Last Updated on July 27, 2022 by Angie
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I love coffee. And I don't mean sugar-laden, heart-attack-in-a-cup frappuccinos.
When I say I love coffee, I mean I love single origin coffee that actually tastes like something besides burnt beans (sorry Starbucks). Because I love experimenting with coffee brewing techniques at home, and have a good idea of how to brew a good cup, it takes a really excellent coffee to get me excited about visiting a coffee shop.
There is good reason for this. When I first moved to Pittsburgh I was pretty underwhelmed with the coffee scene. Luckily things have greatly improved over the past few years and they continue to get better all the time. Thanks to this new scene of coffee shops in Pittsburgh, I am on a quest to find the very best.
So which Pittsburgh coffee shops are worth your time? Our ever-expanding guide gets to the bottom of that question.
Adda Coffee & Tea House
Adda Coffee & Tea House in Shadyside is a relatively new addition to the Pittsburgh coffee scene, but it's one that knows its stuff. Serving coffee roasted by Verve (Santa Cruz, CA) and boasting a glorious Japanese-style cold brew dripper right on the bar, this place is legit.
The cold brew was some of the smoothest we've tasted in Pittsburgh, and the single origin espresso (Ethiopian on our visit) was bright but balanced. Adda also serves Rishi teas and even has food.
The rotating food menu features both sweet and savory dishes and highlights a different region around the world (on our visit the focus was on Maine).
Adda Coffee & Tea House has several locations around the city including one at 200 South Highland Avenue in Shadyside, a second at 926 Western Avenue in the North Side, and a third with larger store at 4905 Penn Avenue in Garfield, and a forth at 225 Fifth Ave downtown.
Commonplace Coffee was high on my must-try list as they roast their own beans and their coffee offerings include pourover options as well as single origin espresso.
Our first visit to Commonplace Coffee was at their Squirrel Hill location which was incredibly busy with students studying for finals. We tried a Colombian pourover and the barista seemed quite hurried in her pourover technique.
I understand that they were busy, and I probably shouldn't have been that jerk that ordered a pourover when there was a long line. At any rate, the pourover was a bit too tea-like for my tastes and didn't have as much body as I would have expected.
We had the chance to try Commonplace Coffee again a few weeks later when we were wandering around the Mexican War Streets yard sale and stumbled upon their location at 1501 Buena Vista Street.
The Tanzanian pourover was incredible and prepared with great technique, but even more impressive was the cold brew. I think their cold brew was the first I'd ever had that was drinkable on its own, and downright delicious, without the addition of cream and sugar. The balance of acidity and body was great and it was very refreshing on a hot day.
Commonplace Coffee has several locations in Pittsburgh. The Squirrel Hill branch featured in this article is at 5827 Forbes Avenue. We frequent the location in the Mexican War Streets at 1501 Buena Vista as well.
KLVN Coffee Lab
When we first walked into KLVN Coffee Lab, I was wowed at the super-trendy design elements but I have to admit I was a bit unsure of what the coffee was going to be like. Was this just a pretty facade for some average caffeination?
I'm happy to report that this place is the real deal – they roast their own beans (the roaster is right there in the shop) and offer a house blend coffee for espresso-based drinks as well as a rotating single origin bean for pourovers or shots of espresso.
The menu spans the usual hot and cold-brewed coffees plus espresso-based milk drinks, but they've also got a few interesting options like a cold brew old fashioned (non-alcoholic) with cold brew, sage bitters, clove syrup, and orange peel. We had to try this one out, and it was absolutely delicious with subtle spice notes that still allowed the coffee flavor to shine. I opted for a single origin espresso which was a Mexican bean on our visit.
The barista was helpful in comparing the flavors of their blend vs the Mexican bean, and the shot actually tasted like what he described. It was intensely chocolatey and had hints of bitter orange which was a really unique and amazing flavor profile for a shot of espresso.
KLVN Coffee Lab is located at 6600 Hamilton Avenue.
Tonic Coffee checks a lot of boxes for what you'd think of when imagining a Lawrenceville coffee shop. It is in a historic art deco building, the inside can really only be described as trendy and modern, and the fairly small menu is split between traditional coffees as well as unique mocktails!
On our first visit, we ended up splitting a cortado as well as their namesake Tonic Coffee. The cortado was prepared perfectly with excellent steamed milk and produced a lovely balance of flavors with a sweetness purely from the coffee.
