There are a lot of factors that go into making a coffee shop great. For some it is all about the aesthetic ambiance, for others it is an indescribable vibe, but everyone can agree that first and foremost, the spot has got to have seriously good coffee. So far, 2017 has been a great year for the Phoenix coffee scene, with a handful of promising new shops opening up, and many old favorites still going strong. Of all the great places to kick back and caffeinate, these 16 are our current favorites.
Giant Coffee, Phoenix
Hours: daily, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
This shop, from the owners of Matt’s Big Breakfast, delivers the same simple elegance and commitment to quality ingredients that we’ve come to love from Matt’s. At Giant, it’s the little things that count the most. It makes the most of its straightforward ingredients, from the only lightly homogenized Straus Creamery “barista milk” (which gives the lattes a signature buttery sweetness) to the 24 Blackbirds Chocolate, which makes Giant's mochas perfectly chocolatey, but not too sweet. Giant’s housemade pastries take the cake and are the perfect accompaniment to coffee from San Francisco-based Four Barrel Coffee. But the coffee can’t take all the credit: Giant’s baristas ensure that each drink is crafted perfectly or they don’t serve it. And to top it all off, the shop’s atmosphere is as classic and honest as its drinks. Giant’s airy, sunny space is beautiful and clean, which makes it a great place to meet friends, enjoy a breakfast burrito, or get a little work done.
Peixoto Coffee, Chandler
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Despite having opened just two years ago, Peixoto Coffee's service and product quality reflect an uncommon maturity. The shop primarily roasts and serves coffee from owner Julia Peixoto Peters’ family farm in Brazil, but it does make a few exceptions, featuring beans from other regions around the world. Where Peixoto has truly succeeded, in a way that arguably no other local shop has, is in educating consumers about how coffee makes its way from crop to cup. Photos around the shop feature coffee fruit ripening, being harvested, and being processed, and a simple painted map on one of the shop’s exposed brick walls puts things in a geographic perspective. Peixoto Coffee is working hard to introduce Brazilian culture, coffee, and cuisine to the East Valley by offering authentic pastries and bossa nova music nights. The shop also has stayed in touch with national specialty coffee trends, bringing fun items like nitro cold brew and iced cascara to the local scene.
Maverick Coffee, Scottsdale
Hours: Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Saturday through Sunday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
This delightful Scottsdale shop blows us away. Two of Maverick Coffee’s owners are Olympic-caliber athletes — and the shop's baristas' execution is every bit as disciplined, yet artful, as you might expect. The shop, which sells coffee from San Francisco-based Ritual Coffee Roasters, pairs a relaxed atmosphere with immaculate coffee preparation. The service is friendly and knowledgeable, but they do without any kind of pretentious coffee-shop air; the staff aren’t afraid to have a little fun. Every Friday, for example, customers are encouraged to challenge their barista to a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors, and if the customer wins, they get their coffee for free. Specialty food items such as Swiss Birchir Museli (Swiss oatmeal) give this shop a unique edge when it comes to snacks. We give Maverick Coffee a perfect 10, and we can’t wait to see where the shop takes things from here.
King Coffee, Tempe
Hours: Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
King Coffee is a Tempe-area shop with that special, indescribable something. The cafe isn’t the fanciest one on this list. It’s definitely not the best-designed. And it’s certainly not the most spacious. But there’s something about this pint-sized cafe that we just adore. Maybe it brings us back to our college days; King Coffee certainly has all the hallmarks of a casual college-town cafe (artwork made by some dude’s friend? Hand-drawn posters for local house shows? Yes and yes.) But contrary to the classic college coffee shop ethos, King doesn’t slack when it comes to quality. King Coffee’s staff do a great job with beans from local roaster Cortez Coffee. And as if that wasn’t enough, they are always warm and welcoming — you won’t find any disaffected, grumbly college baristas at this shop. What this shop lacks in square footage it makes up for in atmosphere, friendliness, and coffee fit for a king.
