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Feb 4, 2006 03:54 PM

Coffee houses in PHX

  • h

Will be traveling to Phoenix in March and am looking for a funky coffee house with great scones/muffins/biscotti. Good espresso, good pastries, and an excellent this too much to ask? Can anyone lead me in the right direction? We'll be staying in Chandler but would travel for the right place. Thanks!

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  1. As long as you're staying in Chandler, you might consider a franchise-busting experience at Coffee Rush. It's on the southeast corner of Dobson and Ray Road.

    1 Reply
    1. re: I'm Hungry

      Franchise-busting is EXACTLY what I am all about. We will definitely check it out. Thanks!

    2. j
      JK Grence (the Cosmic Jester)

      You want funky? It will be a bit of a drive, but coffeehouses don't come ANY funkier than Coffee Talk in downtown Mesa, on Robson just north of Main and west of Country Club (Arizona Avenue if you're coming up from Chandler). The atmosphere is easily the best of any coffee house I've been to, all of the decorating is the owner's idea, there's all kinds of neat goods for sale, and the coffee is top-notch.

      1 Reply
      1. re: JK Grence (the Cosmic Jester)

        I second this Mesa coffeehouse, except it's now called Inside The Bungalow. There are new mother-daughter owners as well as open mic nights on Wednesdays. Love the patio w/ trees and fountains out back!

      2. bump - i know this is an OOOLLLLLDDDD thread - but i'm also always on the lookout for more coffee spots.

        currently? lux on central, starbucks if im at a loss, and willow house if i'm at the end of my rope. my apologies to hardcore fans but while i like the indie thing, the coffee? not so much

        29 Replies
        1. re: winedubar

          winedubar, I feel your pain; I landed on this old thread in desparation. Moved to Chandler from Oregon about 2 yr ago and haven't found anything close to what they have back home. Best drip coffee I've found is Gold Bar in Tempe. I do not recommend their espresso, however. Haven't made it to lux, yet. Is that as good as people say?

          1. re: don giovanni

            i think its good. pretty good. some days really good. nice barrista's, appear to know what they are doing, its central *ha ha, on central. sorry lame joke*..

            but sometimes im not sure if i like it because its the best around or because there's not much else around? dunno...

            rumor has it that mama java on either thomas or indian school and 32nd is really good...but thats past my normal geographic comfort zone :D

            nice to meet another oregonian.. :D man, i do NOT miss the rain!!

            1. re: winedubar

              I tried mama java about a week ago. It was evening, and I had jet lag, so I had to order decaf. It had an okay flavor but was really weak...the usual in this city. But it may be because of the decaf. When I try places, I always just get drip coffee, because that's the hardest thing to find done properly. It was a nice place, though, and the people were friendly. I'll probably go back some morning and try the regular.

              You should start getting over to that part of town, though, if you can. There's a lot of good stuff over there. There's La Grande Orange nearby, with great breakfasts. And it's not much farther to get to Au Petite Four (24th and Camelback -- means The Little Furnace), which has great French pastries (probably the best almond croissant I've had in America).

              btw, I actually DO miss the rain. What part of Oregon you from?

              1. re: don giovanni

                Ohhh...that almond croissant...could not agree more. Love their macaroons as well.

                1. re: don giovanni

                  hi, i have a friend who lives across from lgo, so i'll walk there, but i'v given up on driving to postino/lgo. too terrible a parking situation...

                  i grew up outside of corvallis, btw ;)

                  1. re: winedubar

                    It's funny. I hear that a lot about parking. I guess I must be lucky. :D

                    I think you can park on the street somewhere near there, anyway...but maybe not.

                    I grew up in Bend; went to school in Eugene. Almost went to Corvallis for grad school, but decided to come down here and brave the heat at ASU.

                    1. re: don giovanni

                      well if you grew up in bend you are ready for the heat!! ;)

                    2. re: winedubar

                      the parking ugh. i'm going to postino this week and dreading the parking drama.

                        1. re: amkirkland

                          did my first lgo this weekend. what a great place. loved the spanish latte though it was a bit sweet for my wife. unfortunately she was too full to grab her standard to get a true feel for the coffee. loved everything thing else about the place (except the parking & crowds) too!

                  2. re: winedubar

                    Winedubar, I'm at Lux right now. Definitely the best cup I've had in AZ...except what I make at home ;)
                    Thanks for convincing me to try it.

                    1. re: don giovanni

                      dg - right on!! im glad you liked it!!! too bad i saw this so late, i could have stopped on by ;)

                      1. re: winedubar

                        Windebur... We stopped by today too on your recommendation...just found the board & then this thread this past week. It was definitely great. To echo, it was the best cup we've had in AZ. thanks!!!

                        As far as what some folks have said about attitude, was expecting some snobbery but it was 180 degrees the other way. Sammy was as nice as could be. I guess the owner was at the hospital right at that time with the birth of his son so they were short on beans to sell (particularly decaf as my wife is pregnant as well). We'll be back in at least by next weekend hopefully to buy some decaf beans! Thanks!!!

