When it comes to coffee, Pittsburgh is…unique. A blue collar working class town that’s been inundated with nerdy, techy, savvy 20 something’s (like myself) that have lived elsewhere, came to Pittsburgh for work or school (I came for my MBA) and demanded what Pittsburgh was just not yet prepared to offer: good food, good coffee, culture, music, art, the whole deal.
When I moved to Pittsburgh after living in SF my expectations were low: I had heard all about the decline of the steel mills, the shrinking population, the smoke and other pollution.
What I can say is I’ve been very pleasantly surprised. I love Pittsburgh and I’m not ashamed to admit it. In Pittsburgh I got a spectacular education, made some great friends, met my awesome girlfriend, and yes: drank great coffee.
When I first went to visit Pittsburgh I was shocked to see green trees! People walking around (and even jogging and bicycling)! I was a little confused: I thought people in PGH didn’t do those kinds of things? I thought they were all world-weary steel-mill workers who ate lots of pierogies and drank Yuengling. I was shocked to discover that while the pierogies and Yuengling were real, the typical Yinzer I ran into was far less provincial than I expected. I was lucky enough to stop by a coffee shop called Coffee Tree Roasters in the neighborhood of Shadyside and my god it was good! Leather couches, friendly baristas, shelves of brewing equipment, free wi-fi! I sat down and thought to myself “this is where I want to live for the next two years.” As it happened I found an apartment less than a five minute walk from Coffee Tree and just loved living in that neighborhood.
I can say with some certainty that Coffee Tree was not an anomaly: there are a number of great café’s in Pittsburgh, and actually some pretty darn good coffee roasters as well (though I am not particularly qualified to speak to that, I bought all my beans from CTR which sold freshly roasted beans at very reasonable prices).
All in, I can say that the coffee scene in Pittsburgh is vibrant, well developed and growing.
Thanks for reading,