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Gotham City Comics & Coffee: Powerful, Superhero-Inspired Drinks in Downtown Mesa

The union of coffee and comic books makes perfect sense; both are synonymous with inspiring an energetic state of being. For the crew of downtown Mesa's Gotham City Comics & Coffee, this information is no secret. Manager Jaime Ruiz, who has worked at the store nearly the entire three years it's been open, wastes no time showing us the store's back room on our visit, highlighting one reason why their patrons are especially fond of drinks from Gotham's colorful and decked out coffee cart.

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Beyond the door lies a long row of comfy looking recliners, complete with built-in cup holders, each across from an individual screen for video game playing. Drinks like the aptly named Thor's Hammer offer caffeine potency that surely will sustain hours of thumb driven gaming. This tall, icy bad boy is four, yes, four, espresso shots mixed with a milk of choice, caramel syrup and some irresistible whipped cream. Like all the shop's drinks, it is made with beans from the Tempe-based Café Cortez Coffee Company, which has been roasting locally since the mid-nineties. Bold in flavor and rich in depth, the coffee itself stands out, reigning over the sugary notes of the caramel and whip. The guys are happy to serve any drink hot or cold, even blended if frozen style java is more your thing.

A prevailing theme with Gotham's specialty coffee drinks is the inclusion of some type of chocolate. The Spider-Man is white mocha with raspberry and the description of the Dark Knight offers this as a description: Lots of dark chocolate. Appropriately, a traditional plain coffee is called the Superman, simple and classic. Seasonal drinks are a popular draw lately, including the ubiquitous pumpkin latte and a chocolate peppermint latte that gets lots of year 'round love. Ruiz tells us that even though the huge comic selection and peripheral goodies like toys and t-shirts are what brings in a lot of their community, plenty of folks also come in solely for the coffee.

The drink menu also features a slew of Italian sodas named after comic characters ala The Joker, best-known-sidekick Robin, and Iron Man. Slushies and bottled drinks are also available.

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Five fun facts about Jaime Ruiz:

1.He has made lattes for actor Kevin Kline and the band Earth Wind and Fire. Ruiz says the celebs loved his drinks. 2. He loves to laugh and does so even at inappropriate times, like during death scenes in a movie. (Note: His laugh is insanely infectious). 3. He has have a massive collection of plush stuffed animals (mainly Ewoks of Star Wars fame). 4. As a child he thought he was Spider-Man and acted the part, climbing walls and spraying people with imaginary webs. 5. Cried during Toy Story 3 like he was watching Titanic - - the latter also made him cry like a baby.

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