                        1. re: ccl1111

                          im so glad you guys liked it!! next time you go, if its open, definitely try pane bianco next door. its chris bianco *of pizzeria bianco* sandwhich place, and its really good!!!

                          1. re: winedubar

                            we saw that. i've of course heard of pane bianco and have always wanted to try it (same with pizzeria bianco). unfortunately it was closed. i definitely have it on the to do list! thanks!!!

                            1. re: ccl1111

                              LOL, i'm with winedubar, pane bianco = YUM! that spot is such a perfect place to spend a saturday morning/afternoon. start out lounging at lux, then go over and check out clothes and jewelry at passage, and wind up by having lunch at pane bianco.

                                1. re: pickychick

                                  :D sounds like a perfect saturday to me!!

                          2. re: winedubar

                            maybe another Saturday (the only day I have time to make the drive from Chandler) ;)

                      2. re: don giovanni

                        Lux is very good, but not a ten. The barristas do seem pretty knowledgeable, but their too cool for school attitude bothers me. Better than the cramped, slow willow house, although they make a good cup as well.

                      3. re: winedubar

                        how is willow house? ran into that while surfing on the bb trying to find lux on saturday. drove right by it (on our way to lux - which was a great decision!)

                        1. re: ccl1111

                          A lot of people like Willow House. IMHO the coffee really isn't very good, but it's still a fun place to visit (go when there's some live music).

                          1. re: don giovanni

                            here here. i think the willow house is a dud. i appreciate that they were downtown pioneers and im really glad that they saved an old building. the sandwhiches are decent, the sourced desserts are pretty good. but the coffee? yipes!!!!!

                            still, they are open super late, esp on weekends. many is a nite when we've ended up on the picnic tables outside, for want of something else...

                            1. re: winedubar

                              I couldn't agree more about the coffee (didn't wanna be too hard on them before, because I actually have only had the coffee once; after I find out I don't like a place's coffee, I usually start ordering other things). But in this city, there are so few places where the coffee is any good, I figure you have to gauge a place's visit-worthiness by something else (eg, a good building). Unless you can hit Lux (or you know of some secret you haven't shared with us), I say make your coffee at home. (But I will have to visit the place in Cave Creek that someone mentioned on this thread.)

                              Speaking of places with character but bad coffee, have you ever visited the Counterculture Cafe? It's a funny place. I went in there with a friend, when we were wanting something Indie. It was fun to hang out there and talk, but that coffee was seriously terrifying!

                              We were there close to midnight. The coffee tasted like it had been sitting on a burner since 6 AM. Have you ever gotten stuck making coffee from really terrible grounds, and tried to fix it by brewing it super strong, but it just turned into an acidic "syrup"? It was like that, except add a harsh burnt flavor to it. I think I could have gotten an ulcer from that acid if I'd finished it.

                              1. re: winedubar

                                in defense of the willow house: I've only been there once, and it was terribly slow... and not in a charming way BUT it was the best capuccino I've had around this area.

                                1. re: amkirkland

                                  That's surprising to me, but I wouldn't actually know. I almost always just order house coffee when I try places. Did they do it like a "real" cappuccino? You know, in an actual cappuccino mug, with the right ratio of coffee, milk, froth?

                                  1. re: don giovanni

                                    I'm kind of ashamed to admit mine was to go, but yes to everything else, except that it was far too large.

                                    1. re: amkirkland

                                      lol no shame necessary! you gotta do what you gotta do ;)

                        2. Article in the paper today says we're getting several locations of the Human Bean, an Oregon chain -- for the most part, smaller than Starbucks and geared towards drive-thru service. don giovanni, can you speak to the quality of their product, should we make a stop if we see one?

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: themis

                            Smaller than starbucks is like saying better than the cardinals. However, I've found that it is small chains, or places that buy their coffee from small chains, rather than independent houses that do their own roasting, that have the best coffee.

                            1. re: themis

                              They finally opened a Human Bean on Riggs in Chandler, a month ago. Anyone tried it yet?

                              990 E Riggs Rd
                              Chandler, AZ 85249

                            2. Has anyone tried Copper Star in the 7th on Melrose District (7th Ave between Indian School and Camelback)? I've been there once, and my experience was mixed. I was impressed that they carry Harney teas, but the person behind the counter was not terribly friendly. Maybe, it was just a bad day. I enjoyed my tea but did not linger.


                              2 Replies
                              1. re: silverbear

                                I love Copper Star. I'm really not a coffee afficianado, but I find their lattes perfectly drinkable, and their housemade scones and blueberry muffins are delicious. I haven't had any of the other pastries, but I know that the cupcakes and banana bread are also made onsite.

                                I keep going back because the atmosphere is exactly what I like in a coffee place -- a friendly, neighborhood joint, with a bit of that urban edge, but not overrun by the hipper-than-thou crowd. I find the staff to be pleasant, and the owner is very friendly.

                                1. re: kjhart

                                  I'm not a coffee afficianado either. I just like a simple cup of Earl Grey tea. For some reason, the person working at Copper Star the day I stopped in was cold and uncommunicative. I'm hoping it was just a bad day. I will give Copper Star another try next time I'm in the 7th on Melrose area.