What's a Coffee Commentary?
Subject: Cafe Ole' (no website)
Location visited: Philadelphia, PA (3rd St close to Race)
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 3+ [see key]
Old City Philadelphia boasts a great deal of substance and history. One aspect of Old City that I think (or so it seems) is overlooked is the area North of Market St between Front and 5th. The locale includes many art galleries and small antique shops as well as some long-lasting businesses. There's also First Friday which provides a rare chance to catch the art scene in Philadelphia, complete with street performers and lay-the-blanket-on-the-sidewalk vendors.
This area of Philly is where I found Cafe Ole', about 3-4 years ago when when searching for silk screen emulsion. Though I've known of it for some time, I didn't really get a good glimpse until about a year or so ago. The place is fairly cozy, with some small tables and a couch or two (I think) to recline in. I really dug the "Friends Don't Let Friends Drink Starbucks" on the back wall (I have one myself).
The coffee is La Colombe, so as predicted, the coffee was nothing to write home about. The espresso was pretty good, but as the bean is half (if not more) of the taste, it also wasn't too amazing. The baristas did seem fairly skilled though, so a "fancier" drink might better complement the espresso and/or coffee.
I did not catch the brand of tea but I do remember that they had vats of lemonade that were pretty popular (not that tea and lemonade are comparable, just more of consolation observation). The chai also did not catch my eye...
In the end, I wasn't floored but I was still somewhat impressed with the operation. So do stop in, as there is much worse business nearby that needs no patronage. I would especially encourage you to stop in if you are in the area for First Friday or other business.
image credited to www.philadelphiaweekly.com