There is nothing like returning to Miami from a trip to San Francisco/Napa Valley to get a person really pissed off. Oh, I could rant about how smart people demand smart food and smart service and, in general, a smartly (and politely) run city -- and I WILL rant about it over the next week or so -- but for now, still woozy from the trip, I'm really in the mood to go to Philz Coffee and have a cup of joe made specifically for me. By people who care.
Philz prepares each of its 20 handmade coffees individually, at the time of order. You go to the counter and say "I'll have (insert name of coffee), and the barista will grind the beans up, place it in the single-cup filter, and brew it for you. Then you can take it to a couch or chair in the comfy space and relax. Laptops and dogs are welcome.
Philz has a few locations now, but the original is in the Mission district (24th and Folsom), on the spot where Phil ran a grocery store for 35 years (and sold coffee in the market). Phil was never into single origin beans; he believes in blends and combining coffees from around the world from 2 to as many 7 different beans to make unique complex blends. Nor does he believe in machines; each cup is made by the drip method. The amount of beans that go into each cup is equivalent to 3 cups of regular coffee - yes, it is potent. If you want milk, or soy milk, or cream, the barista will shake it up by hand so it froths like a cappuccino.
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Phil still works at the coffee shop every day. Customer service is very personal. The vibe of community is nearly as strong as the coffee. And while you can get a good cup of coffee at Starbucks or at the new The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in Aventura, that sense of community is entirely lacking here in Miami.