Location: Philadelphia, PA
Rating: 6+ [see key]
Nine years ago, I visited a vibrant cafe in the Bella Vista section of Philly that resulted in an experience that provided little to no fanfare. Due to the mediocre experience, I soon forgot about the shop and can honestly say that despite driving the area frequently, I never really gave that location a second glance, letting it fall into relative obscurity.
But fast forward to a few months back, I caught wind of new tenants at the location of 1001 S. 10th Street, but this time the word was of excellent coffee with a desire to push conventional brewing boundaries. Being easily intrigued of such happenings, I made it a point to stop by the shop one afternoon after work. Arriving shortly after 4 to find the sun shining on the corner cafe, I made my way inside what was now dubbed Function Coffee Labs.
Inside, the shop is beautifully renovated with a coffee wall mural, a giant chalkboard menu and a front counter that definitely reflects experimentation. The coffee comes from Ceremony as well as a rotating guest roaster or two. The day of my visit, I decided upon a coffee shot (basically an infusions that uses an espresso machine to create a shot that resembles a concentrated pourover or an Aerorpress) of a Kenya Miiri from Lofted Coffee Roasters and a pourover of a Guatemalan from Ceremony. The coffee shot exploded with notes of strawberry milkshake, cherry, lime, nougat and sweet cream, making for a superbly delicious brew. The pourover, while different in flavors also proved excellent, with notes of toasted walnut, caramel, cream soda, pear, shortbread and green tea in a balanced, medium body.
Needless to say, I greatly enjoyed my time at Function Coffee Labs and I will gleefully stop back in soon. If you happen to be in Philly looking for a unique, excellent coffee experience, check out glorious events happening on the corner of Carpenter and 10th.