First Dish: Kähvi Coffee + Café

Madison RutherfordDecember 7, 2021
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Commuter Egg Sandwich and Espresso Tonic | Photo by Madison Rutherford

I have never traveled to Tulum or Scandinavia, the two locales that inspired Kähvi Coffee + Café in Downtown Phoenix. I have, however, gleaned some ideas on a recent visit to the new coffee bar. The concept, which opened in July, is the brainchild of prolific restaurateur Julian Wright of Fork & Dagger Hospitality and is spearheaded by operating partner and industry vet Samia Kohler.

Kähvi resides in the Roosevelt Row Arts District, just inside of the monOrchid gallery. The warehouse-like space has been transformed into a cozy, all-day café where customers can feel just as comfortable setting up their laptop as they do meeting up with friends for happy hour. Lush greenery, wicker light fixtures, comfy couches and sleek lounge chairs populate the airy space. The whole place has a laidback, earthy vibe that will transport guests to a serene Mexican beach town. “Combine that with a European-style approach to coffee and dining culture and you have the perfect retreat in the heart of Downtown Phoenix,” Wright says.

So, the design elements are distinctly Tulum, while the approach and atmosphere – and the name – are straight from Scandinavia (kähvi means “coffee” in Scandinavian). Naturally, coffee is the focal point here – guests can enjoy seasonal coffee concoctions, nitro-infused coffee and juices, beer, wine and local kombucha. Half a dozen craft cocktails were also just added to the menu.  Kähvi’s organic coffee beans are sourced from farmers in the La Paz region of southwestern Honduras, so there’s a little Central American flair here, too. Light bites and lunch items also have a French influence, a novel nod to Kohler’s native country.


Vegan Wrap | Photo by Madison Rutherford

Kähvi’s signature coffee drinks include the delightfully tart Espresso Tonic, which combines espresso, tonic water and a lemon wedge. It’s a simple creation with complex flavors, and those who prefer bitter to sweet will absolutely adore it. The Nitro Fashioned is a take on an Old Fashioned cocktail containing nitro coffee, orange bitters, organic agave syrup and an orange twist. It’s slightly sweeter and more citrus-centric than the tonic but still has a tangy aftertaste.

Light bites and lunch items include salads, sandwiches and fresh pastries. Plant-based and gluten-free offerings, so often an afterthought, take center stage here. Our recs: The Vegan Wrap (lettuce, tomato, house-made hummus, bell peppers and avocado in a spinach tortilla) and the Commuter Egg Sandwich (scrambled eggs, chives, cheddar cheese, caramelized onions and Sriracha on a warm Noble Bread brioche bun).


Kähvi Coffee + Café interior | Photo by Madison Rutherford

But Kähvi is more than just a coffee shop. It’s a community hub, where Downtown denizens and visitors can drift in to view the art on display in the gallery, pick up a plant or local gift from Phoenix General, which also shares the space and, of course, enjoy a cup of coffee. The café partners with local yoga studios to offer weekly sessions and offers a special Après Yoga social hour on weekends between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. during which guests can enjoy special pricing on food and drinks. Happy hour is also offered from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 3 to 7 p.m. on Friday, featuring discounted beer, wine and well drinks. Art workshops and live music are also in the works.

Kähvi is the place to grab a night cap or a cappuccino in Downtown. No passport required.

214 E. Roosevelt St., Phoenix, 602-283-4062, drinkkahvi.com

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