Judging Java: Mechanic Coffee Co.


Photo by Jake Dabkowski

Coffee at Mechanic Coffee Co.

Written By Jake Dabkowski, Coffee Columnist

As I mentioned in a recent edition of this column, for Christmas I was gifted a “coffee passport” for the city of Pittsburgh, which gives me a free cup of coffee at various coffee shops in the area. I have been doing the passport with my girlfriend Maggie, an incredibly wonderful and pleasant individual, and the experience has been incredibly wonderful and pleasant.

While all of the shops are in the Pittsburgh area, some are less so in the immediate Pittsburgh area and more so in the general Pittsburgh area. Mechanic Coffee Company sits a roughly twenty-minute drive away from Point Park’s campus. The shop is located in Verona (not to be confused with the one in Italy that’s in all the Shakespeare plays) which is a bit of a way away, but well worth the journey.

The shop is nuzzled in a quiet corner of Verona, near a park that used to be a train station. The shop itself is very small, and the seating is very limited, so if you’re planning on walking all the way to Verona from Downtown you may want to bring a chair with you. There is seating available outside, and luckily the day that we went was relatively nice for a February day, so all was well that ended well (or whatever the past tense version of that expression is).

I opted for a latte with lavender flavoring. In my opinion, a latte with lavender flavoring is the peak of coffee. You physically cannot get any better than a latte with lavender in it. You may be thinking “Jake, what if you got some other coffee drink that I, the reader, personally think is better?” To that, I would respond “you are incorrect, a latte with lavender flavoring is the peak of coffee, the other coffee drink that you, the reader, personally think is better, is not better, and as a coffee review (and the de facto one in the Pittsburgh area) my opinion has more value than yours.”

Maggie opted for a chai tea latte. I am a fan of chai tea lattes, but partially because she is such a fan of chai tea lattes. Because I have shared so many with her, I now have a strong affinity for them. Relationships are interesting in that regard, in that same sense there is a lot of music that I like specifically because she introduced me to them and played the music while I was around. Because of the happy memories I have with her, those songs mean something deeply to me.

That begs a question – do I actually like chai tea lattes, or do I like her? I think that the answer is both. I think that most things that we like stem from our past experiences, and that our consciousness is constantly evolving based on things that we have experienced in the past. While it is true that I probably would not like chai tea lattes without having met her, I did in fact meet her.

In that same sense, you may not have a great time at Mechanic Coffee Company. Experiences are incredibly subjective, and you may not have a person in your life to share a coffee passport journey with. Maybe you don’t need one. Personally, I did, because I would have had no way of getting to Verona otherwise.