Cartel Coffee Lab, Downtown Phoenix location
Hours: daily, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
We had a hard time picking a favorite Cartel Coffee location — after all, the roaster has built a small empire in metro Phoenix and Tucson, and each of the shops has a unique feel to fit its neighborhood and surroundings. Each of Cartel’s locations are great in their own way, but we’re particularly partial to the downtown Phoenix locale and we've always been thrilled with our coffee drinks here. Fun decorations, including a wall partition made of bicycle wheels and a colorful, low-hanging chandelier, make the space’s open design and sleek, industrial interior a bit more welcoming. This particular store attracts a more mature audience than their college student-dominated Tempe and Tucson stores, and serves as a truly underrated downtown Phoenix third space.
Rollover Donuts, Phoenix
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
There’s just so much to love about Rollover. It’s basically a secret treasure for local coffee lovers. It’s accessible, but privately tucked away from the rest of the hullabaloo on Central Avenue. The spacious seating area is quiet, comfortable, and adorably simple. And the drinks, prepared with coffee from Press Coffee Roasters and milk from Danzeisen Dairy, go perfectly with the namesake doughnuts, coffee’s favorite friend.
Royal Coffee Bar, Phoenix (Heritage Square location)
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Royal Coffee’s clean, balanced roasts and stellar execution make visiting any of its locations a treat. Not only do they roast some incredible beans, Royal’s baristas are welcoming and extremely talented at preparing their product. This is definitely a haven for local coffee aficionados. We’re pretty much in love with the espresso blend; sweet, clean, and impeccably balanced, it never ceases to disappoint. The Heritage Square location makes incredible use of a small space — it’s no surprise that owner Hayes McNeil lives a double life as an architect. The Heritage Square location is fastidiously designed, but not at all fussy. This little shop’s simple, gnarled wooden tables and funky wall hangings pack a huge punch when it comes to decor. Royal’s roaster takes up a fair amount of the space, so interested parties can watch the coffee magic happen. Transparency, fantastic coffee, and great design all make Royal Coffee a gem.
Altitude Coffee Lab, Scottsdale
Hours: daily, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Scottsdale’s Altitude Coffee Lab is a classic coffee shop in every sense. This big, breezy shop offers great service and ample seating in a casual environment. We especially love the patio — it’s big, beautiful, secluded, and peaceful. With such a great cafe atmosphere, it’s no wonder they were our pick for Best Coffeehouse in 2014. But it takes more than a great space to impress us: we want to taste the quality, and Altitude hasn’t let us down yet. The shop roasts their own beans in house, in full view of their dedicated following, and the shop’s owners aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty behind the bar. The shop serves a variety of delicious foods and creative pastries, from simple snacks to full meals (European-style pastry cones are a nice and unique touch). All in all, Altitude coffee is nothing more or less than a great, classic coffee house.
Press Coffee, Tempe (Skywater Apartments location)
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Located on the ground floor of Tempe’s Skywater Apartments, this particular cafe is (yet another) commendable accomplishment from one of our favorite local roasters. The big, open space has plenty of seating and brings a few fun and funky elements to the clean, modern design we’ve come to appreciate from Press’ other locations. Cobalt blue walls highlight the roaster’s logo, while quirky decorations like vintage alarm clocks give the space a charming and playful air. We've never been disappointed by Press’ unique, region-centric coffees, and the Skywater cafe delivers the same impressive execution we’ve come to expect at Press’s other locations. The company truly roasts the perfect cup for anyone’s tastes. And if you aren’t sure what you like, the shop's friendly and knowledgeable baristas will be more than happy to help you find it.
