Adda, the new coffeeshop in Shadyside, takes its name from the Bengali word that means friendly conversation, or the place to hold such talks. And the name is also a nod to the shop’s stated commitment to be global in its approach — from fairly sourced tea and coffee and highlighting a world region each month (currently Africa). “Local” matters, too, with other goods coming from in town.
The quirkily shaped, bright and airy space is attractively decorated with a silver ceiling, white tile floors and turquoise painted walls. For more light, there are some primo window seats — a handful of stools face out onto the liveliness of Highland Avenue, or patrons can watch the buses and trains go by from the comfort of a cushioned windowseat overlooking the busway.
Thankfully, the menu is not overwhelming. A dozen or so teas include black, green and herbal; coffee is available in drip, cold brew and in-house Chemex options, plus the standard upgrades (espresso, lattes, add-ins, etc.). Cookies, biscotti and scones (with a clotted-cream option) satisfy those who need a sweet treat. (Adda is also planning occasional High-Tea events.) For savory noshes, there is a small selection of salads, a quiche of the day and “toasts” (one with tuna, black olive and egg, another with pea purée, mint, chili pepper and lemon).
A lot of smaller details make Adda a winner: Beverages are served on little wooden plates; patrons get a timer to know when to pour steeping tea; each table has a small vase of fresh flowers; and there is a small shelf of books to peruse. Plus, friendly conversation is encouraged.