Like the city itself, Pittsburgh’s coffee culture is experiencing a bit of a renaissance. Specialty shops serving smartly curated, carefully crafted brews are constantly popping up throughout town. The coffee shops below are a mix of the reliable old and shiny new shops, each a great place to bask in the aroma of beans roasting and coffee brewing. Here's where you should be refueling yourself around Pittsburgh:
Fancy a visit to a twee, fresh-out-of-a-magazine coffee haunt? 4121 Main is it. The tiny, bright space is lined with local art and fresh blooms. Perfectly curated design aside, 4121 Main serves legit liquid goodness. A sparkling Spirit Duette espresso machine is the tool that brings the Heart Roasters' beans to life courtesy of some careful and crafty baristas. Try their brew in an affogato made with local Millie’s ice cream.
Some people drive hours to buy Zeke’s fresh-roasted fair-trade or single-origin beans (“hi mom”). With names for its blends like Black ‘N Gold and Three Rivers Roast, this spot’s ‘Burgh-ness runs deep. The brand-new space in East Liberty offers quiches, cookies, and breakfast sammies to pair with your brews.
Caddy-corner from 4121 Main sits another darling coffee spot with expert coffee-making wizards manning the bar: Constellation. The menu is limited but the execution on this small lineup is masterful. Watch as the barista weighs the beans or executes a drip.
With Burton Morris (-esque?) prints on the exposed brick walls, there is a hint of Central Perk in this Shadyside hangout. And Coffee Tree Roasters will be there for you until midnight with caffeine, Wi-Fi, and if you are lucky, Nancy B’s famous chocolate chip cookies. The local chain is found in five other neighborhoods, but the Walnut St location is tops, especially on warm days when the garage door windows are pulled open.
Espresso a Mano is the place to see and be seen in Lawrenceville in the mornings. Good luck finding a place to sit in the heavily trafficked espresso haven; coffee hounds snag tables and cozy up to computers for the better part of the day.
Big Dog is a quiet haven in the bustling Southside neighborhood. The space is deceptively large as it stretches from room to room complete with an oasis of a patio with leafy ivy. Serving Intelligentsia coffee and locally sourced snacks like Mercurio’s gelato, it would be easy to spend hours here sipping away the time.
Black Forge Coffee House is garnering quite the buzz. One of the newest coffee houses on the scene, Black Forge is taking the upstart Allentown neighborhood by storm with a stream of live entertainment, open mic nights, and good atmosphere to enjoy the aforementioned Zeke’s coffee or tea from the Lawrenceville outpost, Gryphon’s Tea.
Tazza d’Oro is serious about coffee. The cozy nook of a coffee shop is nestled near the city’s Highland Park, a tremendous green space on a hill. The baristas know their coffee and sometimes offer cupping demos for those with coffee curiosity. This knowledge extends to each cup of joe with rotating offerings of Counter Culture coffee, often exclusive releases, each month.
La Prima is a little slice of Italy in the Strip District. Men from the old country gather to play cards and shoot the breeze at the spot’s limited table spaces. This is the place for strong Italian espresso and cappuccino while taking a break from buying fresh produce, sausage, or knock-off sports apparel -- an absolute must when visiting the neighborhood.
Vegetarians and vegans can get their jollies at Lili Café with a long list of veggie sandwiches and treats. Sunday brunch is particularly epic and worth the trip -- talking about you, tofu scramble. But the place is also ideal for a snack and a latte before you head to its upstairs neighbor, Mind Cure Records, to get your vinyl fix.
Formerly the Carnegie Post Office, the Carnegie Coffee Company wins for best ambiance. The beautifully renovated centurion building has loads of books, plentiful seating, and cheery décor. Serving Illy coffee and creative but simple plates of food, Carnegie Coffee Company is worth the drive outside the city limits.
61C is a neighborhood institution. With the 61C Port Authority bus running right outside (coincidence? Nah.), this charmer has been in operation since 1993. It isn’t filled to the brim with reclaimed wood or hipsters, but it is filled with quality coffee choices and ample space to sit indoors and out. Its sister space, the 61B, resides in Regent Square... the 61B bus will take you right to it.
