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Philly Coffee Starts a Rivalry

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[Photos: Liz Clayton]

It's hard to imagine specialty coffee getting any more masculine, but where better than in the city of brotherly love? Enter Philadelphia's Rival Bros, a new roaster about town—and we do mean about—they're on the move in their mobile cafe-truck, no bricks-and-mortar for these guys.

A culinarily inspired collaboration between Philly chef Jonathan Adams and Damien Pileggi, ex of local behemoth La Colombe, the Rival roastery and truck focus on a small, curated selection of coffees offered in a no-nonsense mobile setup. As part of Philly's quickly expanding artisanal coffee scene, the truck—which splits its time between its prime LOVE Park location and a sometime parking spot at 33rd and Arch—continues to reinforce the notion that Philadelphia is now on the map as a coffee city, not just a place to argue about onions and provolone.

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Rival Bros' lineup of offerings is blend-heavy and dude-ish—a cup of the Revolver or the Featherweight for you, ma'am?—but offers a small rotating selection of
single origin coffees as well, like the El Salvador El Cashal Eastate, clean and slightly acidic. Cappuccinos (which always taste a little better in a busy urban park) are a sweetly rich, well-proportioned synthesis of milk and the Brothers' Whistle & Cuss espresso blend, while somewhat light drip brews leave a little more to develop in the cup.

For a city coffee-flooded by out-of-town roaster Counter Culture Coffee and iconoclastic hometown boys La Colombe, an emerging micro roaster is exciting news. And for Philly workers who don't have the time to linger at one of the city's many wonderful cafes, the efficient, simple and quality program at the Rival Bros. truck is a welcome sight—just make sure to catch it when you can.

Rival Bros. Coffee Truck

LOVE Park, 16th and John F Kennedy Boulevard, Philadelphia PA 19102 (map), Monday, Wednesday, Friday 7:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m, Tuesday and Thursday 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.; rivalbros.com

About the author: Liz Clayton drinks, photographs and writes about coffee and tea all over the world, though she pretends to live in Brooklyn, New York. She is currently compiling photographs of the best coffee in the world to be published by Presspop later this year.

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