Pil­grim Roast­ers brews up pre­mium cof­fee

The Review - - Front Page - By Amanda Gal­lagher

MANAYUNK » A new café that re­cently opened its doors in Manayunk is serv­ing up a unique style of pre­mium cof­fee for lo­cal res­i­dents.

The Main Street café and cof­fee roaster, Pil­grim Roast­ers, opened in June by own­ers Dan Faehl and Ryan Con­nelly.

The two friends started the busi­ness to­gether with the goal of pro­vid­ing the best cof­fee possi- ble from each ori­gin they source. Work­ing with small, fo­cused im­port­ing com­pa­nies, Faehl said, they strive to ob­tain cof­fees that are rated high in qual­ity, while still within the realm of af­ford­abil­ity for their cus­tomers.

“We try to get the cream of the crop,” Faehl said.

The menu at Pil­grim Roast­ers is straight­for­ward and in­cludes op­tions for drip cof­fee and man­ual brew, aswell as var­i­ous espresso drinks, tea and some food items. Drinks can be served hot or iced, but you won’t find any fla­vored syrups to add to your drink. Faehl and Con­nelly are more in­ter­ested in pro­vid­ing cof­fee with dis­tinct fla­vor pro­files.

To choose what types of cof­fee they wanted to sell, Faehl and Con­nelly tried va­ri­eties from sev­eral dif­fer­ent im­porters from dif­fer­ent re­gions.

Faehl and Con­nelly are both long­time cof­fee en­thu­si­asts, and Faehl pre­vi­ously worked as a cof­fee roaster for an­other com­pany. He ini­tially be­came in­ter­ested in it dur­ing a trip to El Sal­vador in 2006 where he en­coun­tered a cof­fee plant for the first time.

“I had never seen a cof­fee plant be­fore,” he said. “It kind of blew my mind.”

From there, he be­gan re­search­ing and ex­plor­ing the process of pro­duc­ing cof­fee.

Con­nel ly pre­vi­ously worked as a sound en­gi­neer, but Faehl said he was al­ways “kind of a cof­fee geek.” Con­nelly first had the idea to start a cof­fee com­pany, and he pre­sented Faehl a full busi­ness plan for what is now Pil­grim Roast­ers. Faehl liked the plan, so they ran the idea past his fa­ther, a small busi­ness ac­coun­tant, who en­sured them he thought it would work.

Faehl and Con­nelly knew they wanted the shop to be lo­cated on Main Street. Though they con­sid­ered var­i­ous neigh­bor­hoods in Philadel­phia, they saw the most po­ten­tial in Manayunk. It was an area of the city with which they were

“There’s so­much pop­u­la­tion here. It could han­dle an­other cof­fee shop.” — Dan Faehl, Pil­grim Roast­ers co-owner

more fa­mil­iar, and they saw more of a need for a café.

“There’s so much pop­u­la­tion here,” said Faehl. “It could han­dle an­other cof­fee shop.”

They searched for a while be­fore find­ing the per­fect spot for their shop. When they learned that Sa­lon L Manayunk on Main Street wanted to sub­lease their neigh­bor­ing unit to a café, Faehl and Con­nelly took ad­van­tage of the op­por­tu­nity.

Faehl and Con­nelly are se­ri­ous about sourc­ing qual­ity prod­uct that is also rea­son­ably priced, mak­ing Pil­grim Roast­ers a place that can be en­joyed by typ­i­cal cof­fee drinkers and cof­fee geeks alike. They serve Scan­di­na­vian-style cof­fee, which means the cof­fee is a bit lighter and brighter, and it features a bit more of the ori­gin char­ac­ter­is­tics in its roast fla­vor, Faehl said. It dif­fers from what would be found at a Seat­tle-style café, which features cof­fee that is roasted shorter and darker and has more of a bit­ter, choco­latey fla­vor, he said.

The cur­rent of­fer­ings at Pil­grim Roast­ers in­clude Colom­bia Inga Aponte, a cof­fee from the Aponte re­gion of Colom­bia, which is in­hab­ited by de­scen­dants of the Inca peo­ple. It has a nutty, heav­ier fla­vor and was cho­sen be­cause it suits the palates of those who pre­fer darker roasts, said Faehl.

For the more ad­ven­tur­ous cof­fee drinker, Faehl rec­om­mends Ethiopia Di­ima, a cof­fee with a “wild, fruity com­plex­ity,” Faehl said.

“It’s one of the cra­zi­est cof­fees,” Faehl said, not­ing that it has very flo­ral, fruity fla­vor with hints of peach and blue­berry. “It kind of stands out as be­ing a very unique cof­fee.”

Part of what makes it stand out is that it is made from an heir­loom plant in­dige­nous to the re­gion, and it’s made through a nat­u­ral dry process, which means that when the seeds are dried, the fruit is left in­tact.

Faehl ex­plained that cof­fee is graded on a 100-point scale and is rated based on a num­ber of cri­te­ria, such as fla­vor, sweet­ness, acid­ity, bal­ance, uni­for­mity and body. They aim to source highly rated cof­fee, graded 87 or more. Ethiopia Di­ima is the high­est scor­ing cof­fee cur­rently sold at Pil­grim Roast­ers. And while the Colom­bia Inga Aponte isn’t rated quite as high, Faehl said, it has a lot of points for body, bal­ance and uni­for­mity, which earned it a spot as Pil­grim Roast­ers’ house cof­fee.


Co-owner Dan Faehl mans the counter at Pil­grim Roast­ers in Manayunk.


Pil­grim Roast­ers is lo­cated at 4120Main St. in Manayunk.

Dan Faehl, left, and Levi Heil­man are co-own­ers of Pil­grim Roast­ers in Manayunk.

Co-owner Dan Faehl cranks up the vin­tage Pro­bat Cof­fee Bean Roaster at Pil­grim Roast­ers in Manayunk.

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