Katia Faroun | Photo Editor
Hidden in the Strip District on Smallman Street is a cozy European-style coffee shop that’ll melt any coffee lover’s heart. From its delicious lattes and lavender grey tea to its local art and dried flower centerpieces, De Fer Coffee & Tea hits all the bases of what qualifies a coffee shop as cute, warm and cozy.
Located in the same space as what was previously 21st Street Coffee and Tea, De Fer came to Pittsburgh in December 2017. It won over the hearts of locals by boasting its intentions to not only be a small coffee roaster, but also a cafe that sells wine, beer and cocktails. Since its opening, De Fer has become a staple coffee shop in the Strip.
Before even taking a sip of De Fer’s coffee, customers find themselves in love. The antique ceiling lights, hardwood floors and vintage wallpaper that fades into brick walls immediately give the atmosphere a warm vibe. As customers walk further into the shop, they come across walls decorated with art made by local artists, with pieces available for purchase.
What makes De Fer different from most local coffee shops is its variety of coffees and teas. De Fer provides coffee from countries such as Ethiopia, Brazil, Sumatra and Colombia and offers different ways to brew the coffee. De Fer also sells your everyday cappuccinos, lattes and macchiatos, and even makes cute spice art on their lattes. The shop’s tea selection varies from classics like Earl Grey and breakfast, but also includes some unique styles such as Lavender Grey and Vanilla Rooibos.
Besides coffee, tea and alcohol, De Fer serves a variety of breakfast foods, pastries and sandwiches. During all hours, customers can purchase typical cafe breakfast foods, such as quiches, oatmeal and parfaits, but can also treat themselves to some simple cereal and toast. De Fer offers fresh pastries baked each morning, delivered from Pittsburgh’s famous La Gourmandine Bakery. Here’s a tip: Order their almond croissant. You won’t regret it — unless you have a nut allergy. And if you’re not in the mood for breakfast or pastries, you can order one of De Fer’s warm and cheesy paninis, a meat and cheese plate and even some hummus.
After ordering, customers can seat themselves in the front of the shop, where they can find tables topped with vases of dried flowers and benches lined with comfortable pillows. Workers serve customers at their seats and serve all food and beverages (besides those ordered to-go) with reusable dishes. Parents with young children can find some time to relax while they let their kids play in a corner filled with toys, children’s books and a play kitchen. The calming music and large windows facing Smallman Street allow coffee lovers to work, read or just relax while enjoying delicious cafe snacks and beverages.
Lined along the back wall are shelves full of goodies. Local teas, ground coffee, jams and honey, stationary, snacks and more can be bought as gifts or for customers who want to keep a part of De Fer in their own homes.
De Fer also hosts classes and events, including private classes on roasting, tasting and home-brewing for novices or coffee professionals. The shop also invites local artists to perform and it organizes events, such as happy hour and latte art competitions.
It’s obvious that De Fer has everything a coffee lover wants, so be sure to stop by 2002 Smallman Street in the Strip (a block southwest of Pamela’s Diner) for your coffee shop dreams to come true.