Great Phoenix Coffee Shops

Written by Heather Hoch Category: Food Reviews Issue: August 2011
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and vinyl records playing over the speakers, the coffee bar’s chill interior is a nice place to take a break from the suffocating desert heat. But it’s Sola’s iced caramel macchiato, exploding with caramely goodness and fairly priced at $3, that’ll keep you coming back for more.
7124 E. Fifth Ave., Scottsdale, 480-779-7652,

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Honey Vanilla Latte and Iced Mocha at Giant Coffee
You’d expect nothing less than astounding from a café owned by Matt’s Big Breakfast owner Matt Pool. That’s why it’s so tough to pick one drink from Giant Coffee. On one heavenly hand, there’s the iced honey vanilla latte made with locally farmed McClendon’s Select orange blossom honey. This slightly sweet and super smooth drink is so delightfully light and refreshing you’ll forget you’re getting caffeinated. Feeling more sinful? Giant’s iced mocha has got to be one of the best renditions of this classic. The dark, rich chocolate blends with raw milk and espresso to form the most satisfying grown-up alternative to chocolate milk. It’s artfully topped with thick, homemade whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa. Take one of these pretty little $4 pick-me-ups to the neighboring Phoenix Art Museum or simply chill out in the Wi-Fi-equipped café from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. for baked-goods happy hour, when pastries are half price.
1437 N. First St., Phoenix, 602-396-7215,

Espresso Excellente at Cartel Coffee Lab
Coffee snobs from across the Valley gather at Cartel Coffee Lab off Ash Avenue and University Drive in Tempe to grab superior in-house roasted coffee. However, when the summer months hit, nothing hits the spot like an iced espresso excellente ($4.25). This innovative coffee creation combines homemade horchata, cinnamon and espresso for the ideal Southwestern summer treat. However, if you’re a coffee purist or need a strong caffeine kick in the pants, stick with coffee’s crack equivalent: the iced toddy.
225 W. University Drive, Ste. 101, Tempe, 480-225-3899,

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Green Tea Zen Freeze at Inside the Bungalow
Let your troubles melt away with a chilly Green Tea Zen Freeze ($4). The matcha-based beverage is a sweet and creamy coffee alternative loaded with green tea. This not-so-sinful milkshake substitute can be made even skinnier with soy or rice milk. From there you can take advantage of Bungalow’s on-site yoga or soak up the serene teahouse atmosphere of the café, located just north of Main Street in downtown Mesa. Don’t forget to grab a tasty pita or salad to complete that peace of mind.
48 N. Robson St., Mesa,

Ca Phe at Liberty Market
If these other picks are too frilly for your taste, don’t sweat it. Quench your summer cravings for cappuccinos with their simple Southeast Asian cousin instead. The Vietnamese Ca Phe (pronounced like “café”) is simply two shots of espresso and a splash of sweetened condensed milk poured over ice ($2.75).
230 N. Gilbert Road, Gilbert, 480-892-1900,

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