On Friday, July 10th, Maverick Coffee celebrated its grand opening with an event called #FreeCoffeeFriday. For one day only all of the shop's coffee drinks cost exactly zero dollars each. Owned by a team of Australian athletes and traveling business men, the shop serves a mixture of coffee classics, savory Aussie-style pies, and classic pastries — but, of course, they had us at “free coffee.”
The shop has a relaxed but neatly curated environment. Everything in the space was deliberate, but at no point did it feel anything short of homey. Maverick’s large lounge area features comfy couches and high bar tops; a quiet back room offers communal seating. Interesting light fixtures, unfinished wood, and unconventional wall hangings lend a lived-in air to the new cafe. Added bonus: they have great WiFi.
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Maverick opened at the end of June near the intersection of Scottsdale Road and Shea Boulevard, and already shows promise as a serious contender in the local coffee scene. The shop serves beans roasted by San Francisco-based Ritual Coffee Roasters. Ritual is renowned for roasting clean, high-quality coffees with bright, complex profiles, and Maverick’s presentation of their products was equally impressive.
The shop was started by Australians Josh Taylor (a world traveling businessman) and Mitch Watt (an Olympic silver medalist Long Jumper), along with their friend Steve Lewis (a competitive Pole Vaulter). Taylor explained that his business partners are “here for their professional training; they do coffee in their down time.” All of them live in the Scottsdale area, and were disappointed by the lack of quality coffee in the area.
“There’s a lot less decent coffee up here,” Taylor says, adding, “There’s a lot more in Phoenix.”
They sampled beans from several roasters before deciding to work with Ritual. “We were trying to find the best quality beans in America,” Taylor noted. “We wanted to get a partnership with them.” Many of the shop’s staff came in with coffee experience, but Maverick’s owners wanted to be ensure they did justice to the coffee. Two of the shop's staff were sent to train extensively with Ritual’s staff in San Francisco; Ritual also sent a trainer to Phoenix to work with the rest of the staff in their cafe.
The staff’s understanding of the subtleties of Ritual’s coffee was exceptional, and their comprehension shone through in their drinks. We tried a smattering of Maverick’s offerings on Free Coffee Friday, and each was as impressive as the last.
Maverick has several pourover stations, where baristas brew featured beans to order for their guests. We opted instead for the batch-brewed Ethiopia Limu, comprised of heirloom varieties grown by many small-scale farmers. We were impressed. The cup was full-bodied and sweet, with soft floral aromatics (think chamomile tea) and a molasses-like spice.
The great batch-brewed coffee wasn’t a fluke; Maverick’s espresso drinks were equally well-crafted. Our cappuccino, made with Ritual’s Wildwood Seasonal Espresso, was perfectly balanced. The Wildwood espresso, a blend of beans from Ethiopia, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Brazil, was hefty enough to shine through the milk, but mellow enough to harmonize with it.
A shot of Sweet Tooth Espresso Pajal, produced by Eddy Barrientos of Antigua, Guatemala, was equally stunning. The shot was sweet and full-bodied enough to support the citrusy qualities of the coffee. One of the baristas was concerned that his shot had strayed from its ideal specifications, and was kind enough to bring us a replacement shot in case we were displeased with the first. He really had no cause for concern, as both espressos were equally delightful, but we appreciated the gesture and kind service nonetheless.
10269 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale