Local Eats

Coffee Craving? La Colombe is Brewing in a Terminal Near You

La Colombe

Q&A with Dan Jafarian, Partner & General Manager

Hold onto your mugs, coffee aficionados — we’re about to spill the beans on the origin story, rise to fame, and flavorful innovations that have made La Colombe a cornerstone in the world of specialty coffee.

It all started in 1994 when coffee visionaries Todd Carmichael and Jean Philippe Iberti founded La Colombe Coffee Roasters, marking the beginning of a brew-tiful journey for the Philly-born coffee brand.

La Colombe didn’t just stop at crafting your regular coffee; they decided to reinvent the cold brew game.

La Colombe’s pioneering canned creation, the draft latte, not only mixed things up in the world of coffee; it also turned the roastery into a household name, capturing hearts far and wide as well as a spot right here at PHL. Discover La Colombe’s newest addition, which recently opened in Terminal F, joining its popular, preexisting counterparts spread across the airport in four unique locations:

Fast forward to today, and La Colombe has long transcended your average corner coffee joint. It’s brewed its way into the hearts of coffee lovers worldwide, proving that life’s too short for mediocre coffee!

La Colombe Food and Coffee

Turning the page from La Colombe’s coffee evolution, let’s delve into the present with an exclusive Q&A session featuring Dan Jafarian, partner and general manager of all five airport locations.

Q: Why do you think it’s essential to have a Philadelphia-native coffee shop at PHL?

DAN: People have grown with La Colombe over the years. They feel like they own a piece of it themselves, whether it is natives who are flying out or landing and getting a taste of home or people who are from out of town who may have seen the draft cans that are on shelves everywhere and didn’t realize that this began as a café.

Q: What makes your menu items “Philly”?

DAN: We get all our baked goods locally: Rockland Bakery, out of New York; LeBus Bakery; Au Fournil, a French bakery on the Main Line [a suburban region of Philadelphia]; and all the coffee is roasted in South Philly. As far as produce, if we can get it locally, we try to.

Q: What are some “fan-favorite” drinks or dishes?

DAN: Draft latte is one thing we’re known for. The owner, Todd, used to give his child whipped cream, and he realized that it was just froth and not exactly plain dairy. He thought, “Why can’t I do this with a latte, where it can keep the same texture as a hot latte but cold, and then can it?”

Q: Are there any menu items exclusive to La Colombe’s PHL locations?

DAN: The acai bowls and smoothies are not streetside. The acai bowls were my idea. My wife loved them, and we wanted to do something different to the menu at our Terminal B location. A friend has a store on the shore where they sell smoothies and acai bowls. I ordered a bunch of stuff online and took it to her house, and she showed me how to make them. So, when we opened in Terminal B, we offered it there, and it did great. Same thing with Terminal C, and in Terminal F. Same thing with Terminal C and now that we’ve opened in Terminal F, we offer it there as well.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about PHL?

DAN: Every day, I never know what’s going to happen. It keeps everything interesting, because we have so much going on here all the time. It’s nice not to have a repetitive thing every day. There’s some really good food here. I love Gachi Sushi, and Currito is good when I want a healthy option for bowls. Bud & Marilyn’s also has delicious food.

Q: What is your favorite interaction with a customer?

DAN: Recently, I was stocking the case at Terminal C, and a family was standing behind waiting in line. A little boy, maybe eight or nine years old, leaned over and asked if I needed any help. His mom had no idea he was going to say that. I offered him and his little sister some apple juice. Of all places, kids get startled in an airport with so much going on. But he just went ahead and asked if I needed help, and I thought that was just really cool.