La Prima Espresso Co.

205 21st St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
websiteIMG_02463 stars

A downtown Pittsburgh coffee stand that brings a pleasant coffee experience to the crowded Strip District, La Prima Espresso Co. is a very old-fashioned coffee shop. Drop into this standing room-only spot along the one of the strip’s side avenues, and you’ll be treated to locally brewed and hand-made coffee creations. So take a cup and grab a table with a friend, you won’t regret it.

The spot has a very simple menu; its simple espresso creation is the main driver of business. It’s a deep, dark roast, a deep, smooth taste that lacks any of the smokiness or burned taste that ruin some kinds of espresso all too often. You order it and it’s hand made actually, which is really neat. It’s about the polar opposite of a modern mass-produced coffee chain, here everything is made by hand. It’s really brings a traditional Italian coffee bar to the Pittsburgh dining scene. Try some of the other hand-made goodies, from the danish to the pastries, and even the hand-made orange juice. No, it’s real handmade orange juice. Heavy on pulp so some might not like it, but still an experience to be had nonetheless.

The atmosphere of the little shop is just splendid. There’s an actual morning mass playing on the TV on Sunday mornings. More than anything else, though, the most wonderful thing about the place is the service. The baristas are in the true sense of the word, coffee experts. They’ll chat with customers all day about everything from roasting coffee to Pittsburgh sports and beyond. It’s a different experience from the kind of coffee shops we’re used to in this part of the world. But it’s great experience.

This spot is really a kind of place that is more about the experience than anything else. You have to step in and order a cup to experience it. At this point, it sort of feels like an experience lost in time; a coffee shop that makes good simple coffees, no drive through, no logos, no exotically-produced beans. Just a good experience.


  • There is no place to sit inside the restaurant, only standing room. However, there are outdoor seats, if the weather permits it.
  • Also, the food options are very limited, with the exception of a few kinds of pastries and other things. You’ll have to find somewhere to eat nearby, though there are plenty of things to like.
  • The coffee also comes to-go for convenience.

La Prima Espresso on Urbanspoon

2 thoughts on “La Prima Espresso Co.

  1. The Miscela Bar blend that we use in the strip is actually not a dark roast. It’s Italian style, so it’s a much lighter roast than Americanized epressos. That has a lot to do with why you don’t get the burnt taste and the telltale bitterness in the back of your mouth that you do with a lot of espressos at other coffee shops.

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