Philz Coffee

I’m always on the lookout for new cafes, so I was absolutely psyched to see that a Philz Coffee location was in San Jose. It’s a coffee chain in San Francisco (but, you know, like a hip one and junk) that’s renowned for its amazing coffee. What’s unusual about Philz Coffee is that the coffees aren’t listed with the typical names like “latte” or “cappuccino,” but instead have (non-descriptive) names with paragraph-long flavor descriptions on the menu. Of course, this made ordering really hard, especially since people stand in front of the menu (which is at leg-level). But the “sweet tooth” description of the “philtered soul” drink drew me in — and WOW. That is officially my most favorite drink in the world: hazelnut coffee with cream and sugar and some secret magical ingredient.


Philz Coffee
118 Paseo de san Antonio
San Jose, CA 95112


12 thoughts on “Philz Coffee

  1. your pictures always have this super sharp focus that reminds me of something a leica would take. enviable! i feel like mine always end up soft or something. do you usually stop down the lens?

  2. Thanks to you both!

    @ Alice: Thanks! I’m kind of OCD about focusing. I’m at f/1.4 as often as possible, but for landscapes or “scene” shots, or when focusing on things that are far away, I usually go anywhere from 1.8 – 5.6. But if I want bokeh and/or am close to my subject (like these shots), then I never go above 2.8 (usually at 1.4). But even then, I have 2 things I do that really help with sharpness:
    1) back button focusing (huuuge help in accuracy of focusing, especially on the 5d, which doesn’t have a great AF system)
    2) “slice like a ninja” sharpening action from TRA actions. That is a free action — if you just register for a “sample” of their actions or something, they’ll send you 5 actions, and this sharpening action is one of them. It’s the best one I’ve ever seen because it sharpens subtly and brightens the picture at the same time.
    Hope that helps! :)

    • Thanks for sharing your focusing tips. My pictures are always too soft and ,like Alice, admires the sharpness you can produce. I wish my friends have the patience to sit with me at cafés like that.

  3. I just had a Filtered Soul this past weekend! My favorite is still the Turkish, though. That hint of cardamom gets me every time! On a hot day, make SURE to have the Mojito Iced…heck, have it on a cold day. It’s that good. Bridget has actually tried every single coffee on the menu, and Filtered Soul and So Good are at the top of her list…oh man, I think we need a coffee intervention….

    Oh, and I’m with you on the preferred aperture. I love shooting wide open =P

  4. When reading your post, I always learn of new and exciting places while seeing the brilliance of your work. You really do have an amazing eye for photography. Wonderful shots.

  5. Great shots of Philz Coffee; I can almost smell that brew! I love their SOMA location and am now glad to know they have a San Jose branch. Their Coffee Ambrosia of God is my favorite.

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