Caffiend: Cartel Coffee Lab's Iced Toddy

Cartel Coffee Lab sits in a cozy little cove behind East Side Records in Tempe, and the ambiance of the place is half the fun. Comfy couches, second-hand art tables, and black and white drawings adorn the walls, along with a plethora of handmade signs that say things like "Hang up your cell phone while ordering or we'll call in The Raptors!"

The coffee selection is pretty cool, too -- patrons can pick from coffees made with beans from El Salvador and Guatemala to fresh-brewed Brazilian-bean Black Market Espresso and Costa Rican peaberry blends. Naturally, we asked for Cartel's most caffeinated coffee. We got the Iced Toddy.

Cartel Coffee Lab: Iced Toddy

225 W. University Drive, Suite 101, Tempe

Take some fresh South American coffee beans, grind them, soak them in cold water for 24 hours, filter, and serve with a smile. That's Cartel Coffee Lab's recipe for their Iced Toddy. The result of this cold-brew process is a concentrated coffee that's less bitter than its traditionally-brewed counterpart because it's lower in acidity. According to the barista at Cartel, who was very educated and enthusiastic about their Toddy, the process also leaves a potent amount of caffeine in the drink. The flavor was indeed very mild and semi-sweet, even before we added sugar and syrup. And with an estimated 100-120 mg of caffeine, the Iced Toddy provided a substantial pick-me-up. The caffeine kick wasn't overwhelming, but it was steady and subtle enough to make us avoid more caffeinated drinks for the rest of the day.

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Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea