Philz Coffee serves up sustainability but lacks holiday spirit


Hanna Kryhina

The mocha tesora is a signature Philz drink with medium-blend coffee and chocolate and caramel flavors. It can be optionally garnished with a sprig of mint.

Light jazz music plays, and an ever-changing rhythm beats in the background. 

But the sounds aren’t from a band concert; the music comes from a speaker in the corner, the beat from the fast-typing students and telecommuters. The sounds of milk steaming, pastry bags crinkling, and employees calling out drink orders accompanies this music.

That’s what I heard from inside Philz Coffee, a unique chain of coffee shops with unmistakable flavors like the mocha tesora and mint mojito.

The menu sorted the coffee between roast and which could be made iced, with a separate section for teas. I loved that there was only one price per size, unlike Peet’s Coffee and Tea, where smalls range from $2.30 to $4.55 and Starbucks Coffee, where they’re between $2.15 to $4.45.

At this time of year, I’m always eager to try limited-edition flavors, but Philz left me out of luck. While Starbucks and Peet’s busted out their holiday flavors in early November, the menu at Philz did not offer any peppermint-flavored drinks. 

They didn’t have any decorations either, like at Peet’s, or festive cups, like at Starbucks. It was unfortunate that Philz couldn’t offer me my daily dose of holiday cheer, but, of course, it could give me the caffeine I need to get to get through finals.

I will tip my hat off to Philz for their sustainable choices, though. They don’t sell reusable straws like Starbucks does; however, the company has made other decisions to be more environmentally-friendly. 

Most coffee shops — including both those that don’t make an effort to be more sustainable as well as those that use other methods to reduce waste — serve hot drinks in paper cups and cold drinks in plastic cups. At Philz, all the drinks, hot and iced, are served in paper cups. 

Because of their cup choice, their compostable lids for hot drinks can also be used as “straw-less” lids for iced drinks, an idea that Starbucks has already implemented with regular plastic lids and cups. And, just like at Peet’s, Philz serves their drinks without tops so you can reduce waste if you’re staying to enjoy your drink. 

Philz offers impressive sustainability and unique simplicity, but no seasonal cheer. If you can live without the spices and flavors of this cozy season, Philz can give you everything else your heart desires.