Philadelphia may be one of America’s most historic cities but don’t rule out Philly’s third wave coffee scene. Discover the best Philadelphia coffee shops serving cappuccinos, espressos and pour overs.
Philadelphia holds a special place in our hearts when it comes to coffee. It’s the city where we progressed from coffee’s second wave to its third and current wave. It’s also where we became addicted to flat whites, cappuccinos and the occasional pour over back in 2010.
Today, more than a decade later, the city is literally percolating with specialty shops and roasteries. Sure, many Philly locals remain loyal to the coffee brewed at Wawa and Dunkin Donuts. This guide isn’t for those people. It’s for people like us who truly appreciate the experience of drinking great tasting coffee in communal settings.
Our Favorite Philadelphia Coffee Shops
Most travelers arrive in Philadelphia with an eating plan but few arrive with a coffee plan. We recently realized this when a European friend traveled to Philly and was at a loss as to where she could drink really good coffee and work on her laptop at the same time. After setting her on the right path, it only made sense that we would share our knowledge about the best coffee shops in Philadelphia more widely.
As specialty coffee fanatics who cumulatively lived in center city for more than three decades and currently live in Portugal, we’re now sharing our favorite spots to drink third wave coffee in Philadelphia. Some of these shops have been around for years and others are new kids on the Philly coffee block.
There’s even a Philadelphia cafe that specializes in roasting and serving Vietnamese coffee. Who knows what will be next? The options are practically endless now that the city has fully joined coffee’s third wave.
Whether you’re looking to hunker down with a flat white while checking your email or if you just want to grab an iced latte on your way to the shore, the following Philadelphia coffee shops will fit your bill:
We often have trouble choosing a favorite coffee shop in cities like Berlin, Paris and even our current home city of Lisbon. This isn’t the case in Philadelphia where Elixr easily earns our vote for crafting the best coffee in Philadelphia.
We have a history with this cafe that started at its original location on 15th Street before moving to Sydenham Street and later expanding to include national locations. Back in the days before Elixr roasted its own beans, the cafe sourced beans from as far away as Topeka, Kansas (PT’s Coffee) and Chicago (Intelligentsia) just to prove the virtue of excellently made coffee.
They’ve since joined the roasting party and are now one of the best roasters in the USA.
Elixr is the cafe where we sent our European friend who was suffering from specialty coffee withdrawal. It’s the cafe that we visit first every time we return to Philly. And it’s the cafe where we buy bags of freshly roasted beans to enjoy at home.
Starting at the top with owner Evan Inatome and trickling throughout the Elixr empire, quality rules the day in all aspects of the business from sourcing quality single-origin beans around the world to serving quality espresso drinks to thirsty crowds who stream through the handful of Elixr cafes in Philadelphia as well as in State College and Nashville.
Drink outside the box by ordering a strawberry oat milk latte or a matcha butterfly lemonade.
Elixr Coffee Roasters has multiple Philadelphia cafes. They roast their beans at the cafe located at 315 N 12th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107, United States.
2. ReAnimator Coffee
While we enjoyed drinking coffee in ReAnimator’s Fishtown and South Philly locations in the past, the Kensington location is now our preferred choice.
The large converted factory space not only operates as a roastery and training lab but also has a full coffee menu and a range of treats ideal for breakfast, lunch or a snack.
After roasting beans for a few years, ReAnimator Coffee opened its first cafe in at Norris and Susquehanna streets in 2013 and its Kensington location a year after that. Kensington is where much of the action happens now since this location houses their roastery and training lab. Other ReAnimator cafes are located in Port Richmond, South Philly and West Philly.
You can sign up for ReAnimator’s coffee subscription if you don’t live near any of those locations.
We visited the Kensington location three times during our most recent return to Philly for research purposes so that we could sample the cafe’s coffee, both hot and cold, and its food, both sweet and savory. After three visits, it’s fair to call this Philadelphia coffee shop one of our favorites.
ReAnimator Coffee has multiple Philadelphia cafes. The original cafe is located at 1523 E Susquehanna Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19125, United States.
