Monday, October 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Coffee Break: Shot Tower Coffee

Jonathon Zilber, manager at Shot Tower Coffee in Queen Village.
Jonathon Zilber, manager at Shot Tower Coffee in Queen Village.

Where: 542 Christian St., 267-886-8049.

The lowdown: Shot Tower has been a pillar of Philadelphia's coffee community since co-owners Matthew Derago and Mariel Freeman opened the Queen Village shop in 2010.

Hours: Weekdays, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Weekends, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Backstory: Manager Jonathon Zilber said Derago and Freeman opened Shot Tower after earning their stripes at Rojo's Roastery, in Lambertville, N.J. The goal was to create something they could be proud of that would become an integral part of the local community. Mission accomplished.

The beans: Want a no-fuss, no-muss cup of joe? Shot Tower has Counter Culture Coffee on hand. The shop recently debuted a slightly more expensive menu of single-pour blends. "You do have more people coming in who have an interest in talking about tasting notes and flavor," Zilber said.

The machine: Shot Tower is a destination for java enthusiasts, thanks in part to its Strada espresso machine, which lets a barista modify the pressure used to brew the espresso to "amplify or mute different flavors," Zilber said.

Ambience: If you're looking for some serenity with your morning or afternoon coffee, this is the spot. Sunlight pours through large windows that wrap around the corner property, which sits near a quiet stretch of rowhouses. "We see the same people five days a week, which is good, because then we get to know them," Zilber said. Saturday mornings tend to get a bit crowded. On Sunday afternoons, the laptops come out and Shot Tower "becomes like a library."

Beyond beans: You'll find baked goods from Narberth's Au Fournil Inc. The cheese Danish are light and airy, so it would be entirely understandable - reasonable, even - if you were to eat, say, six in one sitting. Plus, bagels from South Street, and cookies.

Prices: Drip coffee, $1.65 for 8 oz., $2 for 12 oz., $2.50 for 16 oz.; espresso, $2.50; pour-over coffee, $2.85 to $3; cappuccino, $3.75; cafe latte, $4; iced coffee, $2.95 for 16 oz. or $3.95 for 24 oz.; black, green and caffeine-free teas, $2 to $4.

Social stuff: Twitter: @ShotTowerCoffee; Facebook: Shot Tower Coffee; shottowercoffee.com.


Every other Thursday, "Coffee Break" reviews a local brew shop in the Daily News. This week's is by staff writer David Gambacorta. Various "scientific" studies indicate he'll live another 200 years, based on how much coffee he drinks every day.

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