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s
sara Aug 4, 2005 09:39 AM

heard about a japanese coffee place that roasts it's own beans, but haven't been able to locate it. does this exist?

beside colombe, any other notable coffee in philadelphia?

thanks.

  1. d
    dirkdiggler Aug 4, 2008 08:22 PM

    So I used to be a proud patron of La Colombe. I used to insist, "you can't find a better cup of coffee." Than, I went out to Portland, OR.

    PORTLAND CHANGED EVERYTHING.

    Coming back, I found La Colombe's coffee to be kind of weak in body and flavor. On a good day, their coffee had a slight hint of cinnamon.

    Since coming back from Portland, I have discovered other great coffee places outside of Philadelphia, all over the east coast,...and even in Detroit, Michigan! A place in Detroit killed "Philly's best" in both the coffee it offered and the skill of the baristas (i.e. they knew how to make a proper cappuccino and were well informed as to what the difference between a capp and a latte.) They even poured a latte art design in my ONE shot macchiato. I got to say...and I love Philadelphia, my home of 20+ years, but the coffee community is very mislead and in need of some basic education.

    For the past few years, Capogiro has been the only place in town that could competently serve an espresso/espresso-based drink. Granted they serve La Calombe (rumor has it Capogiro will be roasting their own beans), they seem to understand the mechanics of the machines (grinder included) and the concepts behind the drinks better than the guys over at La Colombe.

    Recently, Spruce Street Espresso (11th and Spruce) has become a great place to get coffee. They offer french-pressed single origin coffees (non blends from a single coffee grower farm) from Counter Culture Coffee Roasters (a direct trade coffee company). When french pressed properly, these coffees offer some amazing, natural flavors. If they are serving any African beans, you have to try them out. Spectacular. They also serve mean shots of espresso through a beautiful La Marzocco espresso machine.

    If you're in Center City and want some great coffee, your best bets are Capogiro or Spruce Street Espresso. Trust me.

    And just in case this isn't clear, while La Colombe is not the worst cup of coffee in the world, it is WAY far from being the best in this city, let alone this region/state/coast/country...get the idea?

    3 Replies
    1. re: dirkdiggler
      CindyJ Aug 5, 2008 07:17 AM

      Because of all the hype surrounding La Colombe, I picked up a pound each of their Nizza and Corsica coffees at Carlino's in West Chester. Quite frankly, I was underwhelmed. I mean, it was okay coffee, but nothing to rave about, and I found them to be roasted darker than the descriptions on the label would have me believe.

      Recently I tried the coffee from Saxby's, which opened about a month ago in Kennett. So far, I've been fairly satisfied with their Tanzania Peaberry and Guatamalan coffees.

      1. re: CindyJ
        h
        heartdoc Aug 5, 2008 08:45 AM

        Order some Segefredo online, its my favorite, Also ILLY is great too, esp the dark roast

        1. re: heartdoc
          s
          silverbullet69 Aug 5, 2008 03:35 PM

          La colombe is BORING and EVERYWHERE, dont go to La colombe. I've always found Old City coffee to be fantastic.

    2. p
      Panini Guy Mar 14, 2008 12:54 PM

      Another Chestnut Hill fan here, but note that Spruce St. Coffee (1101 Spruce in Center City) has just opened and is more convenient to those downtown. They serve Counter Culture Coffees and feature a LaMarzocco GB5 for espresso brewing.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Panini Guy
        m
        ManSeekingCoffee Mar 17, 2008 11:18 AM

        Wow. Good to know. I also saw that they have counter culture at Milkboy in ardmore (http://www.milkboycoffee.com/). More diner/restaurant than cafe so I don't think there's a huge selection of beans but they apparently do cuppings there through Counter Culture. It looks like they have one scheduled for March 28th based on the informaiton on Counter Culture's website.

        1. re: Panini Guy
          Chinon00 Mar 19, 2008 12:53 AM

          I'm a Mt Airy guy so my standard is Infusion on Germantown between Mt. Airy Avenue and Mt Pleasant. But I decided to visit Chestnut Hill Coffee this past Sunday because of this post and I really enjoyed it too (although that was the smallest double espresso I've ever had [I understand that it is a smaller pour of much stronger espresso thoough]). I like the space to. I sat in the back with a magazine and didn't want to leave because of the music and warm colors.

          1. re: Chinon00
            b
            Bob Loblaw Mar 19, 2008 08:29 AM

            i find their espressos too short.
            i was in seattle last summer, and that was the craze there, too - the 'double ristreto (ristretto?)'. i like a shirt pull, just not this short. i would get doubles just to have enough to drink, then be waaaay toooo wired.

            i could just man up and ask for a longer shot, but never manage to do that. (what's next? light beer?)

            all this to say what i said before - i like the place, but find it a bit overrated. it's walking distance to me (closer than infusion even w/g-town open), but i woudn't make it a destination coffee location.

            1. re: Bob Loblaw
              i
              idia Mar 19, 2008 11:36 AM

              If you are lucky enough to find it in specialty stores (I get mine at Food Source) don't leave the store without ILLY coffee. It is right up there next to La Colombe.

        2. h
          hassan Jan 12, 2008 11:03 AM

          I second La Colombe. You really can't get better coffee than them. Being a regular coffee drinker and having lived in San Francisco, Seattle, New York (worst coffee city ever), LA, Texas, and now Philadelphia....La Colombe is my pick for a great tasting cup of coffee.