3. Càphê Roasters
Coffee from Vietnam is not a new concept to us – we’ve cumulatively spent a year, give or take, in the Southeast Asian country. While there, we drank our fair share of Vietnamese coffee in cities like Hanoi, Da Nang and Saigon as well as the occasional egg coffee. In Philadelphia, we can now drink Vietnamese coffee at Càphê Roasters.
Càphê Roasters occupies a beautiful space in a somewhat surprising Harrowgate location (under the El at Kensington Avenue and J Street, just a few blocks from blighted K&A). Beyond its beautiful space and surprising location, Càphê Roasters claims fame as the city’s first Vietnamese specialty coffee roaster. To achieve this status, Càphê Roasters imports raw beans from Asia, specifically from Lam Don, Vietnam and Pa Miang, Thailand, and roasts them on-site.
Crafting Vietnamese-style coffee drinks with those beans is where Càphê Roasters really shines.
To be honest, when we lived in Vietnam, we mostly drank cappuccinos and lattes. Traditional Vietnamese coffee follows a different path than the specialty coffee we prefer to drink. Most Vietnamese coffee is made with robusta beans and the coffee is roasted dark.
Co-founder Thu Pham clearly drank a lot of Vietnamese coffee too. She developed the cafe’s coffee program including the two drinks that we sipped. Our iced Vietnamese Latte was a treat with its sweetened bottom layer of sweetened condensed milk and top layer of espresso.
Similar to egg coffees we drank in Vietnam’s capital city, Pham’s Egg Coffee pairs eggy sweetened custard with bitter joe. Unfortunately, despite the drink’s stylish appearance, the cafe’s version didn’t quite come together for us.
Was it because they used espresso? Was it because they didn’t serve it in a hot water bath like in Hanoi? Was it the custard? We don’t know. But the coffee didn’t quite have the decadent dessert-like quality we loved in Hanoi at Cafe Giảng.
Beyond coffee, Càphê Roasters’s menu has various tea drinks and an intriguing food menu created by Executive Chef Jacob Trinh. Though we were tempted by items like Crispy French Fries, Tangy Toast and Condensed Milk Soft Serve, we stayed true to our Vietnamese memories and ordered a Banh Mi.
Càphê Roasters nailed it – a crackly mini-baguette filled with pickled veggies, herbs, pâte and house mayo. The globally popular sandwich was remarkably similar to the numerous Banh Mi we ate in Vietnam. It may have easily cost 10 time more but that’s ok since we saved a fortune in airfare.
Buy a Vietnamese Coffee Brew Kit and brew your own Vietnamese coffee at home. The kit includes a bag of Càphê Roasters’ Vietamese Espresso Blend, condensed milk, a Vietnamese coffee filter called a phin and step-by-step instructions.
Càphê Roasters is located at 3400 J Street, Philadelphia, PA 19134, United States.
4. Thank You Thank You Coffee Brewers
Thank You Thank You Coffee Brewers would stand out for its name alone. We joked about its repetitive use of the words ‘thank you’ as we approached the cafe on the edge of Jewelers’ Row.
It turns out that the joke was on us. Despite only being open since May of 2022, Thank You Thank You is one of the best coffee shops in Philadelphia. It’s also one of the city’s most unique cafes.
While most Philadelphia cafes roast their own beans or source beans from one roaster, Thank You Thank You’s owner Cody McGregor operates as a multi-brewer by sourcing quality beans from roasters like Sey in Brooklyn and Friedhats in Amsterdam. No neophyte, he paid his dues at Starbucks before honing his craft at Ultimo and ReAnimator.
McGregor’s love for coffee was obvious both in his advocacy and his product. Daryl savored every sip of his pour over crafted with Colombian beans roasted by Sey. Mindi, on the other hand, sipped her 24 Carat Gold specialty drink with abandon. The slightly sweet, slightly salty, orange-flavored shakerato was a delight.
