We're all about spreading our love for the bean among the several independent coffee shops that have made it a mission to deliver a bold, and aesthetically delightful, cup.
Bringing some coffee cool to Central Phoenix's Coronado 'hood is Mud Dauber Coffee -- part of an insectual group of businesses located at 16th Street and Cypress, including The Bee's Knees boutique and The Hive art gallery. In this case, the shop's true chill factor is found in what collects in the bottom portion of their Yama tower.
If you haven't laid your eyes upon a Yama, it's a glass contraption that looks like a gorgeous gizmo from chemistry class. Three delicate components enable a cold brewing process - they connect to force ice cold water through grounds and are held in place by a sturdy wooden frame. If you didn't give a bean about coffee, it would look just as gorgeous as a wall hanging.
The first level of this coffee making maze is an inverted cone that holds the coffee. Owner Sam Clark likes to cover it with a thin paper to help create a plate that water moves through, rather than a divot. Why? He likes the plate effect's more regulated flow. A portion of the water immediately embraces the grounds, locking in the flavor. At the second level of filtration, another filter further catches grounds as the brew moves through a coil system for more impurity extractions, making its way to the end for ecstatic results.
The Yama has a brass knob that is adjusted to control the flow. Clark chooses to brew for 12 hours; He appreciates the inherent thickness this process imparts, versus immersion brew, where grounds are bagged and immersed in a container of water.
"It's heftier with a more savory appeal," he says.
We can't argue; it is a tasty drink with depth, feeling a bit richer where the immersion brew seems to carry more of an immediate power. In either case, perkiness will follow.
Clark, the man also behind downtown Mesa's Lo-Fi Coffee, is also partnered in Xanadu Coffee, with Randy Denton, a roasting business where they maintain total bean control. The two are certainly coffee geeks, obsessing over times and temperatures; whatever it takes to ensure a great cup. Xanadu also provides the coffee for other local businesses like Grand avenue's veg/vegan hotspot, Bragg's Factory Diner.
Clark is often the man you'll find behind the counter, doing a little philosophizing and encouraging much witty banter in his home-y little coffee cave. His smooth brews are perfect wake-the-fuck-up options on the menu that offers them in several hot and cold choices. There are also a few shopping goodies for purchase, including a refillable glass jar featuring the venue's wasp-y logo.
Four fun facts about owner/barista Sam Clark:
1. His Christian Slater/Jack Nicholson-like voice is heading into full-on Shining territory.
2. He has served in both the U.S. Army and Marines.
3. He likes to sit at home and play with raspberry pies. (Nerd alert: This is not a food fetish. In this case, raspberry pies are some kind of microcomputer.)
4. He considers himself to be "totally annoying."
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