Judging Java: Downtown Coffee Shops Ranked

Written By Jake Dabkowski, Editor-In-Chief

Well folks, this is it – the final installment in The Globe’s long-running Judging Java series. For maximum impact, I personally recommend reading this while listening to the song Komm Susser Tod from the all-time classic of cinema, The End of Evangelion. Without further ado, I present the definitive ranking of coffee shops in the Downtown area.

1. Gasoline Street Coffee

Gasoline Street Coffee is without a doubt the best coffee shop in the Downtown area. No matter how many times I go there, I am constantly blown away by the quality of their drinks. It doesn’t matter if I’m going there for a latte or plain black coffee, they are hands down the best in the Downtown area. Plus, they get bonus points for having pretzels.


      2.  Creative Coffee

I initially disliked Creative Coffee, but over the course of my four years here it has become one of my most frequently visited shops. They have wonderful espresso, great muffins and an atmosphere that exudes comfort. They get bonus points for their choice of music, whoever is setting their playlists has great taste.


      3. Nicholas Coffee

Nicholas is undoubtedly one of the most iconic coffee shops in the area, having been open for over 125 years. In terms of bean selection, no one comes close to offering what they have Downtown. They would be number one on this list, but their espresso beverages such as lattes and cappuccinos are nowhere near the quality level of their traditional roasts.


      4. De Fer

There are numerous De Fer coffee shops in the Pittsburgh area, and the one in Market Square is nowhere near their flagship location. While I love their coffee, I would personally never go there over Nicholas if I were in Market Square.


    5. Starbucks

While I humbly request that you do not cross a picket line of a striking store, their coffee is, at the very least, consistently decent. I wish that the same could be said about their company.


   6. Yinz Coffee

Yinz Coffee is alright, but personally, I am not into the whole “Yinz culture.” Recently, many brands in the area have been pushing the Yinzer agenda, and it seems incredibly forced and not actually representative of Pittsburgh – we have so much more culture than weirdly pronouncing “you all” and having a lot of bridges. Beyond that, their coffee is mid.


   7. Dunkin’ Donuts

Dunkin’ Donuts coffee is not awful, but above all else, it is incredibly inconsistent. Sometimes I will get a drink from Dunkin’ and enjoy it, and other times I will get the exact same thing and it will taste completely different. In that regard, Dunkin’ is a lot like a box of chocolates or mobile ordering at Chipotle – you never know what you’re going to get.


     Dead Last: 7/11

7/11 is not a coffee shop, and for that reason, they technically should not be included on this list. However, I hate their coffee so much that I am including them because I felt the need to slander them one last time.

7/11’s coffee is, frankly, one of the worst things I have ever tasted in my entire life. There are a million things that I could compare the taste of it to, but despite having editorial control of this newspaper there are things that even I feel are inappropriate to be printed. Take a guess what those are.


Although this is the end of the coffee column, this is not the end of my coffee journey. Please stay tuned for future coffee reviews, in whatever format they may be. I’d also like to acknowledge, although it is not Downtown, that the original La Prima in the Strip District is the best coffee in Pittsburgh, if not the world.

I’d also like to take a moment to reflect on this coffee journey – thank you to everyone who read this column, and to everyone who supported me on the coffee journey specifically. Thank you to everyone who emailed me to say that they found these entertaining, and thank you, especially to everyone who hates me because my coffee tastes are pretentious.

Personally, I do not think that my coffee tastes are that pretentious, but that is neither here nor there – I just like the coffee that I like. I’d also like to give a shout-out to the Point Park Library coffee bar – although they do not qualify as a proper coffee shop, but their coffee is very cheap and has been keeping me afloat for the back half of this semester.