The quality of McGregor’s coffee, along with its location, would be enough to draw us to this small but stylish cafe around the corner from Washington Square. However, these aren’t the reasons that make Thank You Thank You so unique. That reason comes down to five words at the bottom of its menu – Tax Included / Proudly Gratuity Free.
Although typical in the rest of the world, building the tax and gratuity into the price is the antithesis of the American tipping culture. Wonderful for both the employees who are provided a fair wage and customers who don’t have that awkward moment at the register, it’s a practice that we fully support and commend.
Pair your coffee with a donut, pastry or chocolate bar if you want to turn your coffee stop into a coffee break.
Thank You Thank You Coffee Brewers is located at 700 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106, United States.
5. Two Persons Coffee
Located inside the trendy Bok Building since 2018, Two Persons Coffee is owned by two people as you might expect; however, owners Adam Gery and Whitney Joslin didn’t name their South Philly cafe after themselves or in reference to the cafe’s size. Instead, the provocative name was inspired by Edward Bok’s book Two Persons that was published almost a century earlier in 1922.
While Bok’s book has absolutely nothing to do with coffee, Two Persons Coffee certainly does. The independent coffee shop sources quality beans from around the world to craft their joe.
During our visits, the cafe offered beans from Australia’s Market Lane, Lancaster’s Passenger and Massachusetts’ Little Wolf. Don’t count on those beans though – the bean selection changes constantly. On other days, the cafe may offer beans from roasters like Copenhagen’s Prologue or Oakland’s Flower Child.
Two Persons Coffee is a great cafe and not just because it serves great coffee, which is obviously the most important reason. It’s a great spot to chill thanks to its eclectic furniture and free WiFi. Plus, it’s conveniently located next door to Machine Shop, one of Philly’s most lauded bakeries.
6. Ox Coffee
We liked Ox Coffee back when the Queen Village cafe opened just five blocks from our house, yet we weren’t regulars. Back then, circa 2013 when we were slaves to free wifi, we spent the majority of our time at Shot Tower (see below). Fast forward a decade and things have changed.
While Ox Coffee still prioritizes in-person communication over the internet, it no longer sources beans from Portland’s Sumptown. Instead, owners Max Cudworth and Will Gross locally roast global beans in a Kensington roastery.
We’ve changed too. After drinking coffee in dozens of countries around the world, we’ve developed heightened appreciation for solid roasting, inspired latte art and friendly service. Ox Coffee offers all three plus bagels on the weekend. Plus, we can now tether our computers so free internet isn’t so important.
Leave your laptop at home when you visit Ox Coffee. In case you missed the memo, the Queen Village cafe doesn’t have free WiFi.
Ox Coffee is located at 616 S 3rd St, Philadelphia, PA 19147, United States.
7. Suprema Coffee Roastery
We felt positive vibes when we entered Suprema Coffee Roastery on Pine Street. Part of that vibe came from the cafe’s stylish design. The other part came from owner Stefan Radivojevic who shared his obsession for coffee with us.
As we learned, the curious culinarian started his coffee journey by buying raw ‘green’ beans on Amazon and roasted them in, of all places, his home oven. Yes – you can do that too. He also taught himself latte art. Finally, he opened his compact Pine Street cafe in February of 2020.
No longer roasting beans purchased from Amazon at home, Radivojevic roasts single-origin beans sourced directly from Brazil and Colombia inside the cafe. He also roasts a blend of Ethiopian and Brazilian beans to create the cafe’s Supreme Crėma blend.
Coffee connoisseurs flock to buy bags of Radivojevic’s beans. Many stay to enjoy pastries as well as crafted drinks that transcend the typical cappuccino and latte.
Go big and try one of Suprema Coffee Roastery’s signature drinks. Options include the iced Mochly (two shots of espresso, Ghirardelli dark chocolate and Oatly oat milk), the Breakfast Latte (two shots of espresso and oat milk) and the Red Eye (black coffee with two shots of espresso).
Suprema Coffee Roastery is located at 1511 Pine St, Philadelphia, PA 19102, United States.
