Three Favorite Shots of Espresso in Metro Phoenix

A shot of Friendo Blendo espresso at Giant Coffee in Midtown Phoenix.
A shot of Friendo Blendo espresso at Giant Coffee in Midtown Phoenix.
Shelby Moore

In a metropolis that isn't particularly known for its coffee scene, we're lucky enough to have three (and really only three) shining examples of how good coffee can taste.

A shop that pays attention to its espresso, whether served in a demitasse or swimming in milk, says a lot about the hospitality they're aiming for. It's the last step in a long chain that started with the buying of high-quality green coffee, lighter roasting that doesn't cover up natural flavors, and ends with execution and the preservation of quality behind the bar - trying not mess it all up, that's the key.

The end result is a shot that's truly delicious - creamy, bright, complex, sweet all on its own. Espresso when it's cared for is diverse, too, since blends not only change by the seasons of harvest in producing countries, but even with day-to-day ebbs and flows as the coffee settles following the roast.

The best news of all? You can find a good espresso that results in a sunny disposition can be found in three distinct points of the Valley.

Giant Coffee - Midtown Phoenix When searching for the right roaster for his coffee bar, Matt Pool (of Matt's Big Breakfast) landed on Four Barrel out of San Francisco. Four Barrel is only a few years old, but they've built a record of buying the highest quality coffees, making the effort to keep the beans that comprise of their espresso blend fresh and in-season.

The baristas at Giant pull shots of their Friendo Blendo espresso faithfully. Consistently bright, the shot currently gets its acidic flavor from South American coffee farms (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador).

Take a sip. There's some creamy orange here, some candied lemon there. A syrupy, raspberry and caramel finish rounds out the shot. At Giant the shots are always good, and often very great. The food scene in Phoenix seldom draws similarities to the scene in San Francisco, but there are a few culinary experiences that feel like walk by the bay, and this is one of them.



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