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Three coffee businesses go brick-and-mortar


Photo by Jason Varney

Photo by Jason Varney

Four Walls and a Cup

by Emily Kovach

Backyard Beans Coffee Co.
408 W. Main St., Lansdale, Pa.
Since 2013, Backyard Beans Coffee Co. has been roasting high quality coffee in Lansdale for wholesale, always favoring responsibly sourced beans from small farms and co-ops. Owners Laura and Matt Adams began selling their beans at farmers markets and, over time, grew to the level where they were on shelves at retailers such as Whole Foods. In the spring of 2016, they made a splash with their Punch in the Face canned cold brew, in both nitro and dry-hopped varieties.

On July 15, the duo celebrated the grand opening of a retail coffee shop, right near the Lansdale train station. This shop is all about coffee, naturally, but the menu also includes beer, wine and cocktails after 2 p.m. The bar program is a collaboration with Round Guys Brewing Co. and showcases local spirits and wines, as well.

The new café also houses a production facility, and thanks to the modern open floor plan of the shop, guests are able to see the “behind the scenes” aspects of the business in action.

While Backyard Beans has grown in size and scope, it has stayed true to its roots: The bags of beans, in compostable packages, are still available at plenty of local farmers markets.

West Shore Coffee
4600 Woodland Ave.
Many coffee shops have lofty goals about serving the best coffee for an ever more educated and adventurous customer base. But for Sochi Thomas, the idea of West Shore Coffee began with a different kind of objective: “I have always hoped to one day be able to create a space that could become a center for my community,” she says. Thomas is a single mom with two young kids, who lives a block away from 46th Street and Woodland Avenue in West Philly, the future site of West Shore Coffee.

Thomas felt inspired by the hublike nature of the location, with trolleys whizzing by, and the mix of families, students and neighborhood folks traversing the intersection. She envisions a place where coffee is accessible to everyone regardless of their ability to pay (thanks to a community coffee fund); where quarterly donations are made to local nonprofits; and eventually, a business that is worker-owned.

West Shore won’t open until 2018, but Thomas is busy promoting her GoFundMe campaign to raise capital. More info is available at

Rival Bros. Coffee
2400 Lombard St. & 1528 Spruce St.
After starting up as a coffee truck, Rival Bros. Coffee staked its claim in Philadelphia’s coffee community with a sleek, hip shop at 24th and Lombard streets. Owners Jonathan Adams and Damien Pileggi recently moved farther east and deeper into the city grid with their second retail shop at 15th and Spruce.

While their original shop has a certain wry masculinity, with its matte gray espresso machine, dark wood surfaces and a hand-lettered sign that asks, “You gonna pull those pistols, or whistle dixie?” the new shop could easily be mistaken for a university club, or another place where one might expect to find many dapper people in pantsuits. Black walls are offset by a gorgeously tiled floor, blond wood accents, cream-colored columns, leather-cushioned banquettes and light fixtures that could be borrowed from Jay Gatsby’s parlor.

On the no-nonsense menu, discerning coffee drinkers will be happy to find Rival Bros.’ own roasted coffee in blends such as Whistle & Cuss, as well as single origins. Pastries, fancy toasts and weekend collaborations with South Philly favorite Stargazy round out the food menu.

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