La Colombe Torrefaction
1414 South Penn Sq, Rittenhouse

Pretty mugs at La Colombe Torrefaction

Here’s a review of La Colombe in 10 words: Solid coffee. No menu. Nice baristas. Cool view. Crappy seats. Want to know more? Read on.

  • Solid coffee: I judge a java joint – like the alliteration?- by its “regular” hot coffee. No fluffy foam art, frappacraps, or cold brews, please. Which is not to say I will never order the aforementioned, but if you’re going to make me a repeat customer, get the basics right. That being said, La Colombe delivers a full bodied, well-balanced brew for $1.75, one-size only. If you take your coffee at the cafe, it comes in a beautiful mug and saucer that I was particularly enamored with- anyone know where I can buy these? White and raw sugar, if you so choose, is in a huge open bowl at the bar, which didn’t strike me as particularly hygienic, but does give the bar a cozy, communal feel.

Enjoying a cup of coffee at La Colombe Torrefaction

  • No menu: Come knowing what you want. Basically they have the standard coffee, espresso, latte, cappuccino, and probably a few other choices that I’ve since forgotten. There  are also a selection of pastries at the register. Self-explanatory: point and say “Gimme.” Forgot your options? No worries. Just say, “I’ve never been here. What do you serve?” To which my next point becomes relevant…
  • Nice baristas: The guy at the register must have noticed my wide-eyed stare as I desperately scanned the walls for some semblance of a menu or pricing. Even after I ordered my coffee, he graciously gave me a run down of their offerings. He also had a cool handlebar mustache.

Philadelphia City HallThe cafe is located right next to Philadelphia’s City Hall- an impressive view.

  • Cool view: Even if I walked by City Hall everyday, I can’t imagine I would tire of the view from La Colombe. It’s got a wonderfully bright, airy feeling and enough traffic to make for excellent people watching. Now if only…
  • Crappy seats: La Colombe, why do your seats suck!? Seat : table height ratio is incredibly awkward and will require lots of uncomfortable leaning down. The tables, while cool in concept and functional as cup holders, don’t seem like they would be good for anything requiring productivity. But maybe it’s on purpose, and the goal of La Colombe is to get you to take a step out of your busy day and sit quietly, enjoying the comings and goings of others. In which case, mission accomplished.

More posts in our 48 Hours in Philly series:

Philly Sips: La Colombe Torrefaction
Philly Sups: Pat’s vs. Geno’s
Philly Stay: Radisson Plaza- Warwick Hotel Philadelphia (Hotel Review)
Philly Sips: Ray’s Cafe and Teahouse
Philly Sips: The Franklin Mortgage Investment Co. 
Philly Sups: Dim Sum Garden

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