The Tonic Coffee was a shot of espresso in an elderflower tonic with simple syrup, “black essence”, and bitters. The tonic gave it a nice acidic punch with some undertones of the elderflower that was more like lingering hits of floral as opposed to an overpowering flavor. Did we need it to be pitch black? Not really, but it did make this one memorable and makes us want to check out more of the other (admittedly coffee-less) mocktails in the future!
Tonic Coffee is located at 3410 Penn Avenue.
Up until late 2020, Redhawk Coffee maintained two stores in Pittsburgh- one downtown at the shop PG&H and one in Oakland. Since then, the downtown location has closed but they have expanded to their own dedicated space right in the heart of Sharpsburg with roasting space and at Trace Brewing in Bloomfield.
During his first visit, Jeremy opted to get a pourover with a Kalita Wave (a variant of the more popular Hario V60), and ended up having a nice chat with the owner about coffee flavors, his palate (making for a perfect coffee selection), roasting palates, and Pittsburgh at large- making it the kind of coffee visit we would like every time we hit up a shop.
This continued at his second visit to the Sharpsburg location as well where he picked up a wonderfully balanced cortado as well as a bag of the house-roasted beans for us to enjoy at home later. Go for the coffee, but don't forget a bag of beans for later!
Redhawk Coffee has several locations including one at 1019 N Canal Street in Sharpsburg, one at 120 Meyran Avenue in Oakland, and one at Trace Brewing at 4312 Main Street in Bloomfield.
Fort Pitt Coffee
Fort Pitt Coffee is a small coffee shop in downtown Pittsburgh that features historic photos and a cozy space. While this one has a somewhat limited menu compared to what we are used to seeing, it does have something fairly unique- Cuban espressos. This one is made with cane sugar to give it a bit of a sugary kick. But just be careful here as a single cubano is four shots, while a double is eight!
You can also make this one a Cortadito (cortado equivalent) which adds a bit of milk to the single- sweet options that are guaranteed to have you flying all day!
Fort Pitt Coffee is located at 1 Market Street in downtown Pittsburgh.
Gasoline Street Coffee
Gasoline St. Coffee is located in downtown Pittsburgh and has a cool industrial/retro vibe. Not only that, it serves up some delicious coffee, filling a much-needed niche for specialty coffee in downtown. The menu items have fun gasoline-themed names like Turbo Diesel (coffee with a shot of espresso), and they user beans from local roaster Commonplace Coffee so you know it's going to be good.
We had a great time relaxing here on a warm weekday when the garage doors were open and enjoyed a well-crafted cortado.
Gasoline Street Coffee is located at 643 First Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh.
Kaibur Coffee in Polish Hill is located in the former Lili Cafe spot (an employee purchased the shop and opened under the new name), so if the whole thing seems a little familiar, that's probably why. Serving up vegan/vegetarian-leaning food, the drinks are top notch with smooth espresso from Elixr Coffee (Philadelphia) teaming up well with milk that's perfectly steamed to retain its sweetness.
We enjoyed a lemon poppyseed donut that was dense and just sweet enough, and we also got the vegan reuben (made with seitan) which pleased even meat-loving Jeremy.
Kaibur Coffee is located at 3138 Dobson Street in Polish Hill.
Cafetano Coffee Roasters in the Strip District is our kind of full-service coffee shop. This one exclusively focuses on Honduran coffees and serves up their delightful creations in a warm and welcoming space that invites you to stay a while (a rarity for the Strip District).
Apart from some lovely flavors in their espresso and macchiato, this one goes even further with a full bakery, sandwich, wrap, and salad menu as well (with some Honduran flavor twists thrown in the mix for good measure)- meaning you could show up to this one for a coffee and make a day out of things with work and lunch.
For those who do not want to take a break inside the cafe, the shop goes one step further with a walk-up window for those who want to get an espresso or coffee on the go during their shopping in the Strip as well. This one really has thought of everything and then some!
Cafetano is located at 1601 Penn Avenue in the Strip District.
La Prima Espresso Co.
How do you know this place is legitimate? Flocks of grey-haired Italian gentlemen are always hanging out here, conversing in Italian and sipping their macchiati and espressi. There are no seats except for a few small tables on the sidewalk- a few high top tables can also be found inside for standing up while you down your espresso.
La Prima roasts and blends their own beans, which we can always appreciate as consumers; however, as of late we've been becoming less and less of a fan of this spot as the roasts seem to be quite dark and well beyond our preferred taste for coffee.
Still, there is something to be said about the ambiance of this one as it is truly Italian through and through.
La Prima Espresso Co. is located at 205 21st Street in the Strip District and is open seven days a week.
