Judging Java: Yinz Coffee

Written By Jake Dabkowski, Coffee Columnist

Oxford Dictionary defines yinz as “(in western Pennsylvania) you (used to refer to more than one person).” It gives the example of “how yinz guys doing?”

I identify as a Pittsburgher. I was born in the city, spent the first few years of my life here before moving to the South Hills, but now I live here full time Downtown. I also do not use the phrase yinz. 

For myself, and thousands of other Pittsburghers, we are the Post-Yinz Generation. I identify with the culture of Pittsburgh. I love the art scene. I love the local music scene. I love everything about the city because it is my home. I also do not use the phrase yinz. When I meet people from other cities they often expect me to use the phrase yinz or will use it to me, sometimes insultingly. Despite the phrase falling out of style with a younger generation, it still holds relevance, and now that relevance has extended to coffee.

Seemingly overnight Yinz Coffee has taken over the city. They already have eight locations and online boast that there are “many more to come.” The company advertises themselves as being a Pittsburgh local chain, and that it is the Pittsburgh coffee equivalant of Kidz Bop (by Pittsburghers, for Pittsburghers.)

The store is overtly Pittsburgh, and that charm, while cute, definitely doesn’t match the charm of a small, mom and pop cafe. I would say compare Yinz Coffee to Starbucks – if you’re looking for something safe and with a group of people, pop in there.

The coffee I had from the Yinz Coffee in Station Square was fantastic. I had a chilly morning stroll across the Smithfield Street bridge with a warm cup of coffee while bumping some Injury Reserve in my headphones – all in all it was a fantastic morning. 

The people working in the shop were very kind, my order was given to me very quickly, and it was relatively affordable. The only issue is that there is not a Yinz Coffee in a convenient enough location for me to frequent it. If there were one closer, I would be more likely to go there more often.

It seems as though Yinz Coffee is replacing the Crazy Mocha chain, a Pittsburgh based coffee chain that went out of business during the pandemic. While Crazy Mocha die hards may be disappointed by this change, I personally think that it is a change for the better – why not represent the Steel City in our coffee?

Yinz Coffee also has their own proprietary beans, which can even be ordered online. In my opinion, this would be a fantastic gift for a yinzer in a different city.

Alright, there, I used the term yinz in the article. I said that I wouldn’t, and yet here we are. I have completed the self fulfilling prophecy of saying “I don’t use the term yinz” by inevitably using the term “yinz.” I hope that yinz all are happy.