross the street to get a drink there but let's not get all crazy just yet. La Colombe is the good stuff and should be celebrated as one of the city's finest locally created products, I still consider them as my favorite.


I have simple tastes. I am always satisfied with the best - Oscar Wilde

The Easy Bohemian

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