We've spent the last year in the laboratory putting Phoenix under the microscope to reveal hundreds of specimens of the best culture, outdoor adventures, shopping, dining, and nightlife the city has to offer. And we're finally ready to publish our results. Nerd alert! Now presenting Scientific Phoenix.
Need a jolt of caffeine? Before you head to Circle K, keep in mind that not all caffeine is created equal. If you have a more refined taste when it comes to coffee, espresso, and the like, check out our eight picks for the best coffee houses in greater Phoenix. Sip and enjoy.
Best Coffee House, Central Phoenix: Carmel's Coffee & Bakery
We were sold on this quaint and cozy coffee shop the second that designer-turned-barista Pat Flanagan opened the doors of his freshly remodeled spot last spring. The warm interior and interesting artwork begs you to take a few minutes out of your day to stay and enjoy a cup of freshly brewed coffee (beans courtesy of Lux). Read the full Best of Phoenix 2012 story on Carmel's Coffee & Bakery.
Best Coffee House, North Phoenix: Matador Coffee Roasting
This strip-mall gem serves hot cups of fresh-brewed coffee from its skillfully roasted beans along with sweet housemade pastries. Matador strives to roast only the best beans daily, giving each and every cup of coffee or shot of espresso an extra kick of flavor to start your caffeinated day on the right foot. Read the full Best of Phoenix 2012 story on Matador Coffee.
Best Coffee House, South Phoenix: Cupz N' Crepes
Crepes and coffee go together like peanut butter and jelly, David Lee Roth and Van Halen, or vodka and Red Bull. Without one, the other is lonely and incomplete. Thankfully, Cupz N' Crepes is keeping the coffee-and-crepe team together at its Paris-inspired shop in Ahwatukee. Read the full Best of Phoenix 2012 story on Cupz N' Crepes.
Best Coffee House, West Valley: Elevate Coffee Co.
A good West Valley coffee shop isn't easy to come by -- so many we've loved have shut their doors and taken their sweet coffee drinks and free Wi-Fi with them. Thank goodness we've been blessed with Elevate Coffee Co. The modern coffee shop is inviting, with lots of cozy nooks in which to relax with a hot latte and a good book or sit at one of the sleek tables with a laptop, a java chip frappe, and a Southwest turkey sandwich during lunch. Read the full Best of Phoenix 2012 story on Elevate Coffee Co.
Best Coffee House, Downtown Phoenix: Lola Coffee
All of the sudden, there's a lot of coffee competition on Roosevelt Row. But for us, there's no contest. Fresh house-roasted beans, an in-house bakery, an omelet bar, and a beautiful selection of rotating artwork are just a few reasons why Lola is our go-to downtown coffee shop. Read the full Best of Phoenix 2012 story on Lola Coffee.
Best Coffee House, Southeast Valley: The Coffee Shop
On the grounds of Agritopia (home of Joe's Farm Grill) in Gilbert, The Coffee Shop is a sanctuary from run-of-the-mill strip-mall coffee joints. Set in a beautifully repurposed maintenance garage, the spacious modern building has tons of natural light and plenty of seating. Read the full Best of Phoenix 2012 story on The Coffee Shop.
Best Coffee House, Tempe: Cartel Coffee Lab
When Cartel Coffee Lab opened its doors in 2007, it changed the game for coffee shops across the state. In Arizona, roasting beans was unheard of, and unless they'd visited Portland or Seattle, most Arizonans didn't really have a clue that coffee could be so good. With its über-hip industrial space and walls adorned with artwork from the Tempe community, Cartel is still top dog in this 'hood. Read the full Best of Phoenix 2012 story on Cartel.
Best Coffee House, Scottsdale: Village Coffee Roastery
The first thing that you'll notice when you walk in the doors of this sleek coffee shop is the giant bean roaster on the south side of the room, and most of our afternoon visits have been accompanied by the aroma of fresh-roasted coffee. The shop's small-batch roasted beans have an exotic flavor achieved by using a patented scientific method employed by only a handful of roasters in the world. Read the full Best of Phoenix 2012 story on Village Coffee Roastery.