8. Rowhome Coffee
Hugh Morretta and Eli Shaika opened the original Rowhome Coffee in late 2020 with passions for both specialty coffee and comfort food. Clearly their passions have hit a nerve since they now have a second cafe on the other side of town.
Ironically, neither cafe is actually located in a row house. The original Fitler Square cafe occupies a former bar and the East Kensington cafe was originally a pharmacy. However, both cafes channel the spirit of Philadelphia by serving soft pretzel sandwiches in addition to specialty coffee.
Much of Rowhome Coffee’s buzz centers around its soft pretzel sandwiches, but coffee remains the heart of the cafe’s operation. This should be no surprise since the cafe is named Rowhome Coffee and not Rowhome Pretzel.
Considering Morretta’s role as a roaster at La Colombe (see below), it’s also no surprise that the cafe exclusively sources its beans from the Philadelphia roasting behemoth. And, since Morretta has the inside track on special single origin beans, this is a good thing.
Pair your coffee with a soft pretzel sandwich. Filling options include a variety of cream cheeses as well as roast beef, turkey, cheese and plant based sausage.
Rowhome Coffee has multiple Philadelphia cafes. The original cafe is located at 2536 Pine St, Philadelphia, PA 19103, United States.
9. Ultimo Coffee
The owners of Ultimo Coffee weren’t being braggadocious when they named their original Newbold coffee shop. Instead, it just so happens that the owners’ last name is Ultimo.
Pre-dating Elixr by a year, Ultimo Coffee sourced its beans from Counter Culture Coffee in the early days. A lot has changed since then. Not only does the Philly coffee pioneer have locations in Germantown, Graduate Hospital and Rittenhouse, but it also roasts its beans inside the original cafe.
Customers can sample Ultimo’s beans in a variety of iterations. We typically order cappuccinos but many locals swear by the cafe’s espresso pulls. You can’t go wrong either way
Don’t hesitate to order baklava if the sweet treat is available during your visit.
Ultimo Coffee has multiple Philadelpha cafes. The original cafe is located at 1900 S 15th St, Philadelphia, PA 19145, United States.
10. Persimmon Coffee
It would be easy to compare Persimmon Coffee to the shiny orange fruit with the same name. After all, the coffee shop sprouted in Fishtown in the summer of 2022 after growing its popularity at pop-ups all over town. Plus, the versatile fruit has Asian roots just like two of Persimmon’s three owners.
But falling back on such an easy comparison is a tempting cop out. This is a coffee shop that’s more than a gimmick or a cute name.
Sawyer Beckley, Chaereen Pak and Kai Talim met while working at Function Coffee Labs (see below) and later launched their coffee concept in 2020. The experienced trio roasts their beans in Chestnut Hill before seeking balance in each and every cup. They also source laminated pastries from Bloomsday Cafe and organic tea from Hibiki-An.
Despite its urban location, Persimmon’s sunlit space and Talim’s meticulous attention to detail reminded us of one of our favorite coffee shops – April Coffee Store & Showroom in Copenhagen. This is a coffee operation we’ll be watching with curious eyes.
Stop next door for an ice cream cone at Weckerly’s Ice Cream. Our seasonal scoop of caramel corn ice cream was fantastic.
Persimmon Coffee is located at 11 West Girard Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19123, United States.
11. Three Graces Coffee Co.
Yulee Park clearly had a vision when she opened Three Graces Coffee Co. in 2000. Not only did she transform a former Queen Village bank building into a charming cafe space, but she also installed a magenta espresso machine for an extra bit of pizzazz.
Little touches are everywhere from the cafe’s wall length mural and mod light fixtures that descend from its ceiling. Those same touches apply to menu items like beignets and croissants plus tempting baked goods from the Mighty Bread Company.
Drink choices run the gamut from simple to elaborate with none more intriguing that the cafe’s signature Twix Latte crafted with both caramel and chocolate syrup. However, it was the Honey Lavender Latte which won our attention and infatuation. A seasonal special at the time of our initial visit, it has since graduated to permanent status.
