Pittsburgh Dining » On The Side

Coffee Buddha offers a path to enlightenment — right on Perry Highway

You can nosh on treats from a private local baker or take the kids out back to the Zen garden/sandbox.

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Michael Witherel carefully pours boiling water over Burundi coffee beans, nestled in a filter above a Mason jar. The base of the jar turns a rich brown color. And voila, you have single-pour coffee. 

"This way provides a cleaner-tasting coffee," he says.

Witherel, the owner of Coffee Buddha in the North Hills, is skilled in various brewing methods, like the single pour, the Chemex, aeropress and the trifecta machine. Each coffee, and each brewing method, has its own requirements, including water temperature and how the beans (which Coffee Buddha buys from Commonplace Coffee Co.) are ground.

That's only part of the glory of Coffee Buddha, which opened in July, 2011. The coffeehouse composts its coffee grounds, and grows its own herbs in a garden out back. Most everything is scratch-made, including the flavored syrups.

The upper floor has a foosball table and gathering spaces for community events, hanging out, board games, reading — even massages from a local masseuse. You can nosh on treats from a private local baker or take the kids out back to the Zen garden/sandbox. The porch and outside seating are pet-friendly. 

It's all part of Witherel's mission to provide a space where people feel comfortable and part of a community.

"If you go into certain shops you get attitude," he says. "But if you're spending $3 on a coffee, you can eat the mug for all I care."

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