For getting your morning cup of joe, we can leave the actual coffee growing to more tropical or mountainous climates than Pittsburgh. However, for the final step in coffee production – coffee roasting – Pittsburghers might be surprised to realize that Southwestern PA actually has a burgeoning craft coffee scene.
While loading up on your favorite national brand, or far-throng small batch producer, might be your standard coffee routine, try seeking out these local companies who are importing, roasting, packaging, and selling coffee from our neck of the woods.
Grounds and Hounds
Get ready to have your heart strings tugged. Grounds and Hounds, a Lawrenceville-based coffee company with a national following, is dedicated to two things. 1: Roasting and selling great coffee, and 2: Using the proceeds to help dogs in need. Twenty percent of all proceeds received by Grounds & Hounds Coffee Co are donated to rescue partners across the country. The company sells several different coffee blends, including “Morning Walk Breakfast Blend,” and “Sit & Stay Blend,” a full-bodied, savory blend. The company also sells three and six month subscription services online.
Grounds and Hounds can be purchased at the Lawrenceville Farmers Market, and online.
Grounds and Hounds, Lawrenceville
Ispirare Coffee Roasters
This small-batch coffee roaster just launched in April, but they have been developing their company for several years. Ispirare hopes expose people to the nuances of great coffee, and sell a traditional blend that is a great introduction for coffee lovers who don’t know much about the craft. Their coffee is approachable, but smooth and rich, and great for restaurants or after meals. Ispirare is currently selling two blends, the “Inspire Blend,” a smooth coffee with chocolate notes, and their “Italian Blend,” which is great for espresso.
Ispirare can be purchased in A Mano Pasta Shop (Ford City), Fort Pitt Coffee (Pittsburgh), Labriola’s (Aspinwall), Dizzy Lizzies (Kittanning). For more information on who is serving this coffee, check out their website.
Ispirare Coffee Roasters (Kittanning, Pennsylvania)
klvn is a roast-to-order coffee company that is roasting in the “West Coast-style” from Pittsburgh’s Point Breeze neighborhood. The company sells blends with beans from South America, Central America, and East Africa, and even provides specific information on their website about the best way to brew their coffee – whether it be in a pour over, aeropress, or French Press style. Be sure to checkout some of their unique notes like blueberry waffles, chardonnay grape, graham cracker, juicy fruit and rainier cherry.
klvn can be ordered online, or purchased at the East Liberty Farmers Market and the Shadyside Farmers Market.
klvn (Point Breeze)
There is a chance you have seen Passenger Coffee at different coffee shops around the city, as they have established a pretty widespread market in Pittsburgh. However, you may not have known that this delicious coffee hails from Lancaster, PA. Passenger produces their coffee with the utmost care and attention, with the core values of uncompromising quality, sustainable practices, open collaboration, and continuous learning. Try blends like the “Gera” with watermelon notes, the “Ciriaco Quispe” with wafer cookie notes, or the (aptly named) Keystone blend with caramel, cocoa, browning butter and dried fruit notes.
Passenger Coffee can be purchased from their Lancaster shop and online. They also offer a coffee subscription service.
Passenger Coffee (Lancaster, Pennsylvania)
Curly Tail Coffee
Curly Tail is another coffee company with a cause. $1 from each bag is donated to a different animal rescue organization. Curly Tail started as a Etsy shop, but after a successful Kickstarter campaign, the owner was able to purchase a restore a 1969 trailer to roast and transport her coffee. The name is derived from the owner’s love of working with rescue animals, especially pigs. A tiny pig is even a member of the Curly Tail crew.
Curly Tail Coffee can be purchased on Etsy, the ACMH Gift Shop, Cade’s Tomato Pie, Klaws By Kayla and Emma Jean’s Attic. Follow Curly Tails Facebook for information on where to catch this trailer.
Curly Tail Coffee will be at the Lawrenceville Farmers Market on: 7/8, 7/15, 7/29, 8/12, 8/19, 9/9, 9/30, 10/21
Curly Tail Coffee (Lower Burrell, Pennsylvania)
La Prima Espresso
La Prima espresso has been in the Pittsburgh coffee business since 1988, and in addition to roasting and serving coffee, La Prima lends their expertise and equipment to new coffee businesses and shops. La Prima’s beans come from all over the world, including locations like Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Tanzania. Espresso fans should be sure to try their “La Prima Bar Espresso” blend.
