Philadelphia: the city of cheesesteaks, the Liberty Bell, and brotherly love. It’s also a fantastic place to drink some locally-roasted coffee. We recently café crawled our way around America’s first capital and were pleased with the quality and diversity of the local coffee roasting scene. So if you find yourself in Philly, don’t sleep on trying these five local roasters.
Elixr’s bustling downtown café is contrasted by the intimacy of their second location, dubbed Double Knot. At both locations you’ll find coffee roasted by founder Evan Inatome on Elixr’s Diedrich IR-12. Inatome’s roasting ability earned him 4th place at the 2015 US Roasters Choice Championship, so it’s little wonder we enjoyed our shot of the Beekeeper espresso and a single origin shot of their Konga, Ethiopia. We also scored a bag of their Santa Isabel, Guatemala to brew at home.
La Colombe cofounder Todd Carmichael once scoffed at the third wave coffee movement. But a few years ago Carmichael and his Philadelphia-based chain made an abrupt about-face, launching a new line of single origin, light roasted coffee under the brand Workshop (not to be confused with the UK’s Workshop Coffee). Perhaps there’s no better example of the company’s new direction than their flagship store in Philadelphia’s Fishtown neighborhood. The massive space features a wood-fired oven for house baked bread, La Colombe’s signature draft latte, and a copper still for distilling coffee-infused rum! Do yourself a favor and try the Irish coffee, made with their signature Different Drum Rum.
Located in a former factory in Fishtown, Reanimator Coffee’s second location also serves as their roastery and headquarters. We enjoyed a shot of their Foundation Espresso while watching the production crew crank out the last roasts of the day on their Probatone 12 kilo roaster. If not for the delicious coffee, a trip to Reanimator’s roastery is worth it to check out the street art on the surrounding buildings.
The Colombian pour-over we enjoyed at Ultimo Coffee was roasted by long time partner Counter Culture Coffee, but the bar-setting Philly café is currently taking their first steps toward roasting coffee. If they approach roasting with the same attention to detail we experienced in their coffee shop, we only expect great things.
Square One Coffee
Confession: we didn’t actually go to Square One’s Philadelphia café. But we went to their original location in Lancaster, PA and had one of the best cappuccinos we’ve had in we don’t know how long. While technically not a Philadelphia coffee roaster, they are a Pennsylvania roaster with a Philly café and are as deserving of a place on this list as anyone.