10 Best Coffeehouses in Metro Phoenix

This gorgeous cappuccino was one of many we've enjoyed at Giant Coffee. Trust us: It was as beautiful on the inside as it was on the outside.EXPAND
This gorgeous cappuccino was one of many we've enjoyed at Giant Coffee. Trust us: It was as beautiful on the inside as it was on the outside.
Zaida Dedolph

It's been a great year for the Phoenix coffee scene. A handful of promising new shops have opened and already are raising the bar for coffee service in our city. Meanwhile, many of our old favorites are still going strong. We made our picks for this list based on three crucial coffeehouse criteria: beverage tastiness, service quality, and ambiance. 

Let’s see which local coffeehouses made the cut.

Giant Coffee serves beans from San Francisco-based Four Barrel Coffee Roasters. Giant's commitment to quality ingredients keeps us coming back.EXPAND
Giant Coffee serves beans from San Francisco-based Four Barrel Coffee Roasters. Giant's commitment to quality ingredients keeps us coming back.
Zaida Dedolph

Giant Coffee
This shop, from the owners of Matt’s Big Breakfast, delivers the same simple elegance and commitment to quality ingredients that we’ve come to love from Matt’s. At Giant, it’s the little things that count the most. It makes the most of its straightforward ingredients, from the only lightly homogenized Straus Creamery “barista milk” (which gives the lattes a signature buttery sweetness) to the 24 Blackbirds Chocolate, which makes Giant's mochas perfectly chocolatey but not too sweet. Giant’s housemade pastries take the cake and are the perfect accompaniment to coffee from San Francisco-based Four Barrel Coffee. But the coffee can’t take all the credit: Giant’s baristas ensure that each drink is crafted perfectly or they don’t serve it. And to top it all off, the shop’s atmosphere is as clean, classic, and honest as its drinks. Giant’s airy, sunny space is beautiful and clean, which makes it a great place to meet friends, enjoy a breakfast burrito, or get a little work done. 

A selection of creative drinks, like nitrous cold brew and coconut-infused iced coffee, is one of many reasons we love Peixoto Coffee.EXPAND
A selection of creative drinks, like nitrous cold brew and coconut-infused iced coffee, is one of many reasons we love Peixoto Coffee.
Zaida Dedolph

Peixoto Coffee
Chandler-based Peixoto is one of many newly opened shops on this list, but the cafe’s service and product quality reflect a sense of maturity. The shop primarily roasts and serves coffee from owner Julia Peixoto Peters’ family farm in Brazil, but it does make a few exceptions, featuring beans from other regions around the world. Where Peixoto has truly succeeded, in a way that arguably no other local shop has, is in educating consumers about how coffee makes its way from crop to cup. Photos around the shop feature coffee fruit ripening, being harvested, and being processed, and a simple painted map on one of the shop’s exposed brick walls puts things in a geographic perspective. Peixoto Coffee is working hard to introduce Brazilian culture, coffee, and cuisine to the East Valley by offering authentic pastries and Bossa Nova music nights. The shop also has stayed in touch with national specialty coffee trends, bringing fun items like nitrous cold brew and iced cascara to the local scene. 

Maverick Coffee has been open for only a few weeks, but we're already hooked on its fun décor and great service.EXPAND
Maverick Coffee has been open for only a few weeks, but we're already hooked on its fun décor and great service.
Zaida Dedolph

Maverick Coffee
This delightful Scottsdale shop just opened in June, but we’ve been blown away by what we’ve seen from them so far. Two of Maverick Coffee’s owners are Olympic-caliber athletes — and the shop's baristas' execution is every bit as disciplined, yet artful, as you might expect. The shop, which sells coffee from San Francisco-based Ritual Coffee Roasters, pairs a relaxed atmosphere with immaculate coffee preparation. The service is friendly and knowledgeable, but they do without any kind of pretentious coffee-shop air; the staff aren’t afraid to have a little fun. Every Friday, for example, customers are encouraged to challenge their barista to a game of Rock, Paper Scissors and if the customer wins, they get their coffee for free. Specialty food items such as savory Australian-style pies give this shop a unique edge when it comes to snacks. We give Maverick Coffee a perfect 10, and we can’t wait to see where the shop takes things from here. 

King Coffee's X factor is what makes the shop great. It also has amazing espresso affogatos, which make us love King even more.
King Coffee's X factor is what makes the shop great. It also has amazing espresso affogatos, which make us love King even more.
Zaida Dedolph

King Coffee
Yet another newcomer that has already commanded our attention, King Coffee is a Tempe-area shop with that special, indescribable something. The cafe isn’t the fanciest one on this list. It’s definitely not the best-designed. And it’s certainly not the most spacious. But there’s something about this pint-sized cafe that we just adore. Maybe it brings us back to our college days; King Coffee certainly has all the hallmarks of a casual college-town cafe (artwork made by some dude’s friend? Hand-drawn posters for local house shows? Yes and yes.) But contrary to the classic college coffee shop ethos, King doesn’t slack when it comes to quality. King Coffee’s staff do a great job with beans from local roaster Cortez Coffee. And as if that wasn’t enough, they are always warm and welcoming — you won’t find any disaffected, grumbly college baristas at this shop. What this shop lacks in square footage it makes up for in atmosphere, friendliness, and coffee fit for a king.

