Ever feel like your coffeehouse cool is blown once you get up to the register and see an option other than drip? Still think espresso has an 'X' somewhere in it? Well, you're in luck, java novices -- a local coffee connoisseur has started a noble mission to teach everyone all they need to know about coffee tasting, roasting, growing, and preparation.
Perry Czopp of the Coffee Chop has begun offering customized tours of local cafes, roasters, equipment stores, and even some historical coffee sites to immerse groups in Arizona's coffee culture. While each tour is customized to the group's coffee know-how, some common spots to hit up are:
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The tours are led by professionals in the coffee industry and feature meet-and-greets with each spot's baristas, roaster, and owner. Plus you get to taste the wares at each coffee joint -- that's a lotta latte, so these tours are not for the faint of heart. Tour-goers are encouraged to sample the baked goods at the cafes in order to keep the caffeine jitters at a minimum. Half-day tours cost $300 and full-day excursions are $500.
In addition to coffee tours and tastings, Coffee Chop runs latte art competitions in the Valley, bringing coffee industry-types, pro-baristas and java nerds together to learn the tricks of steamed milk and espresso. The next competition takes place at one of our nine best new restaurants, Crepe Bar, at 7 p.m. Friday, January 25.