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  • Writer's pictureMax McCrory

Love and Lattes

Updated: Jun 19, 2019

If Starbucks isn't doing it for you anymore, never fear. Pittsburgh is becoming a haven for independent coffee shops that are filled with gorgeous decor, foamy lattes, and welcoming baristas. So, if you survive on caffeine alone, read on for the best cafes all located within city limits.

Caffè d'Amore is a cozy shop located on Butler Street and it's filled with the largest menu of drinks I've ever seen. They had everything from rooibos teas to chili mochas to affogatos served with Lenora's ice cream. They even have seasonal drinks, which include peppermint mochas and egg nog lattes, which easily rival Starbucks'. I ordered a traditional mocha, because they were $1 off the day I was there. Every day, a different drink is $1 off, so you can sample everything on the menu without breaking the bank. The mocha had a rich, chocolatey flavor topped with deliciously spongey milk all served in an adorable jelly jar. The owner and barista (both the same person) was incredibly welcoming and there was relaxing music filling the space; it made me feel right at home. Caffè d'Amore also has a small, yet tasty selection of sandwiches from 52nd Street Market, as well as sweet muffins and pastries from Chateau Cafe and Cakery. The best part of Caffè d'Amore? They share a wall with Nine Stories Bookstore. What could be a more perfect combination than a warm drink and a good book? 5400 Butler St., Lawrenceville.

When I first walked into Delanie's, I was astounded by the beautiful brick walls and tall ceilings, as well as the extensive food and drink menu. Most coffee shops just offer a few small treats and let the drinks take the spotlight, but not at Delanie's Coffee. They had countless breakfast and lunch options, including make-your-own breakfast sandwiches and gourmet grilled cheeses. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to sample these, but I will definitely be going back to get a taste. I ended up ordering a chai tea latte, which however basic, was warm and sweet, filled with cloves and frothy milk. Delanie's Coffee serves an array of your favorite coffee drinks, as well as fresh juices made in house. I was also extremely tempted by the Nutella frozen latte, even though it was only 28 degrees the day I visited. The coffee shop had a constant stream of people coming in and out of the store, but it still provided a relaxing atmosphere with beautiful art for sale and lovely acoustic music playing in the background; I could easily have spent all day there. 1737 E Carson St., South Side.

Adda Coffee and Tea House is all light blue walls, fresh cut flowers, and fun photographs. The style of Adda Coffee and Tea House is what caught my eye when I first entered. The pastel blue colored walls were extremely welcoming along with the additional touches of string lights and Instagram-worthy photos hung everywhere. They also have extremely friendly baristas who will have you laughing in under a minute. Not to mention, they boast a menu filled with tasty drinks and not-so-typical snacks. Their tea menu is especially extensive, but they also have a variety of speciality coffee drinks, such as the drool worthy salted caramel macchiato. I opted for the mocha, which was deliciously creamy and chocolatey. Adda's secret is that they make this drink with chocolate milk. Adda Coffee and Tea House also offers a quiche bar, as well as different toasts. The toast topped with ricotta and honey caught my eye, but I didn't have time to taste it. Adda Coffee and Tea House was filled to the brim, when I went, but the quiet chatter and laughter of its customers was somehow still peaceful. With sunlight streaming through the windows and the delicious drinks, I can see why there wasn't an empty seat at this cozy cafe. 200 S Highland Ave., Shadyside.

Market Street Grocery is a haven for residents of downtown Pittsburgh. They have everything from fresh vegetables to gourmet cheeses to most importantly, coffee. The coffee counter is tucked in the front corner of the store and there's only one large table to seat its customers, so you can't stay all day. However, it's a nice spot to take a short respite from ice skating or downtown sightseeing. Market Street Grocery's menu isn't large, they just have your basic coffee drinks. However, they do have one special dessert/drink: an affogato served with any flavor of Pittsburgh Ice Cream that your heart desires. I chose a latte, which was made with rich La Colombe coffee beans and a copious amount of frothy milk. Luckily, located right next to the coffee bar is a mini Gaby et Jules store, which sells a wide array of macaroons with flavors from the traditional almond to the trendy rose to the inventive white chocolate basil. My personal favorite flavor of macaroon is Nutella, because in between the crunchy shells is a generous helping of sweet and nutty Nutella. They are the perfect treat to accompany your coffee in the afternoon. A bonus of Market Street Grocery is their large daily specials menu filled with breakfast foods, soups, and sandwiches. So you can kill two birds with one stone and have your coffee along with a delicious and filling meal. 435 Market St., Downtown.

4121 Main is a coffee shop that exudes charm in Bloomfield. The moment I entered the store, I was astounded by the picturesque floral displays and beautiful old wood throughout the cafe. The store also functions as a gallery featuring flowers and fine art, which changes with the seasons. Founders Kira Hoeg and Thommy Conroy, also work in floristry and event planning, so it comes as no surprise that their shop is perfectly curated at all times. Their menu was filled with unusual drinks, such as Golden Milk, which is composed of coconut oil, honey, black pepper, and turmeric. They have your basic coffee menu, as well as interesting drinks like the luscious maple lavender latte. I opted for a chai tea latte, as it's one of my favorites, and 4121 Main did not disappoint. The chai was extremely rich and sweet with a bit of subtle spice. It was topped with perfectly foamed milk too. 4121 Main also offers an array of baked goods made in house. They also sell soap, vases, and lovely decorative pieces. Seating is limited in this small space and not very comfortable, so it isn't ideal for working. However, it's the perfect place to unwind for a bit, chat with a friend, and listen to the acoustic music playing. 4121 Main St., Bloomfield.

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