Saturday, January 12, 2008

CC: Bean Exchange

What's a Coffee Commentary?

Bean Exchange
Location visited: Philadelphia, PA
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 3+ [see key]

ny native Philadelphian knows of the rich history the city holds but few people really know all the various stories and random facts of the age-old city. I personally love to wander as a curious native, learning of places of (relatively) ancient lore where great men and women stepped out of their comfort zones to do what was needed in shaping this nation.

So it was to my delight that I learned of the London Coffeehouse, a place of 18th century Philadelphia that was a hub of business and politics that closed its doors forever shortly after the Revolution (apparently it couldn't compete with the City Tavern). I'm not sure where the original location is or if the building still stands, but it turns out that there is a coffeehouse called the Bean Exchange that stands as a commemoration to the long gone establishment.

The Bean Exchange sits on Bainbridge in a lovely corner brick building, with the name emblazoned proudly along the length of the building. The warm colonial interior has various tables running conveniently the length of the long space.

The coffee is a brand called Lacas, which according to the BE barista is a quality "Greek" coffee (website says nothing along those lines). The house blend was decent, embodying only a very noticeable spiciness. The espresso was also mediocre, not having much body or pizazz. The tea is Mighty Leaf.

While I'm glad to have come across Bean Exchange for its historical commemoration, it doesn't really add much to the Philadelphia coffee scene. Nonetheless, if you like a dose of American antiquity with your java, stop on in.


Peter said...

I go by their warehouse location in Pennsauken frequently. I never noticed them before yesterday when I smelled the distinctive small of roasting from about a mile away and traced it to their warehouse. I went in and asked about their coffee. They said they were roasting for Wegmans.

I don't know if they have been roasting here for a while or just started up.

J. Croston said...

To clarify, Lacas does not produce "Greek Coffee." It is simply owned by a Greek family and has been in business since the 1920s. The company has a variety of customers (from restaurants, to food distributors, to Wegmans). I would have to disagree about the shop not adding to the Philadelphia coffee scene. The BE has top notch equipment and well trained baristas (aside from the one who thought Lacas sold Greek Coffee). I urge you to give it another try. Try the espresso again...