Colombino isn't a traditional coffee shop as this is a walk-up stall located in front of Reyna's in the Strip District!
So while you may not get a traditional cafe experience at this one, you will walk away with a delicious coffee all the same. Why? This one is all about Colombian coffee and imports their own green beans, roasts them locally, and has a number of preparation styles available in their little stall including espresso, pour over, drip, and more! And if you want something a bit different (and non-coffee), their hot cacao is a delightful treat- especially when it is cold out.
Colombino is located in front of Reyna's at 2013 Penn Avenue in the Strip District
De Fer Coffee & Tea
We were super bummed when 21st Coffee and Tea closed in the Strip District, but nearly as happy when we learned a new coffee shop was opening in the same spot.
De Fer Coffee and Tea is a specialty coffee and tea shop that also roasts its own coffee beans. In addition to the usual suspects of espresso based drinks and pourover coffees, they offer teas and a few specialty drinks like a maple cortado and matcha latte.
The food menu is still under development but currently they offer pastries from La Gourmandine and a fun toast menu. They also serve wine, beer, and cocktails, making this a spot you can hit up any time of day!
De Fer Coffee & Tea is located at 2002 Smallman Street in the Strip District as well as at 317 E Carson St Ste. 128 in the Highline Building in South Side.
If you want to visit a coffee shop that is as much Pittsburgh-themed as it is cafe, Yinz Coffee is for you. This one comes from the former founder of Crazy Mocha and features an array of menu items both familiar and new to patrons of the shop.
But getting beyond the interesting name, Pittsburgh theme, local products, and casual coffee shop vibe, we do have to give a shoutout to their nitro cold brew here- a pretty good brew that offers some nice foamy bubbles to go with every sip!
Yinz Coffee has two locations in the city at 2 E North Ave in the North Side and 4525 Liberty Avenue in Bloomfield.
If you're looking for a relaxing coffee shop that has a wonderful ambiance, Redstart Roasters in East Liberty is the place to be. This admittedly smaller space is the kind of place we can see ourselves pulling out a computer and working for a while in relative quiet with a cup or two along the way.
From there, the coffee shop goes an extra step beyond roasting their own beans and it all has to do with their passion for birds (which you can find on the company's logo and most bags of beans). Not only does this one source beans from farmers that meet their own standards for ecology protection, but the roaster also donates a portion of their proceeds to many amazing causes all about protecting bird populations both locally and globally!
Drinking coffee for a cause? We can get behind that.
Redstart Roasters is located at 224 N Euclid Ave in East Liberty.
Margaux opened up in East Liberty in late 2021 and fills a void in the neighborhood's coffee scene. This spacious and wonderfully bright cafe checks a number of boxes in that there is room to spread out and work, a full bar menu, and some modest food options available as well.
As such, you really will see a mix of customers here ranging from students studying for their classes, friends grabbing a drink at the bar, or those making a brunch or light meal out of the visit as well.
We visited this one primarily for brunch, but added on an espresso and cortado to our order and thought they were wonderfully well crafted all the same. So while we will probably be visiting this one more for their cocktail and wine menu over the coffee shop (partly based on the fact that we only rarely visit East Liberty at the time of day we drink coffee), we do have to admit, this one checks the box nicely for its cafe component!
Margaux is located at 5947 Penn Avenue in East Liberty.
Press House Coffee
For many years, Press House Coffee operated out of a small shop on Western Avenue (then known as Green Dragon Coffee) as a private, roast-on-demand shop that delivered beans all over the city. But in 2021, they made a change to convert to a full coffee shop and roastery operating in the North Side and Sewickley! (Note: Presently, only the Sewickley location is open with the former North Side space still under construction).
It only took a few moments after walking in the door to realize this was truly our kind of coffee shop. Think elegant vibes, a plethora of bean types and roasts, a modest food menu featuring some incredible toast options, and more. The macchiato and drip coffees we sampled here were roasted on the darker end and let rich and toasty notes come through in every sip and the overall presentation was second to none.
But for upcoming visits, we're going to have to switch over to one of their French Press options as they had roughly six different beans available to try in this particular style. When the machine is literally in their logo, well, you'll do well to take that under advisement to order it!
Press House Coffee is located at 505 Broad Street in Sewickley.
Our first impression of Orbis Caffe, location in Mt. Lebanon, was that it looks like a European cafe with hardwood floors and ornate ceiling tiles. We went on a Sunday and everyone was enjoying their Sunday brunch from this cafe's impressive rotating menu. Alas, we ate just before arriving, so we stuck with the coffee.
