Maybe the impression you got, if you read my review of Coffee Tree Roasters, is that CTR is the be-all end-all of coffee shops in Pittsburgh. Not so! There are many wonderful little cafes, and in fact one of the larger chains of these kind of (still indie feeling) cafes is Crazy Mocha. I lived next to one, and I would sometimes find myself going there (or to Jitters Café, love the name) if CTR was way too packed. One of the downsides of CTR is also why I loved it: the location right on trendy Walnut Street means that its next to lots of fun little shops and restaurants, but at the same time this means that on weekends it gets crazy busy with people who come to Shadyside to walk around and shop for clothes etc.
Crazy Mocha is a little less of a funky hipster coffee shop and a little closer to the Starbucks model. The tables are square and grey and unadorned, but that makes them perfect for getting together and cranking out work if you’re a disheveled and overworked MBA student like I was. The coffee is not the greatest, I will even go so far as to say that it was bad, but that’s fine. As I’ve said time and again: I’m not a snob. When you go to a place to work late into the night with a group of equally frazzled classmates what you want is something hot and caffeinated, not necessarily something you’re going to savor.
So they do have food, so what? It’s not very good. There used to be a cupcake place across the way that was way better but it closed and now it’s an excellent Mediterranean restaurant. Who cares? You don’t go to Crazy Mocha to relax and sit on a couch and talk about like as if you’re in an episode of Friends; no, you come here to get work done. End of story.