Complete Guide to Philz Coffee (Including their Secret Menu) – Our Favorite Coffee Shop of all Time! (2021 Update)

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In the coffee world, Philz Coffee is a very unique experience. And to be honest, it’s our FAVORITE coffee shop of all time!

Philz is quite different from a big name coffee chain like Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts, or even from a fancy artisan coffee shop.

Philz Coffee sees itself as a unique experience, and in many ways it is. One of the major differences between Philz Coffee and your average local coffee shop is that it doesn’t serve espresso, so there are no lattes or cappuccinos on the menu. Part of the value lies in the experience and interacting with the person making you the coffee. This is why they use the slogan “One Cup At a Time…” 

What Makes Philz Coffee So Unique?

When it is your turn to order at the counter, the coffee artist calls you over to pour over brewing station and the person who takes your order will also make your coffee.  They will customize and personalize it to your satisfaction. They offer a wide range of light, medium and dark roasts and also have a great secret menu (scroll down for more info!).

There are none of the usual milks or sweeteners out on the counter as you would find at Starbucks. Instead all of the coffee making magic happens behind the counter and the coffee artist will take your personalized order and customize your drink to perfection. You can choose your blend of beans, or even a secret menu item from below. And this includes any milk or cream or sweetener too.

Quality takes time and because the process of personalizing your custom coffee takes time. They will custom blend the beans your order and then make the pour over coffee and add any other extras like sweetener or milks or creams along the way. So it will take longer than say Starbucks. Each cup of coffee can take a few minutes to brew, so you have to be a little more patient, but it is worth it.

And something that is also unique and many people don’t realize until later is that you pay after you order, while you are waiting. So the process feels more personable throughout the entire ordering process.

This is a picture of the famous Philz Pour – and how the person making your coffee will usually make a little bit of a show when making your pour over coffee.

The Philz Pour

Image Credit: “The Philz pour” by SanFranAnnie is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

History of Philz Coffee

Phil Jaber emigrated from Ramallah on the West Bank to San Francisco in 1969. He opened a Liquor & Deli on the corner of 24th Street and Folsom in 1976. For 30 years he was a fixture in the mission district of San Francisco. He has a unique mustache and is friendly and memorable. As a child he had sold coffee beens and he started to serve coffee to customers in 2002. Over time his coffee got really popular and by 2003, he had transitioned his liquor and deli to a coffee shop!

In 2005, his youngest son Jacob joined him full time after dropping out of community college. The younger son had a bigger vision and by early 2009 they had opened 3 new locations in San Francisco and one in Palo Alto. The stores definitely as a more chill, personal vibe. As Jacob (the CEO) told Forbes “We think of ourselves as more in the people business than the coffee business.”

Phil Jaber started the coffee shop in the Mission District of San Francisco in 2002. Jacob Jaber, his son and the CEO of Philz Coffee, sees the experience in their coffee shop as extraordinary. He thinks of it more like a bar than a coffee shop. Instead of baristas, Philz Coffee has artists (via We Work). Customers order first, and then pay rather than the usual other way around. The coffee artist will ask you to taste your coffee and let them know if you like it, as it’s personalized just for you.

A Few Fun Facts about Philz Coffee:

  1. You can order it “Philz Way” or “Jacob’s Way”: Phil was the dad and founder. If you want your drink the way Phil likes it, order it “Philz Way” (medium cream, medium sugar).  Jacob, is Philz son, and the current CEO. If you order “Jacob’s Way” you get medium cream + medium honey.
  2. They served their special coffee drinks at Mark Zuckerberg’s wedding: Phil Jaber, who Philz is named after, personally made the coffees too. And they did not charge one of the richest people in the world a penny for their coffees!
  3. They have spent years developing their blends:  For example it took Phil 7 years (!!) to perfect the Tesora blend.
  4. Philz Coffee was basically a “pivot”:  People in tech like to talk about a “pivot” as when you switch your company from one idea to another. Philz Coffee grew out of Phil Jaber’s corner grocery liquor store and deli in San Francisco’s Mission District. He started making coffee and it became so popular and the store pivoted to what we now know as Philz Coffee.
  5. Pink Colored Innovative “Foam”?  – in the last few years, Philz introduced an Iced Rose Coffee which looks and tastes unique. Jacob’s (the current CEO) mom used to infuse coffee and teas with rose water when Jacob was younger. They introduced this new menu item, it was a hit and now it is part of the permanent menu.
  6. According to Jacob Jaber, there are over 4 million ways to order your Philz Coffee! With all of the awesome customization options, you have a lot of options to try! As Jacob said on Twitter:

Why is Philz Coffee so popular?

Philz Coffee is popular for a few reasons. First, it feels more like a local coffee shop. The staff is more personable and friendly. Second, it is unique since they don’t have espresso machines and every cup is made to order while you wait as you watch. You can get a custom order every time and it feels more personable. Third, they offer endless ways to customize your drink so you can literally try a new drink every time you visit.