La Prima has locations in the Strip District, Carnegie Mellon University, and Nova Place on the North Side. Their coffee can also be purchased online.
La Prima Espresso (Strip District)
Nicholas Coffee and Tea Co.
Nicholas Coffee is another long stay in the Pittsburgh coffee market – Nicholas Constantine (the original Nicholas ) came to Pittsburgh from Greece in 1919. They company has been operating for four generations from the same shop in Market Square. This coffee is sourced from all over the world, and is available for very affordable prices. Try blends like their very smooth “Indian Monsoon Malabar,” or their extra-dark “Olde Vienna.”
Coffee from can be purchased online, or from their store in Market Square Downtown.
Nicholas Coffee and Tea Co. (Downtown)
Allegheny Coffee & Tea Exchange
Another popular Pittsburgh tea and coffee supplier is Allegheny Coffee Exchange, located on Penn Avenue in the Strip. This shop offers a wide range of coffees roasted on site, as well as over 40 varieties of tea from all over the world. The shop also sells bulk-sized bags of coffee if you’re looking to try roasting your own coffee.
Customers have the opportunity to select and grind the beans themselves in the shop, or request a custom tea blend.
Allegheny Coffee & Tea Exchange can be purchased online, or from their store in the Strip District.
Allegheny Coffee & Tea Exchange (The Strip District)
Brown Dog Java
If you’re on the lookout for something unique, look no further than Brown Dog Java. This company was started by husband and wife duo Becky and Steve, who met in a coffee shop and shared a love of coffee and chocolate labs. Steve left a job in corporate coffee to found Brown Dog Java, a company with a focus on really great coffee, with an emphasis on all natural flavors. Some of Brown Dog Java’s interesting flavors include Maple Bacon, Caramel Pecan Roll, Red Velvet, 100% Natural Pumpkin Spice, Caramel Apple, and more.
Brown Dog Java can be purchased online.
Brown Dog Java (Springdale, Pennsylvania)
19 Coffee Company
19 Coffee Company is a micro-batch roaster located in Washington, PA. This company is constantly cupping new coffees, looking into new farms, and experimenting with beans from around the world. Sign for the “19 Club” online, and you can receive two pound of micro-roasted coffee every single month.
More information on 19 Coffee Company can be found online.
19 Coffee Company (Washington, Pennsylvania)
One of the most famous Pittsburgh independent coffee roasters, Commonplace Coffee can be found in coffee shops throughout the city. Commonplace Coffee House and Roastery opened in March of 2003 in Indiana, PA, and has since opened several locations in Pittsburgh, including coffee shops in Garfield, Squirrel Hill, and the Mexican War Streets, and a roastery and warehouse in Larimer. Commonplace sells several different blends with beans from around the world.
Commonplace Coffee can be purchased online, in the Commonplace shop, as well as many independent coffee shops in the city. They also offer a coffee subscription service online.
Zeke’s Coffee began at the Baltimore Farmers’ Market in November 2005. This delicious coffee became a hit, and over the next decade they opened roasting locations in both Washington DC and Pittsburgh. Zekes has a coffee shop on Penn Avenue, and a drive thru on Broad Street in East Liberty. Try blends like their full-bodied “Colombian Mesa de los Santos” and the smooth “Guatemalan Huehuetenango.” Their shop also serves muffins, scones, bars, cakes, and breakfast sandwiches.
Zekes can be purchased in their store, or at the Downtown Mellon Market, the Ligonier Farmer’s Market, the Sewickley Farmer’s Market, the Bloomfield Farmer’s Market, the Squirrel Hill Farmer’s Market, and the Neighborhood Flea.
Zeke’s Coffee (East Liberty)
This Pittsburgh matcha blending company is offering a natural alternative to coffee with their specially designed matcha blends. From their website, customers can purchase matcha supplies (whisks, bowls, ect.), as well as find information on matcha brewing practices. In addition to traditional matcha, Ultra Matcha also blends specialty “enhanced” varieties, such as “charge,” “boost,” and “recover,” that have natural stimulants and antioxidants included in the blends. These additional ingredients increase cognitive function, or help the mind and body recover.
Coffee Shops that Serve Local Coffee:
- Redhawk Coffee
- 21 Street Coffee
- Mechanic Coffee
- Arriviste Coffee
- Gasoline St. Coffee
- Black Forge Coffee
- Caffe D’Amore
Have a favorite local coffee, or shop selling local blends? Leave it in the comments below!