Sunday, November 08, 2009

CC: Ultimo Coffee

What's does "CC" mean?
Location visited: Philadelphia, PA
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

rban planning has become something I've grown tremendously interested in over the years. I love taking a retrospective look at how a city formed and than trying to gaze ahead to the many possibilities for its future.

Marrying my love for coffee with my interest in city evolution, I occasionally like to postulate the role of a coffeehouse in a community. One (relatively) new place that I find quite intriguing is coffeehouse called Ultimo Coffee. Located in South Philadelphia, Ultimo sits in a section of the city that attracts far less visitors than the sections to the north. Plus the coffeehouse exists in what seems largely residential, a plus if the neighborhood likes you and a death knell if not.

But regardless of the why, I was personally drawn by the what; a coffeehouse receiving some strong acclaim for their attention to quality.

One sunny afternoon, I pulled up to their corner establishment with its big open windows, including a big glass garage door (they probably open it on warm days). Within, the place held a lot of character: a simple decor, plenty of vintage wood furniture and a bunch of supermarket fridges that house a nice array of beer to go (an unorthodox but genius facet to the traditional coffeehouse model).

Ultimo offers Counter Culture Coffee, a more and more common coffee around Philly. I ordered a cup of Finca El Puente via pourover, which featured a buttery and saucy cup with hints of cigar, dark cherry and a heavy taste despite a light body. The espresso, shots of Espresso Aficianado pulled well, proved bright with touches of bittersweet chocolate and blackberry, complete with a velvety sweetness on the end. The tea is Rishi.

Given the lovely experience, I'm very curious as to the future (and hopefully success) of Ultimo. Good coffee can do great things.

If you're passing by, I would recommend making the detour for Ultimo.


janeanger said...

Thanks for stopping by; this is my beloved workplace and I was totally stoked to see that you had stopped in (and more, enjoyed yourself).

Mike said...

First time I've seen a coffee house with a garage door, but more importantly I'll stop by their next time I'm in town visiting family to check out their coffee.

Anonymous said...

Sounds nice. What coffee do you drink?

Bill said...


Quite the broad question :).
I would say that at the risk of sounding ambiguous, I like to drink well-roasted, fresh coffee. Where I get it from depends on lots of things but usually any roaster on my blog with a 5 or 6 would be a good candidate.

Owen O'Neill said...

Ultimo is doing a great job. The beer selection and licensing is all handled by their landlord - who owns the South Philly Tavern on the next corner up the block (highly recommended gastro-pub / brew pub sort of place). I visited Ultimo on two successive days and had an espresso, a machiatto, a cappuccino and two different pour-over coffees - all were excellent. They were using Counter Culture's Aficionado blend - my new favorite for espresso blends. I'm now using it at home and prefer it to Stumptown's Hairbender. Intelly's Black Cat, and Ecco's house blend.

Anonymous said...

THX for sharing

Peter said...

Went to Ultimo for the first time this Sunday. Great atmosphere and the friendly barista offered to educate me on their coffees and techniques.

I had a perfectly made cappuccino. Delicious and plan to return.

Thanks for the review, Bill. Ultimo is not the sort of place I would have found by accident.