We ordered what is becoming our favorite espresso drink, a cortado, and a pourover coffee. The cortado was balanced and smooth with a really nice microfoam. There were several options for the pourover coffee; we went with the Papua New Guinea from Washington, PA-based roaster 19 Coffee.
We don't normally drink Indonesian coffees as we find their funkiness a bit too much sometimes, but this one was very drinkable. It was earthy like we expected but this was balanced with some fruitiness and floral notes.
One of the things we like most about Orbis Caffe is that they offer coffees from three different roasters: 19 Coffee (Washington, PA), Ceremony Roasters (Annapolis), and Intelligentsia (Chicago). It's great to see the mix of local roasters and nationally known roasters to provide a little bit of something for everyone.
Orbis Caffe is located at 675 Washington Road in Mount Lebanon and is open seven days a week.
Biddle's Escape is a quirky and fun coffee shop nestled in the Regent Square neighborhood, making it a great stop before or after a hike in Frick Park.
The outdoor seating area is dog-friendly, and the inside has an eclectic atmosphere with an abundance of African masks adorning the walls. A huge selection of looseleaf teas and herbs lines the back wall, and a few pinball machines are even lurking in the corner.
Although you'll probably remember the ambiance here more than the coffee, they offer a good cold brew, all your standard espresso-based drinks, drip and French press coffee, and a huge selection of teas.
Biddle's Escape is located at 401 Biddle Avenue in Regent Square.
Espresso a Mano
Espresso a Mano in Lawrenceville is always bustling, no matter the time of day, with hipsters staring like zombies at their Mac screens for hours upon hours.
On our first visit we tried an espresso and a cortado. The espresso on its own was pretty acidic and thin-bodied. The cortado was excellent with an amazingly smooth, perfectly creamy microfoam (and pretty latte art).
On my second visit I was wanting a little less caffeine since it was my second cup of the day. I asked the barista if he could just do one shot instead of their standard two in my small latte. He replied that no, they only pull double ristretto shots.
I appreciate coffee shops wanting to control the quality of their products, but I think this has to be balanced with customers' needs and wants as not everyone can handle that much caffeine.
Getting past this, Espresso a Mano makes an impressive latte worth checking out.
Espresso a Mano is located at 3623 Butler Street in Lawrenceville.
Delanie's Coffee is an impressive space with high ceilings, shiny hardwood floors, exposed brick walls, a loft area, and local artists' works adorning the walls. In addition to the usual offerings of espresso drinks, drip coffee, pourovers, and French press, Delanie's has their own juicer churning out fresh fruit and vegetable juices. There's also a fairly extensive cafe menu including all kinds of baked goods, sandwiches, and smoothies.
During our recent visit we tried a cortado and a macchiato. The barista asked if I really wanted a latte instead of a macchiato. As a former barista myself, I appreciate that most people don't really know what a macchiato is, but that question alone lets you know what kind of customers frequent this place (i.e. the kind that frequent Starbucks and don't really know what a macchiato is).
The drinks were fine except I ordered a decaf and it was not decaf, and we got the feeling our order was misheard not once, but twice during our visit. Overall, I definitely don't see this place as a destination for great coffee, but maybe more of a cafe for hanging out or meeting up with people. We're always up for a return visit to confirm!
Delanie's Coffee is located at 1737 East Carson Street in South Side.
Everyday Cafe is located in Homewood in a new building that utilizes the facade of the original post office. The cafe offers drip coffee, espresso based drinks, and teas as well as a small food menu. Food options include basic breakfast sandwiches and deli sandwiches in addition to hot items like baked flatbreads and panini. On our visit we stuck to simple drinks like an espresso and a cortado, both of which were balanced and made for a perfect afternoon pick-me-up.
The cafe displays works by Teenie Harris, the famous photographer who made his home in the neighborhood and is buried in the Homewood Cemetery. Another reason to love this cafe is that they return their profits back into the community, specifically towards programs that support youth and entrepreneurs.
Everyday Cafe is located at 532 N Homewood Avenue in Homewood
Set amidst the lush, mansion-filled neighborhood of Highland Park, Tazza d'Oro bustles on the weekends but still manages to maintain a peaceful vibe. The atmosphere is distinctly different from that at Espresso a Mano- think families and couples with dogs rather than 30 college students behind Macs.
Although Tazza d'Oro doesn't roast their own beans, they exclusively use Counter Culture beans from Durham, North Carolina. They offer several single origin coffees as pourovers as well as single origin espresso and espresso blends.
