Back in October, I had the amazing opportunity to visit La Colombe’s Philadelphia roastery and their Fishtown cafe with a few of my co-workers.
Please click on individual images to see descriptions!
Upon entering the roastery, we had to put on hair nets. First, we got to see some green coffee. “Green coffee” is coffee that has yet to be roasted. It’s got a unique green hue and comes to the roaster in large burlap bags. (I asked, out of curiosity, what happens to said burlap bags, and those get recycled in various ways.)
Then we checked out the Workshop station! Workshop coffees are usually single-origin coffees and are roasted in much smaller batches than the Cornerstone coffees, which are blends. (The big exceptions to this are the -Towns, e.g. Frogtown.) The Workshop coffees are placed in beige bags and boxes for retail, whereas Cornerstone coffees are in red/blue bags and boxes.
Next up was the Cornerstone roaster, which compared to the Workshop one, was a beast. Internal temperatures in the roaster can reach up to and beyond 385°F, so it’s important that the cooling tray moves fast so the beans can cool down evenly. La Colombe does not only roast coffee for its cafes, but also the entirety of its wholesale business, so your favorite cafe in Houston just might be brewin’ up a cup of Corsica!
After we viewed the rest of the roastery and got to watch as boxes were labeled and prepped for delivery, we headed over to the Fishtown cafe. It’s the largest cafe and comes with a full food and drink menu along with selling a variety of La Colombe merch. They make their pastries in house, and I had some amazing French Toast with a dirty chai (one of the latest company offerings!). It’s a full service cafe, but the first thing that I noticed was that they have oat milk located on the bar for guests to use. I hope more cafes will have alternative milks readily available, because it can be annoying to have to bug a busy barista for the oat milk.
While chowing down, we got to chat with several La Colombe employees, including one of the founders, Todd Carmichael.
His passion for coffee really comes through and he is a super interesting guy. If you’re interested, he had his own show on the Travel Channel called “Dangerous Grounds” and you can watch it here.
Before we left, they popped open two cans of the then-newest offering from La Colombe: Hard Cold Brew Coffee. While I enjoyed it, I don’t think I could drink a full one.
It was a fascinating experience and thank you to all who helped! (Special shout-out to Ali!)