KLVN coffee shop
KLVN coffee shop.

KLVN Coffee Lab’s name is a nod to Lord Kelvin, a 19th-century British physicist who devised the absolute temperature scale, but the café is the opposite of a sterile experiment.

The space, which opened Feb. 3 at 6600 Hamilton Avenue in Larimer, is 2,700 square feet of industrial chic with Southern Cal vibes.

Owners Jeff Sloan and Will Humphrey started KLVN in 2015 as a wholesale company, distributing coffee to eateries throughout the area. They partnered a network of boutique importers, including Pittsburgh-based Farm to Roast, to bring some of the world’s best single-origin coffee to the Steel City.

KLVN coffee shop
KLVN Coffee Lab. Photo by Tracy Certo.

Beans from Honduras, Ethiopia, Guatemala and Mexico go into the company’s Probat UG 15 roaster, which brings out their full, natural flavor. Like Kelvin’s first law of thermodynamics states, energy is neither created nor destroyed, but transformed from one form to another.

“It’s coffee that is really thoughtfully sourced and tastes like the place where it came from,” Humphrey says.

The coffee roaster at KLVN.

The Yukro sourced from Ethiopia has taste notes of orange blossom, Rainier cherry and white peach while in the Jerusalén from Honduras, there are hints of yellow nectarine, graham cracker and apricot. Patrons can order lattes, mochas and cappuccinos and pair them with pastries from Five Points Artisan Bakeshop, Mediterra Bakehouse and The Butterwood Bake Consortium (Butterwood’s Ally Slayden also makes KLVN’s ceramic mugs).

KLVN, which has two large garage doors that open up to Hamilton Avenue and is just a few blocks from East End Brewing Company, will soon host pop-up dinners and live music events. (The acoustics in the former furniture warehouse are great. Vintage Dynaco speakers emit tunes from vinyl records and digital files.)

The business partners take regular trips abroad to visit the coffee producers they feature at KLVN, bringing their globe-trotting experience to customers’ mugs.

They believe Pittsburgh’s collective thirst for craft beverages bodes well for their company.

“I thought it was a fun, positive fertile ground where we could embark on creative project,” says Sloan, who hails from Santa Rosa, Calif.

He got his start in the industry at Golden State institutions such as Blue Bottle Coffee and RoastCo Specialty Coffee Roasters and brought that West Coast sensibility to Pittsburgh.

“There’s a vacation feel in here for sure,” Sloan says. “A lot of specialty coffee is over-serious. It’s our reaction against that.”

Photo courtesy of KLVN Coffee Lab.

Kristy Locklin is a North Hills-based writer. When she's not busy reporting, she enjoys watching horror movies and exploring Pittsburgh's craft beer scene.