          3 Replies
          1. re: hassan
            1
            18465 Jan 14, 2008 07:19 AM

            Chestnut Hill Coffee also roasts its own beans now. The roaster is on the second floor and you can get a good look at it. It is my new favorite phila. coffee. Like old city quite a bit as well.

            1. re: 18465
              m
              ManSeekingCoffee Mar 14, 2008 10:30 AM

              Chestnut Hill and Brew Ha Ha are definitely my top picks. Chestnut Hill probably wins out for espresso and they roast their own and you can now apparantly get their coffee at The Beauty Shop which actually in Philly propper so you don't have to drive out to Chestnut Hill. Brew Ha Ha is local chain out of Delaware. They use Pronto Roster's coffee out of Annapolis. Good stuff. They have some really committed staff and are right downtown. I have some fuller reviews of each on my blog.

              1. re: ManSeekingCoffee
                m
                mitchh Mar 19, 2008 11:16 AM

                Brew Ha Ha used to have 2 locations in Montgomery county, but they both have sinced closed. It's a shame because they had really good coffee, but they picked two really poor locations that were doomed to fail from the start.

                I stick with Wawa coffee. Whenever I travel I always look forward to coming home and stopping at the first Wawa that I see.

          2. s
            SPDMSW Jan 12, 2008 09:03 AM

            La Colombe is the best in philadelphia without qeustion. Their beans are better than many small roast shops that I have mail ordered through the years. Ray's does sound like it's worth a trip for the experiance.

            1. b
              Buckethead Jan 4, 2008 06:57 AM

              My favorite coffee roaster in the city is Anthony's in the Italian Market, on 9th a few doors south of Christian St. La Colombe is very good too but I like Anthony's 'Italian Market Reserve' roast better.

              1. g
                GSquared Jan 4, 2008 06:25 AM

                Bucks County Coffee in the Ardmore Farmers Market by Suburban Square.

                1. p
                  Panini Guy Jan 4, 2008 03:17 AM

                  Don't know about the Japanese place, but as for "other notable": Chestnut Hill Coffee, current home legendary barista John Hornall. Also not too far away in So. Jersey, there's Crescent Moon in Mullica Hill, which also roasts and has employed baristas in the past who were competitive on the national scene. As far as local Philly roasters, we like many of Torreo's offerings.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Panini Guy
                    s
                    Schpsychman Jan 4, 2008 06:22 AM

                    I think you are talking about Ray's as well. Haven't been there in a while but it was one of the best cups of coffee I've ever had (at $8 a cup that is). Have to agree with Newgilrintown and say that La Colombe in a French press is unbeatable for at home. Oh so strong yet oh so smooth, the way coffee should be consumed. Cafe Umbria? Do you mean Umbria in Mt. Airy on Germantown Ave by chance?

                    1. re: Schpsychman
                      mschow Jan 4, 2008 06:45 AM

                      Rays has great coffee, and their food is very good. Especially the home-made dumplings. I've been going to Rays for years, and have always enjoyed it.
                      They do have this very involved siphoning thing going on for making coffee. It's hard to describe, but I have never seen anything like it here in Philly or elsewhere. It's worth a stop if you like good coffee, or Taiwanese style food.

                  2. m
                    ManSeekingCoffee Jan 3, 2008 04:13 PM

                    You should check out pure coffee blog on blogspot for Philly coffee info. Bill, the author, seems to have a good grasp on the Philly Coffee scene.

                    1. p
                      pronek Aug 5, 2005 01:01 PM

                      I think the Asian place you're thinking of might be Ray's, 141 N. 9th in Chinatown. I haven't been there so can't vouch for the coffee but I hear it's a strange and interesting experience (involving glass siphons, etc).

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: pronek
                        c
                        Chefpaulo Jan 4, 2008 03:58 AM

                        I've been there and the glass syphon technique intrigued me enough to buy my own. They are made by Hario in Japan - the Japanese equivalent of Corning. The result is exceptional and I can't wait to buy some La Colombe beans to try in the syphon.

                        1. re: pronek
                          j
                          jennw36 Jan 11, 2008 01:45 PM

                          I've been to Ray's and LOVE their coffee.

                        2. n
                          Newgirlintown Aug 5, 2005 10:13 AM

                          La Colombe is definitely the best in philly if you brew it properly.
                          Much better as French presse at home than drip coffee.
                          Old city coffee is flawed from the start because the roasting is uneven and the coffee has a burned acrid taste most of the time......simply go to the RTM and you can smelll it when they roast.
                          Double shots is simply OK coffee, nothing special, tried it a few times since i work in the hood.
                          The owner takes himself a little tooooooo seriously.......i was returning from lunch at Capogiro one day and stopped there for more coffee and the owner said to me.." in the future, dont bring in my competitors cups"...referring to the la colombe cup from Capogiro Gelato..........and I am thinking thats funny....you have this cafe here and they sell 8 million dollars of coffee beans.....I suggested a double shot of reality.

                          You know there are lots of roasters online who will deliver coffee as good or better that La colombe to your door....unless it has to be roasted in philly ?
                          Try Cafe Umbria's coffee .

                          1. b
                            Bashful3 Aug 4, 2005 03:37 PM

                            For coffee brewed at home, I was blown over by the quality of Kirkland decaf. That's found only at Costco, I bought it once with trepidation, and was I surprised. Really good, strong, full-bodied coffee at a bargain price.

                            1. e
                              eric Aug 4, 2005 01:45 PM

                              Old City Coffee- Reading Terminal Market and Church 209 Church Street- simply the best.

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