Philz Coffee: From San Diego to Evanston

An overlook of the barista counter from the waiting line, with a complete display of the menu.

By Eiman Navaid and Julie Abelson

Starting in San Diego, Philz Coffee has quickly become one of the most well-known coffee shops in L.A. Influencers such as Emma Chamberlain and the Dolan Twins have made it their go-to coffee shop. Although it is one of the most well-known and trendy coffee shops in the country, it is only located in five cities: San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Washington D.C, and now, Chicago.

Philz Coffee has four locations in Chicago: Wicker Park, Hyde Park, Lincoln Park, and, most recently, Evanston.¬†After it’s opening in Oct. of 2019, we have made Philz our go-to coffee shop despite the 15-20 minute drive from the Niles Township area. We went to the Philz Coffee located on 1030 Davis St, Evanston.

It’s one thing to quickly grab a Starbucks or a Dunkin coffee from the nearest stop by your house, but going to Philz is a whole other feeling. When walking in, you can sense the difference and the uniqueness it carries. It gives off the “local coffee shop” vibes, with its colorful and woodsy interior. It’s also significantly larger than your classic Starbucks and Dunkin, with a large group study table with small booths on one side, and a lounge area and meeting tables on the other.

The coffee from Philz is perhaps the most carefully handcrafted cup we’ve ever had. When you take your first sip in front of the barista to make sure there’s nothing extra that needs to be added, it just doesn’t feel the same as when you get a Starbucks macchiato or a Dunkin iced coffee. Philz doesn’t have basic coffee, but they have unique flavors, each one having its own specialty.

The first drink we ever tried from Philz was their Mint Mojito, which, on the menu, is described as “fresh mint, sweet, and creamy” and that’s exactly how the drink felt, it was perfect for a good fall day. The iced Dancing Water is one of their most popular drinks as it happens to be Youtuber Emma Chamberlain‘s go-to. As described on the menu, it has a flavor of “milk chocolate, grains, and cashew.” While that might sound like a weird combination, it is a perfect light blend that gives you just what you need to get you through the day.

We’ve also tried the hot version of Tesora, which is the perfect sweet, creamy, and flavorful drink for a cold winter day. The Philharmonic is similar, with a bit more of a fall vibe with its cardamom and maple flavor. The Philtered Soul is like a chocolatey version of the Tesora. We also tried Julie’s Ultimate, which has a toasted berry and vanilla taste, as described on the menu. The drink was good, and it was nothing like what we’ve tasted before. All of these drinks are not something you can find in a Starbucks or a Dunkin. They are unique to Philz, and you can feel it while you drink.

Philz also has a wide selection of food, ranging from breakfast bagels to lunch sandwiches and, of course, bakery items. We tried the Philz bagel, which had cream cheese, cucumbers, and tomatoes. We thought the sandwich on the everything bagel was fantastic; although, there was a bit too much cream cheese.

Another important thing to note about Philz is the price of their drinks. Before visiting, we expected to spend a good amount on their coffee as it is extremely well-known and only in selective locations. However, the prices at Philz are less expensive. A small drink at Philz costs $3.60, which is less than the average cost of a small at Starbucks, which is $4. A medium costs $4.60 compared to the average $5 at Starbucks, and large costs $5.25 as opposed to the average $6 at Starbucks. Although it’s not that large of a price difference, it makes a great deal as the quality of the coffee is much better.

Another perk of Philz is being able to add extra cream/sugar/sweetener/flavor at no cost. After your drink is ready at the counter, the baristas ask you to try it automatically. If you feel you want more of something in your drink, or you want it to be more balanced, you can ask them, and they will fix it for you right away, and, as many times as you need them to. Starbucks, on the other hand, charges extra for any addition to your drink.

Overall, we would definitely recommend making Philz your go-to coffee shop, especially if you live closer to the Evanston area. Philz allows you to save a great deal of money on coffee that is unique and significantly better in quality than your usual coffee-chains; therefore, we would give this cafe a rate of a ten out of a ten.