Caffeination: Philly's Newest Coffee Hot Spot

You'd expect the former Vice President of EB Games to know a thing or two about stimulation. Well, it turns out that Mitchell Cohen is also a graduate of the American Barista and Coffee School of Portland. Add those things up, and you'd be silly not to drink a cup of coffee brought to you by this man. His caffeine boutique on the corner of 21st and Chestnut promises more than a morning cup. Caffeination contains enough products laced with legal buzz to keep you bumping all day.

Portland purists might frown at the Candy Bar lattes, the case of energy drinks and the shelves of high-caff sunflower seeds, chewing gum and lip balm. One might wonder if it's all a bit too much. Especially the entire back wall that seems to be devoted to every syrup ever concocted, and more sugar-free choices than any coffee purveyor I've encountered. With La Colombe only blocks away, those in search of the simple should set their sights there. The choices here are intense, often pushing aside the main product itself: coffee.

I'm a minimalist drinker and I abide by a few rules. If you can't take it black, you're not grinding the right beans. If you can't pronounce your order, you probably shouldn't order it. Syrup is for pancakes, not for beverages. But once a month, when no one is looking, I get my hands around a mint mocha and savor every second. I might even hit the bottom, where a good inch of chocolate mud slides down to meet me. But I'm a sipper. A taster. A drinker.

There's a whole other set of people out there. They're buzz-hunters with Five-Americano-a-day habits. Whatever they're downing is so masked with add-ins that it's just a brew-sy smoothie. There are worse situations to be in. Caffeination encourages the rush-seekers, giving them an array of options. It's like a buffet of caffeine. And as such, they're also pushing the tea.

The red tea espresso shots are a new invention that aren't widely available, with a highly concentrated burst of tea that comes in a little paper cup. It'll leave you to wonder, perhaps sadly, if anyone has time for slow tea these days. While Caffeination is certainly not my cup of tea, coffee or other caffeinated beverage, it could prove just the thing for some less-awake people.

When the barista hands you a Challenge Coin with your change, look alive. Here's where the fun, non-coffee-related twist starts. The history of the Challenge Coin dates back to World War I and is still common today in the blue-collar workforce. The goal is to carry the medallions with you at all times. When a challenger asks to see it, you must show it to them and if you don't have it, you owe them a drink. If you do show the coin, then the challenger has to pick up the tab. While I'm not sure how this will fly in the world of coffee, I'm looking to get at least one gratis mocha out of it. Try me.

Caffeination, Inc
2100 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

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