My favorite little pick me up is a well-crafted cup of coffee. I know, the caffeine is literally a stimulant, so that’s why it always makes me perky and productive, but I really appreciate the care that goes into the coffee. I like that more and more we know where beans come from, the roast date, the flavor profile, the terroir— it is a real craft. I’m a total sucker for a cappuccino with a little leaf in the foam. Third wave coffee shops also tend to pay attention to all the details – the thoughtful interior design, the cups, the snacks – everything, not just the coffee, is elevated. I’m happy to spend $5 and tip 20 percent on the experience and quality.
Since moving to Pittsburgh I have come to love all the options for craft coffee. We are really spoiled with gorgeous, thoughtful, independent cafés all over the city. I love venturing across town to try them all. This is not an exhaustive list, just some of my favorites, in no particular order.
Commonplace Coffee House – Squirrel Hill
This is my neighborhood coffee shop, I love to bop in for an after dinner espresso, tack it on a trip to the library, etc. Squirrel Hill is far from their only location, Commonplace Coffee Houses are dotted all over the city, and their roast is sold throughout southwest pa. I love that the serve a little cookie with an espresso, because that is really common in France it feels extra special to me.
Constellation – Bloomfield / Lawrenceville cusp
I love this minimalist cafe. The interior features huge windows that let light from Penn Avenue pour in. The tin ceilings are my favorite detail. It is a great place to study or read because it feels kind of homey. The menu is not exhaustive, but everything I’ve ordered has been really excellent.
Espresso a Mano – Lawrenceville
Great espresso and atmosphere. I like Espresso a Mano because isn’t trying too hard to have Instagrammable vibe (even though I’ll admin I always fall for that!). Every time I’ve been here all the tables are full, so I that they have like a counter to just stand at and shoot back an espresso.
4121 Main – Bloomfield
This place has the most gorgeous feel to it. Plants everywhere ! Artisan chocolate / goods! Dreamy music ! (Deerhunter’s Desire Lines was playing when I walked in, It instantly put a smile only face to hear an almost decade-old song that I love). I wouldn’t expect to find 4121 Main where it is, because frankly it is kind of on a dumpy street. It mixes parts of old world glamour, shabby-chic, minimalist and wabi sabi. That doesn’t make it sound cohesive, but it is.
The Bureau – East Liberty
The Bureau is an outpost of one of my favorite Pittsburgh restaurants, The Vandal. It is located within Schoolhouse, one of my favorite stores in Pittsburgh. I always seem to order cold brew at The Bureau, probably because I got it the first time I went and it was so good I keep ordering it.
Arriviste – Shadyside
Arriviste takes a very technical approach to brewing. Everything is precise, measured, made to order – and thus takes time. Expect to wait for it. The cafe has a midcentury-inspired interior, with a friendly / collaborative atmosphere. I think it is nice that people share tables.