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Coffee in The Veins

Niven Sabherwal has been working in the coffee industry since she was a teenager, including stints with Tim Hortons, Starbucks, and now 10 years at Allegheny Coffee & Tea in the Strip District. So just as guests might jokingly ask for a hit of coffee directly in their veins, it’s already in hers!

“It’s really been eye-opening,” says Sabherwal, who serves as the shop’s Customer Experience Manager, “and there’s so much to learn all the time. [Coffee’s] not something you’ll ever know all of, which I think is the best part. It’s been a beautiful learning experience getting to know the customers who come in, whether I see them once or every day.”

Sabherwal calls the evolution of the Strip District “a steady change over time.” Because she’s been with the company so long, she’s seen the Penn Avenue coffee shop survive the real estate developments popping up, and of course, a global pandemic.

“We lost all the offices down here, which were all our regulars, but now we’re getting a lot more people who live down here getting coffee and tea and things for their home. It’s nice to see a lot of fresh faces.”

But even though there are a lot of new residents, the Strip provides a lot of familiar ones, as she calls the neighborhood “a big family.” Every December, she loves participating in Best Buddies Pittsburgh Tastebuds event, which last year was held just a few blocks down from the shop at the David Lawrence Convention Center.

a store inside of a building“It’s a big tasting benefit for Best Buddies, and they usually have a few dozen chefs from around the city. My buddy and I do hot chocolate and coffee and tea for the event. It’s really fun. We refer to our buddies as our sous chefs, since they are the ones usually plating and getting things ready. It’s a beautiful event.”

Allegheny Coffee & Tea roasts everything in house and includes a selection of 10 nitro coffees as well. You might even spy some of their roasts at your other favorite haunts around the city.

“Sometimes we outsource to other restaurants, so they’ll buy wholesale beans or they’ll get nitro to put on tap at their restaurants, which is really nice, to spread the vibe all over town.”

Sabherwal says the camaraderie among the businesses is amazing, and while some folks might have been apprehensive about the developments in the Strip District, the changes have increased the foot traffic.

“People have more things to do on the other side of Smallman, and then people can also check out the riverfront trail which I think people forget about sometimes. Enjoy the nice weather when we have it!”

And you can always take a cup of fresh coffee to go — Saberherwal will be more than happy to help you.
“Working in this industry gives me an opportunity to practice my social and listening skills and help guests find their perfect cup. It’s really fulfilling. My goal is to make sure people leave here happy. I want them to find something they’re really going to love.”

Host your next meeting or morning event at our NEW event space at Bold Escape Rooms, and let our friends at Allegheny Coffee & Tea provide all the caffeine you need! Contact us to make your next event unforgettable.