If you’re like us, your morning (and afternoon) coffee is essential. It helps you wake up and gets you through hour after hour of work. Sometimes, it accompanies a conversation with friends or coworkers. And other times, you’re grabbing an espresso on the way to the gym.
Thankfully, no matter how you take your coffee, Pittsburgh has you covered. Find your favorite by stopping by these local spots.
La Prima is about as close as you’ll come to a traditional Italian espresso bar. The shop was founded in 1988 to sell and service old espresso machines, and its character still comes through (seriously, on the weekend you can find a group of old Italian men playing cards outside). Enjoy your espresso at the bar, Italian-style, or order a cup for takeaway while you stroll around the Strip.
“A mano” means by hand in Italian — and that’s just what you’ll get at this Lawrenceville mainstay. Its lattes (that chai though), teas, and pastries, as well as its extremely friendly baristas led by owner Matt Gebis, have become the talk of the town among yinzers and visitors. And with your caffeine fix in mano, settle in and check out the rustic brick walls adorned with eclectic paintings by local artists.
Commonplace coffeehouse and roastery is anything but common. Founded in 2003 in Indiana, PA, this coffee spot has expanded rapidly throughout Pittsburgh, with locations in Squirrel Hill and Mexican War Streets (to name a few). Core coffees include the citric, spicy Los Naranjos Colombia roast, the sweet and jam-like Mwalyego Tanzania, and the rich and chocolatey Kunjin Papua New Guinea (yeah, that’s culture). No matter your coffee craving, this place will do you one better. Example: the Voluto location in Garfield frequently has a rotating selection of food trucks outside.
This no-frills coffee spot on the border of Lawrenceville and Bloomfield has become a go-to spot for coffee and tea lovers alike. Its espresso drinks, drip brews, teas and lattes, crafted from Ceremony Coffee and Song Tea, will take you to the stars. Bright, white walls create an overall minimalist vibe, making Constellation the perfect destination for a much-needed escape.
“Adda” is a Bengali word that, in short, means a place for conversation — and this Shadyside spot lives up to its name. Adda features a particular region of the world every month through artwork and their menu of delicious teas, coffees, and pastries. And check out their “High Tea” on the second and fourth weekends of every month — you can try their entire tea menu!
From coffee and tea, espresso, and iced drink selections to their “Fancy” drinks (pour over, Chemex, and french press) to their “This’n’at” extras (an oats tea & yogurt smoothie, Blume honey water), this East Liberty coffee shop has it all. They use a special Sivetz Roaster to reduce burning and smoking during roasting, making for a less acidic, more robust flavor in their coffees (less jet fuel-like). And they don’t stop at beverages. Pair your drink with their famous chocolate covered espresso beans, an ice cream sandwich, or a gluten-free doughnut.
Tazza D’oro is Italian for “cup of gold,” and that’s just what you’ll get at this coffeehouse in Highland Park. Their partnership with Counter Culture Coffee allows them to source from single-farmer lots, making this coffee taste good and feel good. They also put a great deal of effort into training their baristas — a.k.a you won’t have to limit your visits to avoid lattes by certain baristas (we can’t be the only ones that’ve done this).
Quality is so important when it comes to coffee, and 21st Street Coffee lives, breathes, and brews it. Fueling the Strip District since 2006, they’ve been bringing art to coffee for over ten years now, individually brewing and aerating each cup. They also pride themselves on their selections of Intelligentsia Coffee and Kilogram Tea. Brb. We have to go… do something.
Step inside this quaint storefront on 4121 Main Street between Bloomfield and Lawrenceville and you’ll find a 1920s interior bursting with colorful flowers, curated art, and a high-end coffee bar to boot. And what’s more, founders Kira Hoeg and Tommy Conroy use their expertise of coffee culture and international travel to change the store’s contents with the seasons — talk about the perfect backdrop for your daily cup of joe.
Get in on one of Pittsburgh’s best-kept secrets, nestled on Polish Hill. Lili Cafe is the perfect spot for someone craving coffee, breakfast, or lunch with a view. Their wide variety of veggie and vegan sandwiches is reason enough to stop by — and on your way out, satisfy your artistic cravings in MindCure Records or Copacetic Comics, in the same building as Lili Fitt Tip: Give Lilliput Coffee & Cafe in Oakland a spin. It’s a new venture by Lili and Allentown’s vegan pop-up Onion Maiden.
