Coffee Break: Bodhi Coffee
Stumptown and Elixir beans are brewed at Bodhi Coffees two Center City cafes, one on Headhouse Square, another in Washington Square West, both popular neighborhood hangouts.
Where: Headhouse Square, 410 S. 2nd St.; Washington Square West, 263 S. 10th St.
The lowdown: Bodhi means "enlightenment" in Sanskrit, and Bodhi Coffee's co-owners, Tom Henneman and Bob Logue, have taken a zen-like approach to their two Philadelphia coffee houses. The interiors are spare but bright with a simple food menu and a selection of brews that won't intimidate new customers. It's peaceful there, with a little buzz.
Hours: 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday & Sunday.
Backstory: Henneman, who grew up outside Reading, and Logue, a Philly native, crossed paths over the years in town doing contracting work. Henneman, 36, worked for a real-estate developer and found himself unemployed when the recession hit. Then he ran into Logue again.
"He said, 'I've got this project I'm working on near South Street.' Neither of us had ever run a cafe or anything," Henneman said.
That location, on Headhouse Square, opened in 2010 and immediately became a popular destination for neighborhood residents. "The important thing for us is to create a hub," Henneman said. "There was no real place for the community to go."
Together, Henneman and Logue opened the slightly larger Washington Square West location earlier this year.
Ambience: The Washington Square West location takes a minimalist approach, with clean white walls and pale wood floors, with a few pieces of art and plants mixed in. There's ample light from the windows in both seating areas with a little help from a dozen or so vintage filament light bulbs. There's also a small patio out back.
"It's simple," Henneman said.
Beans and machines: There's a few levels of coffee, Henneman said, and at Bodhi, they're aiming for Jedi-level beans, brewed by the best. From Day 1, they've been using Stumptown Coffee out of Portland, and they also use beans from Elixir. They've just begun to experiment roasting their own beans as well, Henneman said.
"I could never imagine a day when we're not using Stumptown, though," he said.
Behind the counter, Bodhi is using a La Marzocco machine for espresso and a Synesso machine for other brews.
The brews: The drink menu doesn't go on forever, and customers don't need a coffee dictionary to understand it, Henneman said. There are Americanos, cappuccinos and cold brews. Though he prefers his coffee black, Henneman said that his baristas are helpful with orders, not judgmental. He cringes at the idea of judgmental baristas.
"Customers are a good thing," he said. "We want them to be happy."
Menu: Henneman and Logue thought long and hard over food at Bodhi - what to include, what to cut back on and, as you'd imagine, they've kept it pretty plain. There are bagels, muffins and scones, and an assortment of bagel sandwiches, including a PB&J with a choice of jams, in the $5 to $6 range.