Another cool fact about this shop is that all their baristas receive training and certification from Counter Culture. Basically, you can be sure that the people behind the counter know their stuff!
When we visited we tried a single origin espresso and a cortado, both of which were well-executed and delicious. Single origin espresso is an interesting beast and something that we're definitely excited to drink more whenever we see it.
Tazza d'Oro is located at 1125 North Highland Avenue in Highland Park.
This super trendy coffee shop may seem a bit pretentious if you're not an extreme coffee nerd like me.
But I'm here to convince you that it's really not and is actually just a spot for delicious coffee – they've got pourovers made with beans from local roasters Commonplace Coffee and Passenger Coffee Roasters, and espresso drinks made using the ultra modern Modbar system. The Modbar machines are set up underneath the counter, giving the espresso bar a super slick and minimalist look.
On our recent visit we tried an espresso and a malagocchino. The espresso was a bit more acidic than I like but was definitely high quality and made with care. The malagocchino was a macchiato with shaved chocolate and sea salt on top, which made for a stunning presentation. Arriviste is not just for coffee drinkers – they've also got high quality teas, baked goods, and other little goodies for sale like Askinosie chocolate bars.
4121 Main is an interesting hybrid business that does floral arrangements for weddings and events, and is also part coffee shop. The space is quite artsy and full of floral arrangements- a beautiful place to grab a cup of coffee.
The espresso machine is even a work of art, designed by Kees van der Westen and built in Holland. Their coffee comes from Heart Coffee Roasters in Portland and the menu is full of interesting seasonal lattes using housemade syrups and accompaniments, as well as traditional espresso drinks and pourovers.
We opted for a seasonal maple lavender latte and a cortado, both of which were smooth and balanced. The maple lavender latte was surprisingly delicious- the delicate lavender flavor didn't get lost in the espresso but complemented it perfectly.
4121 Main is located at 4121 Main Street in Bloomfield / Lawrenceville.
Ka-Fair is a Thai coffee shop and bakery that opened up in Morningside in 2019. Apart from your traditional spread of coffee favorites, this one offers an array of tea and non-coffee options in a rather eclectic space which makes it as much of a spot to hang out in as much as it is to go grab a cup of coffee (of which I grabbed the special drip coffee feature).
When visiting this one, be sure to sample one of their housemade cakes or sandwiches in order to wind out your visit- the owner was a practicing cake decorator in Thailand and offers classes here!
Ka-Fair Coffee and Cakery is located at 1806 Chislett Street in Morningside.
Steel Valley Roasters
Good news – there is now a specialty coffee shop in Homestead. Steel Valley Roasters roasts their own beans for pourovers and drip options, and they source their beans for espresso from local roaster Klvn.
The coffee offerings include pourovers brewed using V60 or Chemex, as well as drip coffee, French press, cold brew, nitro, and espresso based drinks. We tried a macchiato as well as a V60 pourover.
The macchiato was fine but not what we expected – this is not a traditional macchiato with a touch of foamed milk, but rather a Starbucks-style macchiato with a lot of steamed milk and syrups. We enjoyed the V60 pourover which had a light body and clean finish.
One thing we appreciated about this spot is that the staff was able to help us with picking the single origin coffee for our pourover, explaining the differences in the coffees.
Steel Valley Roasters is located at 207 E 8th Ave in Homstead.
Convive Coffee Roastery
You may not expect to find good coffee in a strip mall, which is perhaps why it's taken us so long to make it in to Convive. But we're glad we finally visited – the coffee here is definitely a highlight on this list.
Convive roasts their own beans and offers the usual espresso based drinks as well as pourovers. Something unique here is that the pourover machine is an automatic which is something we haven't seen elsewhere in Pittsburgh yet.
We tried a cortado which had intricate latte art but was just as delicious as it was beautiful. The balance of espresso acidity and creaminess from the milk was great, and the steamed milk had some of the smoothest microfoam we've had in a while. We also tried the Ethiopian Hamela estate pourover which was light and smooth.
We also bought some beans to go, the Bali Kintamani Highlands, and we have absolutely loved the full body and fruitiness of this natural processed coffee.
Convive Coffee Roastery is located at 751 Providence Blvd off of McKnight Road just north of Pittsburgh, 4032 Butler Street in Lawrenceville, and 960 Adams Shoppes in Mars.
Carnegie Coffee Company
Carnegie Coffee Company has a fantastic ambience as it's located in the old post office building in Carnegie.
