In the early 1800s, shot towers revolutionized ammunition-making techniques by affording artisans the ability to create perfectly round musket balls. Taking a queue from this pioneering effort, the modern marvels at Queen Village’s Shot Tower Coffee, carry on this namesake in the form of a perfectly-balanced cup of joe, sourced from sustainably-minded Counter Culture Coffee.
Located in the Queen Village section of Philadelphia, with a wall of windows lining its prime corner location, Shot Tower offers up a quiet, comfortable retreat from the pandemonium of nearby South Street. Boasting an open, minimalist decor (conveniently Fido-friendly), it’s easy to see why Shot Tower has quickly become a local favorite. We met up with master barista Tomás Diaz for a quick chat to get his take on what makes the Tower tick.
What got you into coffee?
I grew to love espresso at a café I worked at during college because it was the only drink I had time to enjoy during my ten minute breaks. After working in a few different industries after school, I decided that I wanted to have a job where I was proud of what I was making every day. That’s when I applied to work at Stumptown.
What’s your favorite/specialty drink to make?
Espresso, if it’s tasting good. If not, a macchiato because of its cuteness.
What sets your shop apart from the rest?
Shot Tower has a tangible sense of community. Most specialty coffee shops don’t.
What are the most important elements of a good coffee shop?
I used to evaluate coffee shops only by their coffee quality, but now I look for something else… the unquantifiable human element that makes a shop unique and can’t be commodified. As a professional, however, I’d say: comfortable seating, drink quality, overall aesthetics.
What’s your favorite neighborhood spot?
Tortilleria San Roman. Nothing beats a warm corn tortilla.
Why do you love working at Shot Tower?
I get to meet great people and drink delicious coffee every day. There’s a lot of natural light, too.
What’s your favorite type of music to play at the shop?
Coffee is best enjoyed with…
All five senses.
Introduction. Natalie Opsitnick
Images. Lendl Tellington
Ambience. Shot Tower Coffee | 542 Christian St, Philadelphia, PA 19147