Spruce Street Espresso

Recently opened at the corner of Spruce St. and 11th in downtown Philadelphia is Spruce Street Espresso.This is a little project that we, at Counter Culture, have been working on. Owners Betty Ortiz and Luis Montanez asked our advice when they were ready to close down the Mochima coffee shop and reopen with a new identity. They bought the place after the previous coffee shop had gone out of business. We gave them a few ideas for bar layout, coffee selection, equipment specs. We hooked them up with 9th St. Espresso’s old 3 group GB-5 when they (9th st.) switched to two 2 groups. We trained the staff. They decided to change the old style spread sheet menu board to a chalk board with 6 listings, and down size to drinks no larger than 12 oz to go, and no larger than 10 oz ceramic. They decided to brew only French Press coffees. There is no “House Blend”, only rotating single origins. They found a distributor for Mexican Coca-cola. It has been a fascinating experiment to see a shop go from 20 ounce to 10 oz. The deepest fears of coffee shop owners all over North America, “If I down size, I will loose a major segment of my customers”, was never realized. On the contrary, their customer base grew larger right out of the gate.

Here is what it was like before:

After a few weeks of work, the new space looks like this:

There have already been some nice reviews from traveling coffee geeks, which is very flattering considering they had come in only days after the soft opening. So please come by if you live in Philadelphia, or if you plan on passing through. They have really put a lot of the theories that get debated in the coffee forums to the test. So far I have not seen anything fail.

They have hired Aaron Ultimo to work at the shop beginning in April. He and his wife are moving to the city then. It should be a real fine time.

  1. Diane and I just returned from a visit here. We really enjoyed talking with Faith, our Americano, and getting to see the space. What an amazing location! Best of luck to them!

  2. I will relay your kind words to the folks at Spruce St. I am sorry I did not get to see the new tattoo.

    • Malyn
    • July 8th, 2008

    It is a place that I have only seen in pictures but that was enough to make me want to spend an afternoon with my Esposito taking Coffee, I hope to visit soon!
    Congratulations on this blessing!

  3. I always see that woman in the coffeeshop * last photo * This place has such great coffee.. LOVE IT !!!

  1. July 21st, 2010

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