Sip your coffee inside or outside unless you’re in a rush.
Three Graces Coffee Co. is located at 719 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19147, United States.
12. Shot Tower Coffee
Located in Queen Village since 2010, Shot Tower Coffee is a sentimental favorite since it was our go-to neighborhood cafe for years. Though several coffee shops were located closer to our Bella Vista house, we usually trekked nine minutes to Shot Tower for our daily jolt of joe when we wanted to drink locally.
Back then, Collin Shapiro and Jonathon Zilber (now the co-owners of Philly Style Bagels) crafted our coffees with beans sourced from Counter Culture. Today, the cafe sources its beans from Elixr. But, other than the staffing and bean changes, much has remained the same at Shot Tower Coffee over the past decade.
The baristas at Shot Tower continue to craft good cappuccinos and lattes – that’s a given and the primary reason we keep returning to the cafe. We also appreciate the cafe’s natural light and communal environment.
Shot Tower offers a frequent buyer program for regular customers. Just ask the barista to put your information in the cafe’s system. As we’ve discovered, after years being gone from Philly and returning periodically to eat and see family, there’s no time limit for using your balance.
Shot Tower Coffee is located at 542 Christian St, Philadelphia, PA 19147, United States.
13. Menagerie Coffee
Menagerie has been celebrating independence since it opened its original cafe in Old City in 2014. This statement sounds dramatic but hear us out…
For starters, Menagerie is located in the neighborhood where America’s founding fathers solidified the fledgling country’s independence from England. Equally important, the cafe’s female founders have remained committed to independently sourcing quality beans from roasters like Philadelphia’s Elixr and Minneapolis’ Dogwood Coffee Co.
Back in the day, Menagerie was our go-to coffee shop when we craved a good cup of coffee while wandering through Old City or driving to I-95. Sometimes we’d linger with a yogurt and other times we’d grab a cookie to go. After recently returning, we’re pleased to report that Menagerie’s coffee is just as good as ever.
Since parking can be difficult in Old City, consider following Philly music star Kurt Vile and park in a loading zone if you’re traveling by car. Be sure to adhere to the time limit since PPA agents are very good at their job.
14. Herman’s Coffee
We love a good story as much as we love good coffee and Herman’s Coffee delivers both.
Owners Mat and Amy Falco dared to be different when they opened Herman’s Coffee in 2017 in a former auto repair shop and named the Pennsport cafe after Mat’s grandfather Herman. They also eschewed regular chairs in favor of red lounge chairs – ‘Grandpa’ Herman’s chair of choice.
While those chairs are still there and have become part of the cafe’s logo, much has changed at Herman’s Cafe…
At a crossroad during the pandemic, Mat and Amy started selling obscure products that they loved from all over the world. Lo and behold, the neighbors loved them too.
For us, seeing the market at Hermans’ Coffee was a trip down memory lane. We could only smile while viewing shelves stocked with the likes of Mieli Thun honey from Trentino, Jose Gourmet fish tins from Portugal, Goo Goo Clusters from Nashville, Tony’s Chocolonely chocolate bars from Amsterdam, Naive chocolate bars from Lithuania and Marou chocolate bars from Vietnam.
Mat doesn’t just choose food items. He also roasts coffee onsite and serves it in creative ways. His latte flavors include caramel, mocha, lavender lemon and rose while his specialty drinks go beyond espresso tonics to include proprietary concoctions worth a sip.
Check out Herman Coffee’s pop-up schedule so that you can support local chefs while eating tasty food.
Herman’s Coffee is located at 1313 S 3rd St, Philadelphia, PA 19147, United States.
15. Vibrant Coffee Roasters & Bakery
The owners of Bella Vista’s Function Coffee Lab’s (see below) opened Vibrant Coffee Roasters & Bakery in June of 2021 in Rittenhouse Square. Some customers come to the dual purpose cafe to drink coffee that’s brewed with a choice of dark or light beans. Others come to eat the freshly baked sourdough pastries that are baked in the compact space. Most come to do both.
