They say that the right number of bicycles (and coffee shops) (and cats) is always however many you currently have plus one more.
Thankfully, Downtown Phoenix has found a great new source for both bikes and coffee at The Velo Bike Shop & Cafe. Sadly, you'll have to find a new cat elsewhere.
We've said it before, and we'll say it again: bikes and coffee are basically a less edible peanut butter and jelly. Coffee shops attract cyclists like moths to a flame; and bicycle shops seem to always have an espresso machine.
The Velo opened in February, but has created a customer experience that is unparalleled. The staff pay equal attention to the intricate mechanics and subtle artistry of both espresso and bicycles -- a rare trait among shops of its kind.
The baristas at The Velo are new to the craft, but they've received extensive training from Press Coffee Roasters (who also provide their beans). Despite the staff's amateur coffee-brewing status, they manage to serve up a coffee experience that is pleasurable, memorable, and of course, delicious.
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Espresso can be a tricky thing for a barista to conquer; calibrating which subtle changes must be made to improve the quality of a shot of espresso is a skill that takes many people years to master. The Velo served us a shot of Press' Twitch espresso blend that was immaculately well-extracted, balanced, and clean, but that still maintained its complexity. The coffee's pleasant, orange-like brightness (complemented by loads of brown sugar sweetness and toasted almond notes) shone through brilliantly. We would have been impressed with this shot even if it had it been pulled by a barista with years of experience; we were blown away to find that the staff at the Velo have only just recently learned to make coffee.
Our pourover was equally well-made. The Velo's house blend is a mixture of Guatemalan and Costa Rican coffees, and was prepared using a Hario V60 ceramic brewer. This pourover experience was worth the three minute wait. Melted butter, milk chocolate, toffee, and cashew nut notes, complemented by a touch of stone-fruit sweetness, filled the cup. If you're not one for zany, fruity coffees, give the Velo blend a try; the cup that we were given was pure coffee comfort. If it were a bicycle, we'd say it glided over the cobbles.
To top it all off, the customer service experience at The Velo is absolutely stellar. The first time we went in the coffee bar was closed for the day (warning: the bike shop is open until 6 pm on weekdays, but the coffee bar closes at 2 pm). The bike mechanic staff were friendly and informative. When we did make it to the coffee bar, our baristas were attentive, knowledgeable, and eager to please -- without being overbearing. The space was clean and well-maintained, and all staff seemed to genuinely care about the customer's satisfaction. We left feeling cared for, caffeinated, and ready to dust off our bicycles.