Maybe the only place in town that will take table reservations to make sure you have a place to sit with your laptop, Adda probably has the brightest facade in Pittsburgh, a striking, almost-turquoise exterior beckoning you inward for its espresso & ice cream combo... or just a really good cold brew and macaron. We also like it for its always-enlightening cultural pop-ups, whether it's for food (sushi, anyone?), conversations and roundtables, or high tea services.
Want a tattoo and a macchiato? Meet your one-stop shop: Artisan Cafe. Downstairs, the cafe serves excellent pour-overs, matchas, and Americanos, all made with Madcap beans, in a gallery filled with rotating art (that you can buy!) made by local talent. Upstairs, you can get that ink.
North Side & other locations
Commonplace Coffeehouse & Roastery has several locations in the city now, including digs in Squirrel Hill and Garfield, but its newest addition in the North Side is the coziest of the bunch. Giant windows face residential Buena Vista St for prime neighborhood-gazing with a side of lavender vanilla coffee drinks made with beans roasted in Pittsburgh and nearby Indiana, PA. Stop by for one of many classes about brewing the perfect coffee at home.
Sign up here for our daily Pittsburgh email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun in the Steel City.
1. 4121 Main4121 Main St, Pittsburgh
2. Zeke's Coffee6015 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh
3. Constellation Coffee4059 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh
4. Coffee Tree Roasters5524 Walnut St, Pittsburgh
5. Big Dog Coffee2717 Sarah St, Pittsburgh
6. Espresso A Mano3623 Butler St, Pittsburgh
7. Tazza d'Oro1125 N Highland Ave, Pittsburgh
8. Black Forge Coffee House1206 Arlington Ave, Pittsburgh
9. La Prima Espresso Co.205 21st St, Pittsburgh
10. Lili Cafe3138 Dobson St, Pittsburgh
11. Carnegie Coffee Company132 E Main St, Carnegie
12. 61c Cafe1839 Murray Ave, Pittsburgh
13. Adda Coffee & Tea House200 South Highland Avenue, Pittsburgh
14. Artisan Pittsburgh5001 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh
15. The Commonplace Coffee Co.147 Julius St, Pittsburgh
Nestled in a small 1920s house in the center of Pittsburgh, 4121 Main is an actual Pinterest board come to life. Part art gallery, part florist and part coffee shop, this rustic-chic space is host to craft coffee drinks, which they've sourced from Heart Coffee Roasters (all the way from Portland) and brewed with artful machines imported from Holland. All about aesthetic, this place for the visual folk, who'll enjoy the specifically curated art selections and floral arrangements dotting the walls and shelves.
An extension of a shop by the same name in Baltimore, this Pittsburgh coffee shop has achieved near-cult status for its unrivaled roasts. Zeke's sources beans from all over the globe, and the selection of available roasts is constantly rotating, so you're guaranteed the freshest cup around when you stop here. Take your pick of brew and a baked good from one of the many glass goody trays lining the counter — you're best getting them to go because this spot's perpetually packed.
This small yet airy cafe near Bloomfield is all about espresso, drip coffees and lattes, all paired with locally made baked goods. An equal treat for the eyes as the taste buds, this artsy little spot dazzles with simplicity (clean and crisp white walls beautifully contrast floral arrangements from the nearby Gold Dust Floral shop). If you've got time to spare and there's a table available in the small window section, treat yourself to an entire chemex (and some homemade chocolates, too, because you deserve it).
This coffee shop has all the fixings of a quality local haunt: screen-print posters dotting open brick walls, a split level interior with a lounge and enough seating for everyone. With the consistency of a franchise and the quality of a craft coffee shop, Coffee Tree's been dominating Pittsburgh roasting game since it opened in the '90s. Whether you order in or to-go, a drip coffee or a latte from the espresso menu always pleases (as does a biscotti from the treat jar at the register — go on, you know you want to).
