We don’t need to tell you why buying local is better — but we will. A study by Michigan-based Local Works found that 73 percent of all money spent at a local business stays in the local economy, compared to just 43% of money spent at non-local businesses (thanks to Local First AZ for sharing this info). Similar research in San Francisco and New Orleans reinforces this trend; case studies in these cities found that when residents choose to buy from local vendors just 10 percent more often, millions of additional dollars are injected into the local economy.
It’s easy to find a local restaurant to latch on to, but with a Starbucks on every corner, it can be a little trickier to make buying local coffee part of your daily routine. And even if you want to buy local coffee, what about your favorite Starbucks drink? How will you possibly give that up?
Well, we can’t promise that every local shop will offer an eight-pump venti mocha chip frappucino, but here some local drinks that might prove a suitable alternative to your Starbucks go-to.
If you like… Starbucks’ Vanilla Latte
Then you’ll love … Giant Coffee’s Honey Vanilla Latte
Giant Coffee is one of our favorite local coffee shops. The place does everything honestly, deliberately, and with beautiful results. High quality ingredients are the base for all of the shop's drinks — no mysterious syrups, unpronounceable additives, or artificial colors. Giant's Honey Vanilla Latte contains four simple (and delicious) ingredients: Four Barrel espresso, Straus Creamery milk, organic vanilla syrup, and McClendon’s Select Honey. Try it iced or hot — it’s great either way.
If you like… Starbucks’ Cinnamon Dolce Latte
Then you’ll love… 32 Shea’s Vienna Latte
32 Shea’s housemade syrups are a treat on their own, and they’re even better when combined with well-extracted espresso from local Matador Coffee and creamy, perfectly steamed milk. The restaurant's Vienna syrup is made from cinnamon sticks, real vanilla beans, and, of course, sugar — no mystery ingredients here, just a really tasty Phoenix-made drink.
We couldn’t choose between our favorite local caramel latte, so we decided to include both. Rollover Donuts’ Salted Caramel latte is every bit as sweet as the Starbucks drink, but much more sophisticated. A pinch of salt makes the butteriness of the caramel shine, and seems to tie together the flavor of the caramel, Press Coffee Roasters’ espresso, and Danzeisen Dairy milk. Added bonus: Rollover’s fresh-made donuts beat Starbucks’ pastries any day. Dulce de Leche is one of the finer things in life, and Copper Star Coffee’s drink makes good use of the sweet stuff. Slightly nuttier than traditional caramel, the Dulce de Leche pairs nicely with coffee. Plus, Copper Star has a drive-through, so you can buy local even if you’re in a rush.
This is Arizona. Iced tea is a necessity, and hibiscus grows rampant here — so why not enjoy hibiscus tea brewed by a great local shop? We love Phoenix Public Market’s refillable(!) Prickly Pear Iced Tea. It’s the perfect blend of succulent prickly pear (because Arizona, duh) and tart hibiscus. Souvia’s blend features sweet-but-earthy elderberries and hibiscus, both of which have loads of Vitamin C. Sweet, local, and good for you? Yes, please.
If you like… Starbucks’ Chai Latte
Then you’ll love … Jobot’s Chai Latte
Jobot’s chai is a fantastic, house-made local alternative to the Big Guy’s Chai. Made with honey, vanilla, secret spices, and Maya Tea’s Masala Chai, Jobot’s version blows the other stuff out of the water.
If you like … Starbucks’ Mocha Frappuccino
Then you’ll love… 32 Shea’s Frozen Nutella Mocha
Frozen. Nutella. Mocha.
End of story.
If you like… Starbucks’ White Chocolate Mocha
Then you’ll love...Lux’s Velvet Latte
White Chocolate is an acquired taste — but if you’re one of the white chocolate lovers of the world, you’re in good company at Lux. The Velvet Latte features Ghirardelli white chocolate syrup, Lux espresso, and milk, and comes with a complementary side of hipster cred.
If you like… Starbucks’ S’mores Frappuccino
Then you’ll love… Copper Star Coffee’s Blended White Chocolate Peanut Butter Coconut Mocha
Go big or go home. If you’re gonna have a coffee milkshake, you might as well go with this super-duper loaded one from Copper Star. Be sure to follow with an insulin injection.
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If you like… Starbucks’ Fizzio Sodas
Then you’ll love… MacAlpines Soda Fountain's...everything.
MacAlpine's is a Phoenix gem, and they’ve been doing the hand-crafted syrup thing since 1928. If you’ve just gotta go fizzy, go to MacAlpine's and have one of their soda jerks tickle your fancy. Sit on a stool at the bar, order up a soda, shake, or egg cream, and proudly enjoy supporting Phoenix living history. Bonus: flavors are wholly customizable. Chocolate root beer, anyone?
If you like… Starbucks’ Peppermint Mocha
Then you’ll love … LoFi Coffee’s Lavender Mocha
Nowadays you can get a mediocre peppermint latte, like, anywhere, ever. Why settle? LoFI’s lavender mocha features Routin lavender syrup, Guittard chocolate, Xanadu Coffee espresso, and milk. It’s a sweet, floral, and locally-conceived take on an old classic.
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