What's a Coffee Commentary?
Subject: Spruce Street Espresso
Location visited: Philadelphia, PAFree WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]
Location is CLOSED
Like a spoiled, sugar-driven child that impedes normal social interaction, so was the heat this past weekend. Lots and lots of soupy steaming air sure made me thankful for air conditioning (though I'm not at the point yet where I wish it was winter again). But as it was one of the free weekends in June, the wife and I made sure to utilize the most of it despite the oppressive heat by meeting up with some friends to grab lunch in Philly.
We found reasonable parking north of Market and after some brief indecision, settled on Profi's Creperie at the Reading Terminal Market (my one friend seems to love crepes almost as much as she loves her husband, but that's another story). The market was bustling with patrons but no matter the volume, it's always lovely to stop in. My crepe was by far one of the better I've ingested, though I felt the sauce in mine just a touch too rich.
After lunch, we logically decided to go get coffee. I suggested a new place that had sprung up a few months ago called Spruce Street Espresso. My compatriots agreed to go only if they had iced coffee, so I assured them if for some reason the place lacked that I could acquire them some speedily (the area has a good deal of coffeehouses).
When we arrived outside of Spruce Street Espresso, I realized that I had been to the spot a year prior when the space was another coffeehouse called Mochasmo or something like that. The exterior was much more inviting then it had been, with a nice blue sign and open blue-trimmed windows complimented with four tables to recline at amidst the heat. Walking inside, the place was well-organized and decorated for such a tiny space, though at the time an air conditioner would have made the place a little slice of heaven (I guess they get good cross breezes).
They serve Counter Culture (what seems to be a growing trend in Philly) and seem to be sticklers for the basics (i.e. they have a small traditional menu and take cash only). Given the extreme heat and the barista's recommendation, I ordered an iced coffee instead of the usual drip (also because I've had Counter Culture several times; I don't need another cup of drip to assure me it's good coffee). The iced brew was definitely made a la Japanese, a method I had just tried a couple days before in my own kitchen with similar positive results. The coffee was bright with a tinge of earthiness and proved very refreshing.
The espresso was also a wonderful beverage. The espresso was pulled well, provided a super-sweet chocolatey crescendo, and was served with a glass of water (usually one must ask for one). The tea is of the free leaf variety.
Looking back on the day, Spruce Street Espresso provided a wonderful accent to the day. After we left, we took at leisurely walk through LOVE park where we encountered an old friend of mine who told me about an event she was spearheading called Swing for the Cure (swing dance with a live band to support breast cancer research) that sounds like a wonderful time. We parted ways (she gave me a million fliers to pass onto friends) and the wife and I made our way to my sister's graduation party. Now that I think of it, Spruce Street Espresso made the rest of my day possible (my family still buys pre-ground grossness).
If you're in the area of Spruce and 11th, give SSE a stop.