Following the crowd, we ordered a massive sourdough cinnamon bun to go with our cappuccinos. It proved to be a solid combination. Beyond cinnamon buns, other bakery options include freshly baked bagels and croissants.
Be aware that Vibrant is a compact cafe with just a handful of outdoor tables and an inside bar that only seats four. That being said, it’s just a few steps from comfortable park benches in Rittenhouse Square.
Vibrant Coffee Roasters & Bakery is located at 222 W Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, PA 19103, United States.
16. Rival Bros. Coffee Bar
You might think that Rival Bros. Coffee Bar is owned by two brothers with the last name Rival but you would be wrong. Instead, this Philadelphia coffee company is owed by two friends with the surnames of Adams and Pileggi.
However, you’re on the money if you suspect that the duo has culinary clout. One owner is a former chef and the other is a La Colombe alum.
After operating a mobile coffee truck for three years, the ‘brothers’ permanently parked the truck in 2014 when they opened their original cafe on Lombard Street. There’s now another Rival Bros. cafe in South Philly plus a roastery in northeast Philly.
The two cafes rival each other in terms of style and substance. Both offer beverages like kombucha and nitro cold brew in addition to typical brews and serve tasty treats sourced from local bakeries.
There’s no need to request a double shot. That’s how drinks are automatically crafted at Rival Bros. Coffee Bar.
Rival Bros. Coffee Bar has multiple Philadelphia cafes. The original cafe is located at 2400 Lombard St, Philadelphia, PA 19146, United States.
17. Cake & Joe
Open since December 2020, Cake & Joe stands out from the pack by specializing in both coffee and cakes. But not just any cakes. These cakes are more like something you would eat at patisseries in Paris or Tokyo than at a typical Philly coffee shop.
Owners Sarah Qi and Trista Tang grew up in China but they clearly understand Philadelphia hospitality. The duo runs their Pennsport cafe with the goal of making people smile. In fact, the cafe’s motto is Bake | Brew | Smile. And, in a move which we approve, they’ve incorporated Asian items like calpis (a Japanese soft drink) and congee to the menu
Sure, you can go to Cake & Joe just for coffee but we don’t recommend it. It’s not that the cafe’s coffee brewed with La Colombe beans isn’t good. Rather, this is a cafe where you’ll want to linger with a beautiful piece of cake or enjoy afternoon tea.
Cake & Joe offers an eclectic brunch menu replete with special desserts.
Cake & Joe has multiple locations. We visited the original cafe located at 1401 E Moyamensing Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19147, United States.
18. Alchemy Coffee
Philadelphia isn’t the first city to have a cafe named after the process of transforming something in a mysterious or impressive way. Other cities with cafes named Alchemy include Cape Town, Hong Kong, London, Richmond and Salt Lake City.
However, Philadelphia’s Alchemy Coffee is the only one of the bunch that completes this task using Elixr beans. And, since Elixr roasts the best beans in Philadelphia, it’s a differentiator that we support.
The Rittenhouse cafe’s stark coloring and minimalist design elements reminded us more of coffee shops in Copenhagen than those in Philadelphia. During our visit, Alchemy’s tables were filled with millennial customers, all drinking coffee and working on laptops.
Also during our visit, the enthusiastic owners, both named Chris, completed our experience by personally crafting our cappuccinos and chatting with us about one of our favorite topics – coffee.
Try a new flavor by adding mint to your brew at Alchemy Coffee.
Alchemy Coffee is located at 119 S. 21st Street, Philadelphia PA, 19103, United States.
19. Cogito Coffee
You could have knocked us down with a feather when we first saw the Cogito sign on South 12th Street. We literally did a double take since we immediately recognized the name of our favorite Croatian coffee shop. A quick google search confirmed that the two Cogito’s were indeed the same Cogito’s.
Matija Hrkać and Matija Belković opened Cogito in Zagreb in 2014. Three years later, we were regulars at three different Zagreb Cogito cafes during our two-month stint in the Croatian capital. Those cafes were happy places where we chatted with baristas and drank great coffee.