High ceilings, hardwood floors, lots of natural light, and a bunch of different cozy seating areas make this a great place for hanging out or working. Carnegie Coffee Company serves food like pastries, sandwiches, panini, salads, and soups from Mediterra Bakehouse and Sausalido Bistro.
The coffee they serve is from Illy, an Italian coffee roaster, which is predictable and decent coffee. The drink menu includes drip coffee and standard hot and iced espresso based drinks. We noticed the coffee wasn't ground to order but had been sitting in the grinder (this may not bother anyone else but me), but our double espresso was smooth and balanced.
Carnegie Coffee Company is located at 132 E Main Street in Carnegie, PA just south of Pittsburgh.
Caffe D'Amore is a cozy little neighborhood coffee shop in Lawrenceville. We popped in after dinner nearby- normally they're not open that late in the evenings, but there was a special poetry reading going on.
The menu consists of your standard espresso bar drinks, a selection of teas, cold brew, and pour overs. While our cortado and latte were nice, we were also intrigued by the selection of items for sale in the cafe.
There's handmade mug coozies from local artists, mason jars of housemade shrubs, and a selection of goodies from local bakery Om Nom Bake Studio. Caffe D'Amore has partnerships with lots of local farms, restaurants, and dairy farms, which adds to the community vibe.
Caffe d'Amore is located at 5308 Butler Street in Lawrenceville.
Located on Penn Avenue on the border between Lawrenceville and Bloomfield, this artsy coffee shop serves coffees from Annapolis-based Ceremony Coffee Roasters. On a recent Sunday morning visit, the place was packed with groups of tattoo-laden twenty-somethings. I definitely felt out of place without tattoos covering the entire surface area of my body.
We tried a cortado which had average latte art but a great smooth, creamy texture and balanced flavor. We also tried a straight up espresso, which was very bright in flavor with tart acidity and medium body. If we make it back we'll be sure to check out their much beloved cold brew options and/or a Chemex brew.
Constellation Coffee is located at 4059 Penn Avenue in Lawrenceville/Bloomfield.
Anchor and Anvil
Anchor and Anvil has two coffee shops in the region, one located in Ben Avon and a second in Coraopolis. They serve up coffee from a wonderful array of roasters including De Fer, Rothrock, ReAnimator, Ritual, Topeca, Mostra, and City League to name a few.
My first visit to the Coraopolis location was a quick one, and I opted to sample a specialty drink of theirs known as the Smokestack Mocha- a latte with two shots of espresso, dark chocolate, and topped with mole bitters and a chipotle and paprika salt powder. Enough to warm you up and wake you up all at the same time without being overly smoky due to the chipotle.
We are planning a return trip to this one to try some of their more traditional brews, and if what we have seen so far is any indication we will be quite pleased with the results!
Ineffable Ca Phe
Ineffable Ca Phe in Lawrenceville is a Vietnamese coffee shop that serves up coffee roasted locally at Commonplace Coffee. The shop has a traditional spread of coffee styles as well as Vietnamese coffee (ca phe sua), bubble tea, and a limited banh mi menu that is among the very best in the city.
During our first visit we opted to try the ca phe sua, which is served in a filter that drips coffee on top of condensed milk right in front of you. The entire brewing process can take up to ten minutes, and those who are able to wait are rewarded with a deliciously sweet and smooth creation that you would be hard pressed to find anywhere else- a must try!
Ineffable Ca Phe is located at 3920 Penn Avenue in Lawrenceville.
Black Forge Coffee
Although the coffee at Black Forge Coffee House is quite good, there are lots of other draws to this gritty spot. With the slogan “darkness brewing eternal,” this dark cafe comes with on-site tarot readings and concerts multiple nights of the week, you can probably determine whether or not this is your kind of place fairly quickly.
They roast their own coffee and have a really interesting menu with unique syrups and flavors (like a hickory smoke latte). On our visit, we tried a macchiatto which was smooth and balanced, and an iced latte with honey and vanilla which was just sweet enough making it well worth a visit even if the cafe is not your style.
Black Forge Coffee is located at 701 Chartiers Avenue in McKees Rocks and 1206 Arlington Ave in Allentown. The Allentown location is said to have new owners as of summer 2022.
Coffee Tree Roasters
With half a dozen locations around the city, Coffee Tree Roasters is one of the more established and prominent coffee shops in Pittsburgh.
Each shop has a little bit of a different atmosphere and its own features. We recently checked out the Mt. Lebanon location, which had a huge selection of coffee gear and accessories for sale (great for coffee geeks like me) but is pretty small on the inside.
