This East Bay iteration carries on the Mission District original's trademark practice of treating tea and coffee as a cocktail (there's even a "mojito iced coffee"). You may find yourself having to answer an array of questions about your tastes while the barista makes each cup to order. On top of a wide array of coffee and tea variations (including Turkish coffee), Philz offers pastries, plenty of seating, and free wi-fi.

Having attained a cult following even before its first shop opened in San Francisco's Mission District in 2003, family-owned Philz opened its seventh cafe in Berkeley's Gourmet Ghetto. Serving its own twenty handcrafted coffee blends and little else, it brings to one of America's cafe-heaviest, coffee-savviest neighborhoods the next big thing: a made-to-order, filter-dripped, foam-topped, shade-grown, silky-smooth battle cry to Blue Bottle and Peet's. Based on owner Phil Jaber's 25-plus years of experimentation, Philz coffee is mellow, offering an oddly crashless caffeine high. Each cup of Philz utilizes three to five times as many grounds as standard machine-brewed coffee. The server asks how sweet and creamy you prefer your brew, then makes it that way — using organic sugar and cream, whole milk, nonfat milk, or soymilk in a closely-guarded-secret procedure that yields a velvety, froth-crowned wonder decked with fresh mint leaves.

— Anneli Star Josselin Rufus


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Price: $

Payment Type: Cash, Visa, MasterCard

Evening entertainment such as vocalists and belly dancers is planned.

Coffee is shade-grown; vegan donuts are among the pastries sold here.

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