The untold truth of Philz Coffee

Philz Coffee sees itself as a unique experience, and in many ways it is. One of the major differences between Philz Coffee and your average local coffee shop is that it doesn't serve espresso — and that means there are no lattes to be found on its menu (via HuffPost).

Phil Jaber started the coffee shop in the Mission District of San Francisco in 2002. Jacob Jaber, his son and the CEO of Philz Coffee, sees the experience in their coffee shop as extraordinary. He thinks of it more like a bar than a coffee shop. Instead of baristas, Philz Coffee has artists (via We Work). Customers order first, and then pay rather than the usual other way around. The coffee artist will ask you to taste your coffee and let them know if you like it, as it's personalized just for you.

Ordering a personalized coffee is more of a process, beginning with choosing the blend. The coffee artist will then grind the beans and mix in your cream and sugar, or not, depending on how you take your coffee. The company likes to refer to their coffee as "cups of love" (via Philz Coffee).

The process of personalizing the coffee means a visit to Philz Coffee is not like a quick stop at Starbucks. Each cup of coffee can take up to five minutes to brew. There are 30 different roasts to choose from, the goal being to address each person's preference. Whether you like a light roast or a dark roast, Philz Coffee can make it for you. 

The different roasts of Philz Coffee

Additionally, having so many roasts available gives customers a reason to return and try something new (via Pando). The menu board displays all the roasts available, but they have names like "Philharmonic" and "Dancing Water" so they won't help you understand the flavor of the roast. The coffee artist will help you choose a roast based on your preference for light, medium, or dark roasts. The coffee is then brewed one cup at a time using a pour-over method. Phil Jaber came up with a catchphrase, "See if it comes to your taste," and that's what the coffee artist will ask you to ensure you like it (via Business Insider).

The first blend that Jaber created, Tesora, took seven years to get right. It's described as full-bodied with notes of nuts, caramel, and butter. The Philharmonic blend is completed with three mint leaves and a sprinkling of cardamom. Jacob's Wonderbar, another roast, is poured from a height, creating a dramatic visual and allowing the steam to aerate the coffee and bring out notes of chocolate. A relatively recent offering is the Iced Coffee Rosé, inspired by Jacob and the infused coffees his mother would make using rose water (via Patch). There is also a secret menu with coffee options like Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Oatmeal Cookie, which taste just as you would expect.

The world around Philz Coffee

While Philz Coffee may eschew espresso, they do embrace snacks, though they do that differently from the average coffee shop as well. There is a brunch-style snack menu with made-to-order items (via California Aggie). Available menu items include the ubiquitous avocado toast, as well as coffee shop standards such as bagels, breakfast burritos, and pastries (via Philz Coffee). 

The company also works to be environmentally friendly, offering a $1 discount when a customer reuses a cup. It isn't just to help the environment, however. There is a business angle to the practice. It counters the cost of a cup, and increases repeat purchases while making customers feel like they got a bargain.

Philz Coffee supplies the beans for much of the tech world, including Apple, Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook, the last of which has a Philz Coffee location on their campus.

There are now 32 locations around the wider San Francisco Bay area as well as eight locations in Los Angeles, three each in Orange County and San Diego, five in the D.C. metro area, and four in Chicago, with additional stores scheduled to open (via Philz Coffee).