A Cogito in Philadelphia? It seemed too good to be true. And, at first, maybe it was. We were disappointed during our initial pandemic-era visit by both the Philly Cogito’s vibe as well as its coffee. Those were bizarre times and we figured we’d give the 12th Street coffeeshop a second spin.
Returning in 2022 was different. With its colorful Croatian art and bags of coffee imported from the Balkan nation lining its shelves, Cogito’s first American coffee shop felt more like the Zagreb version. Adding to our positive experience, light streamed through the urban cafe’s large picture windows and the skilled barista was friendly and sociable. More important, our cappuccinos, crafted with Brazilian beans, were smooth and flavorful.
Order a Chaga Latte made with two espresso shots, fine mushroom powder, beetroot, sugar and cinnamon if you’re in an adventurous mood.
Cogito Coffee is located at 105 S 12th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107, United States.
20. Function Coffee Labs
Function Coffee Labs is a Philadelphia coffee shop that proudly embraces science in its quest to craft and serve excellent coffee. Not surprisingly, co-owner Ross Nickerson is a mechanical engineer.
We might have been regulars at Function Coffee had the timing been different. Instead, the cafe debuted in April of 2016, just two months after we left its Bella Vista neighborhood. Nickerson opened the cafe with his fiance (now wife) Megan McCusker in a spot that previously housed a parade of cafes. It says a lot that their cafe is the one that stuck.
The science-friendly cafe originally sourced beans from out-of-state roasters but now uses beans roasted locally by sister company Vibrant Coffee Roasters (see above). Its house roast typically incorporates beans grown in Central and South America while its ‘lab line’ features boutique beans grown around the world.
You’ll probably want to order Function’s ‘coffee shot’ – a true synthesis of science and coffee. Nickerson used all of his skills to engineer this shot that’s both smooth and satisfying. Why not give it a shot?
Don’t skip the cafe’s pastries which are made in house.
Function Coffee Labs is located at 1001 S 10th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147, United States.
21. La Colombe Coffee Roasters
La Colombe was one of our gateways to better coffee until we outgrew the company’s dark roasting style. Todd Carmichael opened the original La Colombe in 1994 before he found fame and fortune with the Travel Channel and later sold the coffee operation to Chobani. With more than 30 locations in cities across the US, La Colombe is now a national powerhouse when it comes to coffee.
Even though the original cafe is located just off of Rittenhouse Square, the company’s flagship location/roastery is in Fishtown. In a sign of the times, some of its beans are now roasted more lightly than was the case a decade ago.
Try a draft latte when you visit La Colombe in Fishtown. The cafe’s signature caffeinated beverage is delightfully refreshing.
La Colombe Coffee Roasters has multiple cafes in Philadelphia. The flagship cafe is located at 1335 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125, United States.
22. Bohdi Coffee
We felt enlightened when we first visited Bodhi Coffee in 2010 and not just because bodhi translates to enlightenment. This is the cafe where we first drank pour over coffees and it’s also the spot where we first drank coffee crafted with Stumptown Coffee Roasters beans. We’ve since enjoyed Stumptown in its home city of Portland as well as in Chicago and New York.
A second location followed a few years later but that one didn’t stand the test of time. Instead, Bodhi Coffee’s owners chose to focus their attention on the original cafe situated inside a historic 18th century Society Hill building. Its a cosy spot with plenty of charm. Plus, it’s conveniently located next to Headhouse Square.
Though Bodhi Coffee’s owners haven’t wavered from their affection for Stumptown, they now source some of their beans from PT’s Coffee Roasting Co. While those roasters aren’t local, Bodhi’s baking partners are all in or near Philly. Continuing the local theme, co-owner Tom Henneman is a key partner of Philadelphia’s Federal Donuts along with Steve Cook and über-chef Michael Solomonov.
Bring a canvas shopping bag if you plan to combine your Sunday morning visit with a shopping trip at the Headhouse Farmer’s Market.
