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Alternative to Starbucks!

elgordo Sep 7, 2011 01:29 PM

Visiting Philadelphia, looking for recommendations for places to drink good coffee in the city?


  1. a
    amrobinson Oct 9, 2012 11:01 AM

    There is a great app called coffeeguru that lists and reviews independent coffee houses. It uses your current location to suggest options. Extremely useful when traveling. I think it costs $1.99. I love it. I don't love Starbucks.

    1. b
      barryg Sep 7, 2011 01:49 PM


      Best two places I have been are Ultimo and Elixir.

      1. b
        Buckethead Sep 7, 2011 01:36 PM

        Where are you going to be, exactly? There are dozens of options.

        10 Replies
        1. re: Buckethead
          elgordo Sep 7, 2011 01:59 PM

          We'll be based on Race Street and probably spend most of our four days fairly centrally based in the city!

          Race Street Cafe
          2 Race St, Frenchtown, NJ 08825

          1. re: elgordo
            barryg Sep 7, 2011 02:21 PM

            Elixir and Spruce St Espresso are probably your two best options. La Colombe (two locations) is ok but not in the same league for espresso.

            1. re: barryg
              Bob Loblaw Sep 9, 2011 03:44 AM

              I've not been to La Colombe for a few years, and only to Elixir once. But I'd take La Colombe over Elixir, in a heartbeat. Maybe there's some difference in the brewed coffee, or the drinks with milk, but the espresso I had at Elixir just wasn't that good.
              La Colombe can be a bit of a sceney hassle, but I like the espresso.

              1. re: Bob Loblaw
                truffles2 Sep 9, 2011 05:45 AM

                plus 1 for Colombe!

                1. re: truffles2
                  jarona Sep 9, 2011 07:22 AM

                  plus 2 for La Colombe.

                2. re: Bob Loblaw
                  barryg Sep 9, 2011 07:37 AM

                  Wow maybe a difference of taste. I stopped getting espresso at La Colombe a while ago but the baristas were not good. Elixir, Ultimo, et al are light years ahead IMO. La Colombe does good drip coffee but AFAIK is still not doing per-cup pour over and chemex like the newer places which IMO makes better coffee.

                  1. re: barryg
                    Hungryin theBurbs Sep 9, 2011 08:43 AM

                    I'm with barryg on this one. I have only made it to Elixr once, but I thought it was superior to La Columbe (which is still very good). Elixr reminded me of Intelligentsia in Chicago--they really take their coffee seriously and the different brewing options are fun.

                    1. re: Hungryin theBurbs
                      InSearchOfTacos Sep 9, 2011 11:43 AM

                      i agree with barryg as well- im a big elixr fan and prefer them over la colombe

                    2. re: barryg
                      Bob Loblaw Sep 15, 2011 02:53 PM

                      i've never asked for a per-cup pour over or chemex. so i've nothing to say there. and it's been a while since i've been to la colombe. but the shot of espresso i had at elixir just wasn't that great.
                      i was ready to like "third wave" espresso, but it hasn't wowed me yet.

                      1. re: Bob Loblaw
                        barryg Sep 15, 2011 03:33 PM

                        I was just back at Elixir for the first time in a bit and the espresso was good but not as great as past shots. A lot depends on the barista and some are just not that consistent. Ultimo still #1 for me. Maybe I need to give La Colombe another shot (no pun intended).

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