Coffee, coffee, coffee – the magical elixir that facilitates thinking, adulting, and creating! One of my favorite past times is exploring coffee shops, both at home and on the road and for the past several months, I’ve been conducting a local(ish) tour of area coffee shops.
I drove all over the valley (Valley of the Sun, that is) and drank a barrel of coffee and all of that sacrifice (wink) was in pursuit of this very blog post. Covering eight different municipalities (Glendale, Phoenix, Scottsdale Ahwatukee, Tempe, Gilbert, Chandler, Mesa), using two tanks of gas, and having several sleepless nights from too much caffeine, I’ve narrowed the list down to my favorite coffee houses in metro Phoenix. Please keep in mind that my choices were based on:
Atmosphere – What is the ‘vibe’ of the place? How easy is it to order? Is it the sort of place I want to linger?
Coffee – I like plain black, sweet coffee. I don’t want the double axel with the triple lindy dismount of coffees. I just want well-brewed coffee, which is what my taste experiences are based on. I did not try any of the “fancy” coffee drinks.
Edibles – Coffee as a social or singularly social (being alone near others) event should include yummy nibbles like pastries and bread-like things, at the very least.
There are a TON of other options all over the valley but, based on the criteria above, here are my choices in alphabetical order.
Bergies Coffee – Gilbert. This may be the quaintest (in a good way) coffee shop in the state. Bergies combines true coffee passion with an adorable cottage, and perfect outdoor seating area making for a delightful visit any time of the year. Small-batches, roasted by the owners, the coffee delivers taste, punch, and all the happiness a great cup of coffee delivers!!
Of all the shops on my list, Bergies strikes me as the “coffee-ist” with their wide variety of well-brewed drinks, live music (most weekends) and artisanal feel of the whole beans they sell. The only negative to Bergies is that it is not attached to my house!!
Black Rock Coffee – multiple locations in several western states but I visited the Chandler/Ocotillo shop. This is the ONLY chain store on my list. I shy away from establishments like Starbucks and Dutch Bros., not because I think they are the evil empire but because I like to support smaller local businesses. Black Rock is the exception due largely to the excellent cup of coffee I had, the comfortable clean environment and the lack of aggressively hip beanie wearers.
The Steel Bridge dark roast is a standout brew. Rich and nutty, without an bitterness. The downsides to Black Rock are the lack of pastry choices, slight corporate feel, and acoustics that allowed me to hear every conversation in the place, whether I wanted to, or not. Still, a solid choice for coffee just be sure to BYOD (bring your own doughnut)!
Buzzberry Bistro – Scottsdale. This is way more bistro than coffee shop but, boy howdy, do they do coffee and cake right! The coffee is excellent, using locally roasted small-batch grounds. Their selection of homemade baked goods make this almost a destination coffee shop – as in, I will drive 45 minutes for a cup o’ joe.
Buzzberry offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner including daily dinner specials. The decor can be described as funky but appealing, like flea market chic. It always feels chaotic like that overly-caffeinated friend who is never quite pulled together, would do anything for you, and gives the best hugs. It is now on my agenda for anytime I find myself in Scottsdale.
The Cutting Board Bakery & Cafe – Mesa. The only vegan option on my list, The Cutting Board has a great menu and delicious coffee. The Santa Monica french toast is artfully presented and so GOOD! The American coffee is classic restaurant coffee, hot and rich. Besides their commitment to whole, locally sourced food the qualities that really earned The Cutting Board a spot on my list are the community-building things they do like the art installations, monthly open mic nights, and speakers they host.
The interior doesn’t invite lingering over a hot drink and a laptop, which is the only drawback in my opinion. Definitely worth a visit, even if you aren’t in the mood for coffee. Be sure to try the Breakfast Burrito and the Soul-ful Bowl….both are STANDOUT vegan options!
There you have it – the results of my caffeinated treasure hunt. What about you? Do you have a favorite place for coffee in your neck of the woods? Any special place you go for coffee and cake? Let me know in the comments!