Liz Kastein fell in love with Pittsburgh over multiple cups of coffee.
The Ohio transplant made instant connections with people and places by visiting cafes throughout the city, including Adda Coffee & Tea House in Shadyside.
“My understanding of coffee changed when I moved to Pittsburgh,” she says. “There’s a strong coffee community here.”
Kastein, 29, of Etna, got a job at Adda shortly after it opened in 2016 and now manages the company’s newly opened second location on Western Avenue on the North Side.
Like its South Highland Avenue predecessor, the new space — which opened Dec. 21 — offers a bright, colorful and inviting atmosphere where people can chat with friends old and new while sipping a hot beverages.
“Adda,” after all, is a Bengali word that means to engage in friendly conversation and also refers to the place where that interaction happens.
Owner Sukanta Nag, a native of Bangladesh, is passionate about craft coffee and tea, and brings the finest products to Pittsburgh while also selling locally made fare and items, such mugs from Bombabird Ceramics.
Adda’s coffee roaster is Verve. Based in Santa Cruz, California, the company uses vintage roasters and works closely with farmers to ensure seed-to-cup quality. The West Coast coffee is a rarity in this area, as is the nationally renowned Rishi Tea, which Adda also serves. Kastein is excited for Pittsburghers to try them.
While lattes are the big seller in Shadyside, North Side customers are partial to pourover coffee.
Hand-pouring allows the barista to control the intensity and acidity of each cup of joe. And while it takes a bit longer to prepare than regular drip coffee (just under five minutes), Kastein says it’s worth the wait.
Folks can pair their drink with food from Peppi’s — located across the street — or another nearby restaurant. A selection of grab-and-go eats is available in-house, including pastries from Garfield-based Gluten Free Goat Bakery & Cafe, and candy bars from S.K. Frey Chocolates & Confections. The candy bars are made locally in small batches exclusively for Adda, highlighting flavors from different parts of the world.
But Adda does more than give folks a caffeine fix; it aims to educate them while bettering the community.
Each month, both cafes highlight a spot on the globe, offering coffees and teas, treats and artwork from that particular region. During a recent celebration of Japan, for instance, Adda hosted a sake tasting event. In addition to raising cultural awareness, Adda donates money to a local charity, such as the Tree of Life Foundation, and one charity from each designated place.
Open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, Adda’s North Side spot will host numerous events throughout the coming year, including a Mother’s Day High Tea and, when weather permits, dog-friendly gatherings on the rear porch. Adda staff members are open to event suggestions, as well.
“The North Side community itself is going to decide what this place is like,” Kastein says. “There are so many different personalities in this neighborhood and people coming from the stadiums and museums. They are setting the speed for what this place looks like day-to-day.”