Cougar Coffee Trail: A visit to Zeke’s Coffee

By Iris and Jade Marzolf

With the fall term well underway, many students have caffeine flowing through their veins on a daily basis. Papers, projects and exams sometimes call for late nights and early mornings. Where else besides Café Rachel can Chatham students get a caffeine fix in the city?

This fall, Pittsburgh landed on WalletHub’s list of best coffee cities in the country, coming in at №18 out of 50. We embarked on a quest to find coffee locations near the Shadyside campus to which students could easily walk.

Our first stop was Zeke’s Coffee (6015 Penn Ave., East Liberty) — a 15 to 20-minute walk from Chatham. There is limited street parking and parallel parking skills would be put to the test. Doors open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. On Sundays, hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. The interior is small, but not cramped. It has indoor and outdoor seating. The atmosphere is modern yet rustic, infinitely more relaxed than other coffee places we visited. As a study area, Zeke’s is not too noisy — perfect for concentrating.

It sells fair-trade coffee, featuring both exotic and conventional blends. For pastries and sandwiches, it has vegetarian and gluten-free options. The standard beverage menu can be found online at, along with a specialty menu that changes seasonally.

The barista was very happy to talk to us. All the beans are roasted around the corner. (Zeke’s also has a drive-thru location on Broad Street, just two minutes away from the coffeehouse, which doubles as the roastery.) She recommended the Sleepy Hollow, a seasonal creation of Tipu Chai, pumpkin spice sauce and steamed milk with Zeke’s Rustbuilt Espresso. Another favorite is the Mexican Hot Chocolate, which is Zeke’s signature mocha blended with cayenne, vanilla and cinnamon and topped with vanilla whip and a sprinkling of cinnamon.

If you think those sound mouthwatering, read on. We tried the banana bread. It was moist, fine-textured and dense (but not too heavy) with semi-crispy outer edges and hints of cinnamon and vanilla. It was a thick slice of perfection, even better than our mom’s homemade banana bread. (Sorry, Mom).

Zeke’s Coffee is a cozy spot to sip espresso and nibble on a pastry while studying or simply taking a break. If you’re looking for a chill place to hang out or you’re interested in trying some quality vegan/gluten-free baked goods, Zeke’s is the place for you. It was only the first of five places we visited, so check out the next issue of the Communiqué to read about the other coffee shops we discovered.