And finally, they used a heavy cream (manufactured whipping cream) which gives a very rich taste and mouthfeel to their coffees and that is why people tend to crave them!

Other places with great coffee secret menus include: Dutch Bros Secret Menu and the Dunkin’ Donuts Secret Menu.

Philz Coffee Menu (Current as of Spring 2021)

Philz Light & Bright Blends

Philz Coffee Secret Menu Items

Okay, here are the secret items you really want to know about!

Mint Mojito – with a Twist

This consists of the regular Mint Mojito, but made with Philtered Soul!

Philtered Soul is highly caffeinated and if you like a buzz this is the one for you. See the video below for some VERY funny reactions to this drink.

And you MUST get the Mint Mojito iced. It looks and tastes better that way. It’s very rich and sweet depending on the level of sweetener and cream you add. If you get a buzz from sugar and caffeine, this drink will set your brain on fire!

New Jack City

This is a 50/50 blend of:

  • Jacobs Wonderbar
  • New Manhattan

This is a funny name because it’s named after the movie of course. It is a much deeper and richer flavor than the mint mojito. It has dark, rich and complex flavors. If you like dark roasts or dark beers, you will like this one!

Cinnamon Toast Crunch

Did you like Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal as a kid? Or do you still eat it as an adult? Shh…you’re secret is safe with us.

If you love those flavors, this drink is for you. It is a 50/50 blend of:

  • Ambrosia Coffee of God (a lighter roast with aromas of blackberry, grape and toast)
  • Hazelnut (a varietal blend with aromas of hazelnut, almond and milk chocolate)

Oatmeal Cookie

If you like oatmeal, you will LOVE this one. It tastes just like an oatmeal cookie!

When you order this it is a 50/50 blend of:

  • Hazelnut (a varietal blend with aromas of hazelnut, almond and milk chocolate)
  • Julie’s Ultimate (a full bodied darker blend with aromas of toast, berry and vanilla)

For that added cinnamon flavor they add cinnamon into the filter when they do the pour over.

Mocha Tesora

As we mentioned above, Philz does not offer espresso since they don’t use espresso coffee or espresso machines. So if you are addicted to your usual order at Starbucks or somewhere like that and like Mochas, this drink is the closest thing you will find.

They will custom blend a drink for you that includes the Tesora blend which is a very distinct dark chocolate blend of beans and cocoa powder. It is very rich and chocolatey. And you won’t miss your regular mocha!

Philz Coffee Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Many Calories are in Philz coffee?

The calorie range is quite broad here depending most on how much sweetener you add and also how much, and what type, of cream.

  • Coffees: range from 5-480 calories
  • Teas: range from 5-420 calories

Who owns Philz Coffee?

Philz Coffee is now owned by Phil’s son, Jacob Jabar.

Does Philz Coffee make lattes?

In short, the answer is No!

Philz specializes in single-cup, made-to-order, pour-over coffee drinks. That means they make EACH coffee individually when it is ordered. They do not have any espresso-based drinks or blended drinks, like mochas, cappuccinos, lattes, mochas, and so on. There are no espresso machines since everything is done by hand as a pour over.

If you have never been to Philz before, we recommend you try something that is very unique to their menu, like an Iced Mint Mojito. Or even better yet, let the person behind the counter know you are a first timer and they will consult with you and make something custom just for you!

Does Philz have almond milk?

Most Philz Coffee shops now offer dairy-free almond milk, soymilk, and oat milk beverages. As of 2021, they are using Califia Farms almond milk. So if you are vegan or vegetarian you can still enjoy an awesome drink. If you do not have those dietary restrictions, though, you should really try at least “medium cream” to see how it tastes. That is really what makes them unique!

Which Philz Coffee has the most caffeine?

In general, as with all coffees, light blends have more caffeine and dark roasts have the least. Philz offers a variety of beans and blends grouped by Light, Medium and Dark Blends. So if you want more caffeine, go for a light roast.

How Many Ounces are in a Philz Coffee?

Philz offers 3 sizes – Small, Medium and Large.

  • Small – 12 oz
  • Medium – 16 oz
  • Large – 20 oz

What is the Philz Slogan?

The Philz Slogan is “One Cup at a Time” to highlight the quality and individualized aspect of the coffee experience. This is an older sign from their store and it shows how they explained the process as part of their branding.

Philz Slogan

 

 

 

 

 

Image: “Philz Coffee sign” by tellumo is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

 

Video: Philz Coffee Secret Menu Taste Test

If you want to see what the coffees look like and how they taste, check out this video. Kirsten Jones  is a huge fan of their coffee and she will take you on a delicious journey in this video!

We love Philz and we wrote this post to spread the word! So if you haven’t tried one yet and want to find one near you, check here to find a Philz Location near you.

Image Credit: “philz coffee = the business” by It’s Holly is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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