Their menu is typical with hot and iced espresso drinks, cold brew coffee, and drip coffee. Coffee Tree Roasters does roast all their own beans, and my favorite thing about them is that you can buy beans by weight. They typically have dozens of varieties for sale, and they have the roast date on the bins so you can make sure the coffee you're getting is fresh.
We tried a double espresso which had a low acidity and good body, and an iced caramel latte which was sweet but not overly so. We also picked up some Yirgacheffe beans for a good price.
Coffee Tree Roasters has several locations around the city. We visited their Mount Lebanon location for this review at 299 Beverly Road.
California Coffee Bar
California Coffee Bar in Brighton Heights is a new addition to the coffee scene in Pittsburgh as of early 2017. The space feels open with high ceilings, and the menu includes a bit more than your standard coffee shop menu.
Besides espresso drinks, pourovers, and French press, they also have a selection of teas, nitro coffee and nitro tea, juice shots, raw juices, and protein shakes. We tried a nitro coffee which was pretty good and the Vitality juice with carrots, beets, ginger, apple, and lemon, which was really pulpy but had a good flavor.
The food menu here is pretty impressive, including a full oatmeal and yogurt bowl bar at breakfast and soups, salads, and sandwiches at lunch.
California Coffee Bar is located at 3619 California Ave in Brighton Heights.
Big Dog Coffee
Big Dog Coffee is located on a quiet side street in South Side, a few blocks from the hustle and bustle of Carson St. It's a peaceful, cozy place perfect for working or relaxing. As you might guess from the name, the shop is dog friendly. They serve Intelligentsia coffees and have lots of snacks like gelato, pastries, and even an oatmeal bar.
I ordered a French pressed Ethiopian coffee while I was there. It was alright, but a bit mild and thin bodied compared to how I normally like French pressed coffees. I'd love to go back on a Saturday with our dog, try a latte, and hang out for a while.
Big Dog Coffee is located at 2717 Sarah Street in the South Side.
Allegheny Coffee & Tea Exchange
Allegheny Coffee & Tea Exchange in the Strip District is unique in that they roast their own coffees- a large roaster sits inside the shop which is pretty cool to check out.
Dozens of barrels are lined up inside the store containing nearly any kind of single-origin or flavored coffee you could want. They also have a large selection of teas and tea and coffee accessories.
On my recent visit I tried some samples of their nitro coffee which is a cold coffee served on draft like beer (but without alcohol). If you like flavored coffees, they have lots of nitro options for you.
I stuck with a regular latte which was average with a few flaws. The espresso wasn't ground right when I ordered my drink (ground espresso needs to be used in a matter of seconds), and the milk was foamy and more like a cappuccino. If I went back it would be to buy some whole bean coffee rather than to drink coffee there as the selection was quite impressive.
Allegheny Coffee & Tea Exchange is located at 2005 Penn Avenue in the Strip District.
Every time we visit Mechanic Coffee in Verona, we are reminded that great coffee doesn't have to be flashy, have a theme, or even a unique creation that you can only find at the shop. All you need is house-roasted beans, an espresso machine and a few brewing implements, and a passion for the classics. Mechanic Coffee offers just that.
But aside from the fact that this non-flashy (and quite frankly, fairly small) coffee shop makes great brews and roasts their own beans, what we really like about this one is that their sister company, The Espresso Analysts, offers repair services for coffee equipment in the greater Pittsburgh area- giving their coffee shop enterprise its name!
So whether you want a delicious espresso or cortado, buy beans, or want to get your own espresso machine repaired via your sister company, a visit to this one when near Verona is a must.
Mechanic Coffee is located at 707 E Railroad Avenue in Verona, PA.
Generoasta Coffee is a moderately-sized cafe located in Warrendale just off of I-79. The coffee shop is known for offering a mix of coffee and teas, as well as a rather robust food menu as well that includes breakfast foods, salads, and sandwiches to name a few.
While the coffee shop offers roasted beans, there was limited information available on its blends, origins, tasting notes, etc. like you would expect for presumably house-roasted products. That being said, the house espresso was fairly mild and was not overly strong in acidity, and was a good choice for a quick visit.
This spot also boasts a modest seating area and a rather comfortable ambiance, so it would also make for a great spot for those who wish to order a coffee and stay for a while.
Generoasta Coffee is located at 901 Warrendale Village in Warrendale, PA.
