Ten Favorite Coffee Shops in Phoenix

Coffee is our morning lifeblood, and while we're more than guilty of slumming it at a Circle K to get our fix, we don't really consider that hot plate-warmed caffeine sludge a real cup of coffee. You don't have to chew real coffee, for one. Likewise, the dried out bagels and scones from Starbucks ain't gonna cut it in terms of morning nibbles. When the thought of burnt beans and stale danishes starts to get us down, we head to one of these local coffee shops and let a talented barista steam our troubles away.

10. Nami We know it's the new kid on the block, but even though Nami's known for its pastries and signature tsoynamis, we're big fans of the coffee. The ambiance of this bright, modern coffee and dessert shop is also a bonus. The pour over coffee with soy and agave sweetener is a hot cup of happiness, and it's the only coffee shop in the valley we've seen with champurrado, a super thick cup o' Mexican hot chocolate. Naturally, one of Nami's many pastries go great with their brew (sourced from Royal at the Market). The Winkies and Nami Cakes put Twinkies and Ding Dongs to shame, and the oatmeal cream pie almost makes us want to go vegan. Almost.

9. Echo Coffee

Echo brews several organic varieties of beans, and the baristas are always more than happy to guide you toward the blend that you'll most enjoy. Our favorite is the Titus, which isn't acidic or bitter and has a sweetish aftertaste that lets us sip our cup o' joe sans sweetener. As variety is the spice of life, Echo also offers organic rice milk, almond milk, and soy milk in addition to the traditional creamers. The environment is bright and airy, with huge leather couches for sinking into with a book, or smaller tables for working on a laptop. Coffee served in-house comes with a free little cookie on the side, and more substantial nibbles like pastries, quiche, or hot and cold sandwiches are also available. Trust the Best Darned Grilled Cheese or the Jamaican Jerk Beef sandwich if hunger strikes.

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Erica O'Neil