Bohdi Coffee is located at 410 S 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19147, United States.
23. Jiggy Coffee
Will Smith may have gotten jiggy in West Philly back in the day, but Jiggy Coffee has been doing its thing in Center City since 2022. To be clear, that thing is crafting specialty coffee drinks with beans roasted by Paper Planes in Washington, DC.
Don’t assume that Jiggy’s owners, Jonathan Lee and Jacalyn Shou, are new to the Philadelphia coffee scene. They paid their coffee dues at Old City Coffee, a coffee shop that pre-dates Jiggy Cafe by more than three decades.
Another thing not to assume is that Lee and Shou source all of their products from outside of Philadelphia. Instead, at the time of our visit, the cafe was serving baked goods sourced from four Philly-based operations – Au Fournil, Crust Vegan Bakery, High Fidelity Bakery and Kismet Bagels.
Order a London Fog if you can’t choose between Early Grey tea or a creamy latte. It’s the best of both worlds.
Jiggy Coffee is located at 1000 Pine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107, United States.
24. Lombard Cafe
With its mishmash of furniture and a wall covered with mirrors in various shapes and sizes, Society Hill’s Lombard Cafe is the kind of cafe that we would have surely visited when we lived nearby. Had that happened, we would have brought our laptops to the homey cafe and lingered all afternoon drinking cappuccinos and eating Philly muffins stuffed with eggs and cheese.
That didn’t happen as we left the neighborhood a few years too soon.
Jordan Caulfield and Jasmine Taibi have packed a lot into their compact space and we’re not just talking about the cafe’s decor. Food options include croissants, donuts, sandwiches and, not surprisingly, avocado toast.
Caulfield and Taibi also craft a range of coffee drinks with ReAnimator beans and spruce them up with flavors like lavender and honey cinnamon. Additional beverage choices include seasonal drinks like the intriguing Maple Shakerato made with two shots of espresso, milk and Vermont maple syrup that was on offer at the time of our visit.
Order a seasonal salad to go with your seasonal beverage.
Lombard Cafe is located at 542 Lombard Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147, United States.
25. Nook Bakery & Coffee Bar
Always game to try new coffee shops, we high-tailed it to Nook Bakery & Coffee Bar when a fellow coffee enthusiast at Elixr (see above) recommended the ‘new’ cafe to us. As it turns out, Nook is far from new. The Rittenhouse Square cafe was just new to us.
Open since 2010 on 20th Street near Sansom, the cafe’s history goes back to 2005 when Edna and Michael Caro opened their original Philly cafe. However, the cafe didn’t join coffee’s current wave until the duo started roasting small batches of beans in 2017.
Despite its Rittenhouse Square neighborhood, Nook isn’t fancy. Instead, its space looks like a working laboratory. Besides baking sweet treats for both humans and dogs, the duo roasts small batches of beans “1.5 pounds at at time” which they package and sell in small, medium and large bags.
Pre-order a bag of dog treats. Your dog deserves it.
Nook Bakery & Coffee Bar is located at 15 S 20th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103, United States.
Additional Philadelphia Coffee Shops
Consider the following Philadelphia coffee shops if you’re thirsty for even more joe when you visit the City of Brotherly Love:
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. Coffee is popular all over the US and Philadelphia is no exception.
Philadelphia coffee prices are in line with prices in other US cities. Expect to spend $2-3 basic cup of coffee and more for a quality flat white in Philadelphia.
Yes. Philadelphia may have been initially slow to embrace coffee’s wave but it has caught up in a big way.
Top Philadelphia third wave coffee shops include Elix and, ReAnimator. Try them both plus more to find your favorite.
Yes. Philadelphia’s first Starbucks location opened in 1995. There are now dozens of Starbucks cafes in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas.
About The Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website. Since launching the site in 2012, they’ve traveled to over 40 countries in their quest to bring readers their unique taste of the world.
Original Publication Date: June 27, 2022
Republication Date: January 7, 2023