Philz Coffee, a coffee chain that started in San Francisco, has slowly made its way to Southern California over the last few years. I’m from the bay area, so I was ecstatic (no pun intended) when one opened up in our very own La Jolla Village Square. However, many friends I’ve brought in have been overwhelmed by the amount of choices or thrown off by the ordering style.
Since Philz has been my coffee shop of choice since I was in high school, I’ve picked up some know-hows over the years. Read on to get my full tips on going through the Philz experience as a first-timer.
How To Order
Ordering at Philz is different from other coffee shops, which can trip some people up. Here’s the main flow: You walk in, sometimes wait in a line, then get called up to the bar by the barista who’s going to make your drink. Sidenote: If you bring your own mug, you can get a few cents off!
Philz lets you customize your “cream” and “sweet” options any way you want without an extra charge. Cream options include cream, milk, vanilla soy milk, oat milk, or almond milk. I’m not too sure about sweetener options, but I know they have honey, sugar, and artificial sweeteners.
You can ask for cream and sweetener at four different levels: light, medium, regular, or extra. This is how an order might sound: “a Julie’s Ultimate, sweet and creamy with almond milk.” If you don’t specify the type of sweetener or the type of cream, they’ll default to sugar and milk/cream.
There’s also some shortcuts: “Straight up” means that you want your drink without any cream or sugar, and “Philz way” means that you want it medium cream, medium sweet. If you’re not sure how you’d like your drink, medium is a good place to start, because you can always add more! My go-to is usually “sweet and creamy.”
After you order, you go to a separate window to pay and order any food. Philz is one of the only places I know that does the honesty system of paying; you could very well walk out without paying for your drink, but they trust that you won’t.
Finally, your barista will call your drink out when it’s ready, and they will always let you try your drink and allow you to make any adjustments before you leave so your cup is always perfect.
What To Order
Philz has a lot of drinks on their menu, and it can be difficult to decide what to get! Coffee comes in light, medium, and dark blends — if you’re not sure what you like, keep in mind light blends are the most caffeinated! Read the “notes” underneath each blend to see which tastes you might like, and you can always ask your barista for a recommendation if you’re really stuck.
To help you out, here is a list of my most-frequented drinks and how I usually get them. (Note that you will not see the Mint Mojito on here — while it’s a cult favorite, I never really get it!)
Iced Ecstatic (Sweet & Creamy)
Possibly one of the most caffeinated drinks I’ve ever had; it’s great when you’ve only had four hours of sleep and really need to focus on your research paper that’s due at midnight. I drank this an embarrassing amount in high school, but I would not recommend it for people who are sensitive to caffeine.
Philharmonic (Sweet & Creamy)
I’m a big fan of cardamom, and I think the addition of this spice really makes this drink different, in a good way.
Julie’s Ultimate (Sweet & Creamy)
My go-to coffee order, and my favorite of the dark blends! I usually get this with vanilla soy or almond milk.
Tesora (Sweet & Creamy)
A classic — if you’re not sure what to order, most people will recommend you to start here. There’s no major jarring notes, and it’s just a good cup of coffee overall.
Chai (Sweet & Creamy with Vanilla Soy)
If you’re expecting the sweet, concentrated stuff you’ll get from other coffee shops, this is not it. Philz has a very fresh chai full of cinnamon and topped off with mint — you can even taste the spices at the bottom once you’ve finished your drink.
Yerba Mate (Sweet with Honey)
Slightly smoky and earthy. If you want something caffeinated that’s not coffee, Yerba Mate is your girl.
Honorable mention go to the Herbal Mint Tea, which tastes great iced, and the Philtered Soul.