It's hard to choose a favorite Cartel location, but we are particularly fond of its downtown Phoenix cafe.
It's hard to choose a favorite Cartel location, but we are particularly fond of its downtown Phoenix cafe.
Zaida Dedolph

Cartel Coffee Lab (Downtown Phoenix location)
We had a hard time picking a favorite Cartel Coffee location — after all, the roaster has built a small empire in metro Phoenix and Tucson, and each of the shops has a unique feel to fit its neighborhood and surroundings. Each of Cartel’s locations are great in their own way, but we’re particularly partial to the downtown Phoenix locale. Fun decorations, including a wall partition made of bicycle wheels and a colorful, low-hanging chandelier, make the space’s open design and sleek, industrial interior a bit more welcoming. This particular store attracts a more mature audience than their college student-dominated Tempe and Tucson stores, and serves as a truly underrated Downtown Phoenix third space. We’ve always been thrilled with our coffee drinks at this location, and recent partnerships with Phoenix Public Market Cafe and Kaleidoscope Juice have put plenty of great healthy options (and some delicious pastries) within reach. 

Rollover Donuts' cute, kiosk-style location has plenty of indoor and outdoor seating.EXPAND
Rollover Donuts' cute, kiosk-style location has plenty of indoor and outdoor seating.
Zaida Dedolph

Rollover Donuts
When we heard that our favorite hidden gem, Shine Coffee, was being sold, we were understandably concerned. As it turns out we had absolutely no reason to fret. The team behind Short Leash Hot Dogs has rebranded the cute kiosk as a doughnut shop called Rollover and have managed to keep the shop’s quaint, neighborhood charm, quality coffee — and super friendly staff. The only real change has been the addition of great doughnuts, coffee’s favorite friend. We certainly aren’t mad at that. There’s just so much to love about Rollover. It’s basically a secret treasure for local coffee lovers. It’s accessible, but privately tucked away from the rest of the hullabaloo on Central. The spacious seating area is quiet, comfortable, and adorably simple. And the drinks, prepared with coffee from Press Coffee Roasters and milk from Danzeisen Dairy, are exactly the impetus we need to roll over and out of bed in the morning.

Royal Coffee's vibrant, well-balanced coffees taste great brewed hot or cold.EXPAND
Royal Coffee's vibrant, well-balanced coffees taste great brewed hot or cold.
Zaida Dedolph

Royal Coffee Bar (Heritage Square location)
Royal Coffee’s clean, balanced roasts and stellar execution make visiting any of its locations a treat. Not only do they roast some incredible beans, Royal’s baristas are welcoming and extremely talented at preparing their product. This is definitely a haven for local coffee aficionados. We’re pretty much in love with Press' espresso blend; sweet, clean, and impeccably balanced, it never ceases to disappoint. The Heritage Square location makes incredible use of a small space — it’s no surprise that owner Hayes McNeil lives a double life as an architect. The Heritage Square location is fastidiously designed, but not at all fussy. This little shop’s simple, gnarled wooden tables and funky wall hangings pack a huge punch when it comes to decor. Royal’s roaster takes up a fair amount of the space, so interested parties can watch the coffee magic happen. Transparency, fantastic coffee, and great design all make Royal Coffee a gem.

Altitude Coffee's roasting is done in full view of its customers.
Altitude Coffee's roasting is done in full view of its customers.
Zaida Dedolph

Altitude Coffee Lab
Scottsdale’s Altitude Coffee Lab is a classic coffee shop in every sense. This big, breezy shop offers great service and ample seating in a casual environment. We especially love the patio — it’s big, beautiful, secluded, and peaceful. With such a great cafe atmosphere, it’s no wonder they were our pick for Best Coffeehouse in 2014. But it takes more than a great space to impress us: we want to taste the quality, and Altitude hasn’t let us down yet. The shop roasts their own beans in house, in full view of their dedicated following, and the shop’s owners aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty behind the bar. The shop serves a variety of delicious foods and creative pastries, from simple snacks to full meals (European-style pastry cones are a nice and unique touch). All in all, Altitude coffee is nothing more or less than a great, classic coffee house.

Press Coffee's Tempe location at Skywater Apartments has all the clean design features of its other stores, but with a little bit more fun and funkiness.EXPAND
Press Coffee's Tempe location at Skywater Apartments has all the clean design features of its other stores, but with a little bit more fun and funkiness.
Zaida Dedolph

Press Coffee (Skywater Apartments location)
Press Coffee’s newest location has been quick to win our hearts. Located on the ground floor of Tempe’s Skywater Apartments, this particular cafe is (yet another) commendable accomplishment from one of our favorite local roasters. The big, open space has plenty of seating and brings a few fun and funky elements to the clean, modern design we’ve come to appreciate from Press’ other locations. Cobalt blue walls highlight the roaster’s recently re-designed logo, while quirky decorations like vintage alarm clocks give the space a charming and playful air. We've never been disappointed by Press’ unique, regionally-centric coffees, and despite its newness, the Skywater cafe delivers the same impressive execution we’ve come to expect at Press’s other locations. The company truly roasts the perfect cup for anyone’s tastes. And if you aren’t sure what you like, the shop's friendly and knowledgeable baristas will be more than happy to help you find it. 

Songbird Coffee's iced drinks are always on point.
Songbird Coffee's iced drinks are always on point.
Zaida Dedolph

Songbird Coffee & Tea
We once described Songbird Coffee & Tea as “a living Pinterest board” — high praise, in our book. That sentiment still stands, and has only grown stronger since the shop relocated to a quaint new downtown location. In April, Songbird Coffee & Tea moved from Roosevelt Row (inside monOrchid Gallery) to a historic Third Street house. The move has brought more seating (both indoor and outdoor) and an exterior to match the shop’s quirky, fun décor. We like a coffee shop that isn’t afraid to experiment a little, and experiment Songbird does — with pop-up food vendors, new pastries, and of course, crazy coffee drinks. But that doesn’t mean they’re not committed to quality. Songbird recently pared down its old menu to focus on the basics: making great drinks with Cortez Coffee Roasters beans. Drinks prepared well by people who seem to enjoy preparing them? We are completely on board with that idea. 


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