Best Coffee House, Tempe - 2010
Cartel Coffee Lab
The competition for best coffee house is steep in Tempe, but really, for us there's no contest. We love Cartel first and foremost for its wicked-strong espresso — more than worth the laughably long wait — and then for the vibe. You won't find anything frap-like here, no smoothies or even much in the way of food. Just coffee and the people who love it. We also love the industrial-inspired furnishings, the changing art exhibits (lately we've fallen for the rickrack/strawberry basket ensemble hanging from the ceiling) and the chance to run into some of our favorite folks in town, which inevitably happens on a visit to Cartel's Tempe outpost.