Main Line Coffee Drinkers Enjoy Specialty Brews

From Kimberton to Merion, local specialty purveyors take a ride on coffee’s third wave.

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Recommended Coffee Shops & Brands

burlap and bean: 204 S. Newtown Street Road, Newtown Square; (484) 427-4547,
golden valley farms: 208 Carter Drive, Suite 13B, West Chester; (800) 528-0933,
gryphon café: 105 W. Lancaster Ave., Wayne; (610) 688-1988,
kimberton coffee: (610) 933-6300,
milkboy coffee: 2 E. Lancaster Ave., Ardmore, (610) 645-5269; 824 W. Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr, (610) 527-0690;
town hall coffee co.: 358 E. Montgomery Ave., Merion Station; (610) 212-1637,

It’s all about the pour at Gryphon Café. (Photo by Steve Legato)

It’s a great time to be a coffee drinker on the Main Line. During the past few years, a movement has begun to take hold in the area—one led by local roasters and brewers who are intensely focused on quality and freshness. Nationally, it’s been dubbed coffee’s third wave.

It all started with the industry making freeze-dried coffee accessible to everyone. The second wave was led by the likes of Starbucks and their efforts to bring great-tasting coffee to the masses. Now, it’s all about specialty niches within the industry, illustrating coffee’s more recent transition from a mass commodity to one with the potential to be more of an artisanal product.

As with many food-and-drink trends, this one has its origins out West, in traditional coffee hot spots like Seattle and the San Francisco Bay Area. Starting in the early 2000s, it moved east, eventually finding its way to the Philadelphia area.

Though it’s been slow to catch on around the Main Line, the prolonged transition actually benefits consumers. For now, there are no pretenders. Everyone has an infectious passion that translates directly to the finished product. The true baristas around here love coffee, and they love talking about it, educating customers on the brewing process.

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