Songbird Coffee & Tea, Phoenix
Hours: Monday through Thursday, Saturday through Sunday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
We once described Songbird Coffee & Tea as “a living Pinterest board” — high praise, in our book. That sentiment still stands and has only grown stronger since the shop relocated to a quaint downtown location a few years back. The historic Third Street house, built in 1904, has brought ample seating (both indoor and outdoor) and an exterior to match the shop’s quirky, fun décor. We like a coffee shop that isn’t afraid to experiment a little, and experiment Songbird does — with pop-up food vendors, new pastries, and of course, crazy coffee drinks. But that doesn’t mean they’re not committed to quality. Songbird, for the most part, keeps its menu simple and focuses on the basics: making great drinks with Cortez Coffee Roasters beans. Drinks prepared well by people who enjoy preparing them? We are completely on board with that idea.
Hours: Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Open since April, this Old Town Scottsdale gem is already garnering a dedicated fan base. Berdena’s keeps it simple with a clean, fresh, modern aesthetic and a simple menu featuring coffee drinks from San Francisco-based Ritual Coffee Roasters. We love that they serve tasty and aesthetically pleasing pastries from Le Dinersaur to go along with your latte or cold brew. In addition, Berdena’s offers lightly salted avocado toast, Straus yogurt, and crispy, airy yeast-raised waffles.
Regroup Coffee + Bicycles, Scottsdale
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Another Old Town coffee joint, Regroup is a haven for espresso enthusiasts and avid cyclists alike. Every new shipment of beans are cupped and assessed for quality in roast and overall flavor, and drinks prepared using the coveted Slayer Espresso machine make it that much better. And they’ll never serve coffee with a roast date longer than two weeks. The baristas at Regroup are always friendly and upbeat — it’s the perfect place to grab a macchiato on your morning bike ride (they also have a full-service bike repair and rental shop). For a morning pick-me-up, check out the Slayer Shake, a blend of cold brew, almond milk, almond butter, banana, cacao, and plant-based protein.
Lola Coffee Bar, Phoenix
Hours: daily, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
We’re continuously impressed with Lola Coffee Bar in downtown Phoenix, which always seems to be serving a delectable array of delicious pastries like chocolate strawberry pop tarts, peach raspberry almond tarts, chocolate hazelnut tarts, and more. There’s ample seating on the cozy, shaded back patio and a selection of well-crafted coffee drinks. The Matador is the drink to try — espresso, mocha and cinnamon topped with espresso whipped cream. Or treat yourself to an iced caramel latte in the sweltering Arizona heat.
Bergies Coffee Roast House, Gilbert
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 6 a.m. to 5 p.m,; Friday through Saturday, 6 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Sunday, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For coffee lovers in the East Valley, Bergies is a down-to-earth space serving the freshest roasts and an array of exciting drinks. Brothers and owners Brian and Bruce Bergeson strive to achieve the perfect roast for each individual batch of beans, a meticulous process of trial and error. The shop itself is small and cozy, situated among a larger patio space in the heart of downtown Gilbert.
Lux Central, Phoenix
Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 6 a.m. to midnight.; Friday through Saturday, 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.
With a loud and lively atmosphere in the evenings, Lux is definitely the go-to spot to hang with friends in uptown Phoenix. They offer an extensive list of espresso drinks with baristas who really know their stuff. All coffee beans are hand-roasted in house and come from Brazil, Sumatra, Nicaragua, and more. In addition, Lux serves a variety of great eats as well as beer, wine, and cocktails in the bar area. The space itself is dimly lit, with plenty of community-style seating, and stays open late daily.
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Provision Coffee Bar, Chandler
Hours: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Provision Coffee Bar at Palette Collective serves coffee with a cause. Striving to build strong community relationships through quality coffee, Provision directs its profits toward aiding struggling areas where coffee is a primary revenue source. It’s a place where direct communication and open dialogue with farmers, including those with crops supplied from Guatemala and Burundi, is held in high regard. The full-service coffee bar offers an array of awesome drinks including the spiced honey mocha and the honey lavender latte. They also offer loose-leaf teas and nitro cold brew.