The Black Canary
The Black Canary is a small coffee shop in the heart of Springdale that serves up an array of traditional coffee beverages (using Mechanic Coffee beans) as unique flavored lattes, ice cream from Kerber's Dairy in Irwin, and more.
While small, the shop gives up an intimate vibe and our espresso and cortado were prepared with a beautiful crema on the espresso and perfectly steamed milk in the cortado. The coffee itself was slightly sweet and not overly bitter from a dark roast which we appreciate.
The scoops of ice cream happened to make for a wonderful pairing that we will return to enjoy in tandem with the coffee whenever we are in the area!
The Black Canary is located at 636 Pittsburgh St Unit A in Springdale, PA.
Beaver Falls Coffee and Tea
Beaver Falls Coffee and Tea is a small coffee shop located in a converted house just across the street from Geneva College in Beaver Falls, PA.
In other circumstances, this coffee shop could fall into a fairly predictable pattern of neighborhood joints. But Beaver Falls Coffee and Tea goes the extra length to stand out by purchasing beans direct from farmers, roasting in-house, and generally doing all they can to spread the word about all things great coffee to students, residents, and visitors.
Jeremy visited this one on his own and was only able to sample one coffee during his first visit- a banana bread latte served with banana and hazelnut liquor. He described it as being fairly balanced overall without an over-sweetness that some coffee shops are guilty of when it comes to adding syrups.
But as he was visiting this one on his own we will both have to return to try more of their products in the future to truly get a handle on how they make coffee!
This one may not be making waves in the local coffee scene just yet (although, they should be); but they are filling a need for solid coffee in Beaver Falls that simply cannot be ignored.
Beaver Falls Coffee and Tea is located at 3219 4th Avenue in Beaver Falls, PA.
There are some coffee shops where the coffee is better than the ambiance. There are some shops where the ambiance is better than the coffee. At Cafe Conmigo in Wexford, you get both!
This coffee and tea shop has put attention to detail front in center in their space with a pretty relaxing vibe complete with hanging and swivel wooden chairs, plants abound, a large world map in a second seating area, a wealth of Pittsburgh products for sale, and so much more. If there were any coffee shops where we could seriously consider taking our computers and working for a bit, this one would be in the running.
But then there is the coffee. Cafe Conmigo does not roast its own beans, and instead makes brews from local roaster Commonplace Coffee (also featured in this guide). As starting with great roasted beans goes a long way for a great final product, it shouldn't be a surprise that we really enjoyed the flavor profiles that were in our espresso and cortado- namely a wonderful acidity in the espresso and nice roasted notes in the cortado without seeming burnt (a shoutout to Commonplace's skills in roasting there).
Our only regret with Cafe Conmigo is that to enjoy this one you need to make the trip north to Wexford. The drive is the only real downside!
Cafe Conmigo is located at 10 N Meadow Drive Suite 4 in Wexford, PA.
The White Rabbit Cafe
The White Rabbit Cafe in downtown Greensburg (about an hour east of Pittsburgh) is our kind of coffee shop- not because of what they serve, but because of the design.
This one really goes down the rabbit hole and is all-in on white rabbit references with a very Alice in Wonderland-esque vibe. Throw in the fact that this one is within steps of other businesses in downtown Greensburg (and is a popular working spot for local college kids), you get a rather relaxed vibe with one of the most unique cafe themes we've been to so far.
The White Rabbit Cafe is located at 113 N Main Street in Greensburg.
Wunderbar Coffee & Crepes
Wunderbar Coffee & Crepes is located in a renovated opera house from the 1800's in the historic German town of Harmony- about 30 minutes north of downtown Pittsburgh.
This coffee shop goes above and beyond your conventional cafes and roasts their own beans, uses locally sourced grains for their crepes, and has an ambiance that is happy and uplifting all at the same time. It is the kind of place where the owners welcome every visitor, and knows most of the regular patrons by name.
While we normally talk about coffee in this post, for Wunderbar we need to deviate and talk about the crepes. During our visit we were able to sample the Berries & Cream crepe which came loaded up with an impressive amount of cream cheese and berries and ended up being a very filling meal in its own right- a must try along with your coffee!
Wunderbar Coffee and Crepes is located at 253 Mercer Street in Harmony, PA.
More Coming Soon!
We're continually visiting new coffee shops and will be updating this guide as we discover new ones worth your time in the city!
Do you have a favorite coffee shop in Pittsburgh that is not featured in this guide? Comment below to let us know about it!
Find more things to do in Pittsburgh in our guide to the city's best spots!