A calm oasis away from the Southside hustle bustle, Big Dog's a low key neighborhood coffee with historic roots. Operating out of a turn of the century bakeshop's former digs, this quaint and cozy coffee shop (peep that outdoor patio and garden space!) serves Intelligentsia brew and local favorites like Mercurio's. The expansive space includes plenty of room for lounging pleasure and peace of mind.
This hip and artsy cafe serves up Intelligentsia and Counter Culture coffee and a well-curated selection of pastries in an energetic, neighborhood space/ The always bustling, semi-industrial cafe is usually heavily trafficked by coffee fiends and the laptop set who flock A Mano for its hand-pulled espresso pour overs, zippy Wi-Fi, and comfortable seating.
This Roman inspired (by way of Pittsburgh) boutique coffee house in Highland Park is crafting new coffee concoctions on the regular. The cafe exclusively stocks sustainable and organically harvested brews through their partnership with Counter Culture Coffee. Available for purchase on in your latte on a monthly rotating basis, pair it with a savory croissant or fruit tart for a breakfast well spent.
One of the newest coffee houses on the scene, Black Forge offers live entertainment, open mic nights, and a warm, congenial atmosphere. The Allentown upstart offers hometown proud Zeke’s coffee and tea from local Lawrenceville outpost, Gryphon’s Tea. Baked goods from ThreeFifty (macarons, cookies) provide the perfect sweet counterpart to a savory cup of joe.
You know this Strip District's espresso bar's good from the long line of eldery men posted up outside, waiting for their daily fix of the house brew. Offering a taste of Little Italy in Pittsburgh, La Prima is a pint-sized counter service coffee shop and espresso machine retailer that boasts strong, Italian brews. A doppio cappucinno and a slice from neighboring resto Colangelo's is a solid way to start your afternoon.
An unpretentious neighborhood hole in the wall in Polish, vegetarians and vegans can get their jollies at Lili Café with its long list of veggie sandwiches and treats. Sunday brunch is particularly epic and worth the trip -- talking about you, tofu scramble. But the place is also ideal for a snack and a latte before you head to its upstairs neighbor, Mind Cure Records, to get your vinyl fix.
In addition to offering a great cup of joe (brewed to perfection using Illy beans), this comfortable, bright 'n airy coffee shop boats quaint, mismatched furniture and an overflowing bookcase. Get cozy in the loft-like locale and crack open a book from their generous library of tomes while you savor the simple yet strong house roast.
In operation since 1993, this cute spot on Squirrel Hill is a neighborhood institution. Named after the local Port Authority bus route that'll shuttle you right to its door, 61C is nice because it isn’t filled to the brim with reclaimed wood or hipsters, but it is filled with quality coffee choices and ample space to sit indoors and out. Its sister space, the 61B, resides in Regent Square... the 61B bus will take you right to it.
Named after a Bengali word referring to friendly conversation, Adda Coffee & Tea House is one of the brightest and airiest spaces you'll find in Shadyside (and the entirety of Pittburgh). Its white and turquoise walls house a cafe with a short and simple menu of drip coffee, espresso drinks and teas. The food selection changes daily, but you're always sure to find some freshly baked muffin of scone for breakfast and a few salad options (like pasta or grain) for lunch.
Artisan Pittsburgh, right between the Garfield and Bloomfield neighborhoods, is a combination of things that rarely take the same location but definitely should more often: a tattoo parlor, a craft coffee shop and a boutique. The resident tattoo artists here have a variety of of different styles and techniques, making it a surefire contender for your next (or first) ink job. If permanent ink's not your deal, you can still drop by just for a craft macchiato or chai and a browse through the small selection of clothing and accessories.
The Commonplace Coffee Co. offers up coffee roasts from a different destination every day, whether it be from Africa, South America or right from home in Pennsylvania. In a corner shop spot in Larimer, this vintage pick with 1920s interior is known for the quality of its roasts, however, you'd be crazy not to try the specialty drinks. The best of the bunch is the lavender vanilla latte, hands down. Pair it with a freshly baked pastry supplied by Five Points Artisan Bakery.