A coffee shop that hosts a Green Day cover show. That’s what you’ll find at Black Forge Coffee in Allentown. It’s a shop that’s come to Burgh “bearing heavy jams, dark coffee, and an atmosphere you can describe in your own words.” They source coffee from Zeke’s, tea from Gryphon’s, pastries from Threefifty, sandwiches from Community Kitchen, and vegan goodies from Onion Maiden (yay local!). Stop in for a brew or an open mic, or both if you’re feeling it.
If you aren’t looking for this spot, you might walk right by. If you did, turn around and go back. The open-air storefront and lofted second floor are an awesome place to get some work done. And besides the stellar coffee menu, you’ll have your choice of snacks. Grab a juice, smoothie, sandwich, soup, or salad to fuel your work sesh or stuff in your bag for lunch.
Picture this: It’s 6am. You’re walking down Sarah Street, groggy and less than excited to be up this early. You happen upon Big Dog. There’s an oatmeal bar and Intelligentsia coffee inside. Need we say more? But if it’s 6 pm, replace oatmeal bar with burning fireplace. Either way, it’s a dream come true.
When your next caffeine craving strikes, make your escape to this hidden gem. It’s a coffee shop, that’s for sure. But there’s so much happening here. From food trucks to local art and music to meetups, Biddle’s does it all. Fitt tip: Plan to stop by on a Wednesday when the weather’s nice. Sit on the huge deck with your coffee and the snack you scored from the food truck of the week.
This coffee shop is all about love (hence the name). They use only high-grade, direct trade beans and milk from grass-fed cows on a local, 100-year-old family farm. And their love doesn’t stop in the store — your drinks (the staples and their wide variety of specialties) come in mason jars and recycled cups. Tea lovers? Stop in for their select teas from Dobra Tea and Healcrest Urban Farms, best paired with a scone or cookie from Om Nom Bake Studio or a sandwich from 52nd Street Market.
Redhawk Coffee is red hot in Pittsburgh right now. Locals are buzzing about this specialty coffee shop and espresso truck founded by Branden Walter Jr., a former barista at Espresso A Mano, and his wife, Mary Gonzales. The truck, which debuted in September, led to a pop-up storefront on Meyran (the first independent coffee spot in Oakland). Pitt students, now’s your chance.
Stop by this new spot on Ellsworth Avenue for an exceptional pour over in an incredibly well-designed space. The knowledgeable and baristas will fill you in on multiple menus for espresso, pour-over coffee (Passenger and Commonplace, most recently), teas, and other coffee drinks. Then grab a seat at the living room style set up, large communal table, cafe tables, or at the poured concrete coffee bar.
Stumptown Coffee? Is that you? Pittsburghers are loving the elegant, subtle coffee bar inside East Liberty’s Ace Hotel, a century-old former YMCA building. With Stumptown Coffee and pastries baked fresh daily in the hotel’s Whitfield Kitchen, it’s easy to see why. In addition to the coffee bar, check out the lobby bar and the Whitfield neighborhood tavern for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
This coffee shop/restaurant has the aesthetic thing down. Not only are meals like red potato hash, biscuit sandwiches, and farm egg omelettes cooked and plated to perfection, but coffee is served in handmade ceramics made by local artists. Stop by this Butler Street must for a cup of the famed Parlor Coffee, served in espresso, cappuccino, cortado (magical mix of espresso and steamed milk), latte, or cold brew.
“Renovation and innovation” is the theme at this funeral home turned coffeehouse, pub, and bistro in Lawrenceville. You can have your espresso, nitro cold brew, craft beer, kombucha, or cocktail inside the restaurant’s dim lighting (with beautiful exposed brick walls and wooden ceiling beams) or take to the huge outdoor seating area around a swan fountain. Either way, you will love it.
The story behind Pear & The Pickle, a little market and cafe in Troy Hill, is reason enough to stop by. Owners Alex & Bobby came to Pittsburgh from Brooklyn in a U-Haul in 2011. Sad to leave their friends and the food behind, they decided to open up Pear & The Pickle to make some new ones. You can shop for fresh produce, deli and dairy products, canned dry goods and fresh baked goods, or stop in for a cup of Stumptown coffee. That, or a locally-made ice cream sandwich and Saturday supper.
We’ll keep you up to date on all things health, fitness and local food in Pittsburgh.