Few feelings compare to drinking a satisfying cup of joe, just the way you like it. Try these Top 5 coffee hotspots for not just a great roast, but also wonderful service and an excellent atmosphere.
1 Liberty Market
Located in Downtown Gilbert's historic Heritage District, Liberty Market blends the feel of a small town marketplace with an urban hangout. Head here for handcrafted espresso drinks such as shots, macchiatos, cappuccinos and caffe lattes, as well as caffe mochas and all the other usual suspects. If you're in the mood for something other than your usual Cafe au Lait or Americano, try the iced Ca Phe (Vietnamese coffee), Cafe Cubano (Cuban espresso and raw sugar), Irish Coffee (strong coffee, Jameson Irish Whiskey and fresh whipped cream), or the Caffe Corretto (espresso, grappa or sambucca and raw sugar). Liberty Market's specialty, however, is the La Cortadito, a Cuban micro-latte. Rest assured, you can have your drink your way, with extra shots of syrup, espresso, spirits, you name it. Soy milk is available and all drinks can be ordered iced instead. The market also offers specialty retail items and a wide-ranging and eclectic menu in its restaurant. Enjoy a cozy meal and some coffee while you linger, or take advantage of their call-ahead meals and cooking kits to carry home.
230 N. Gilbert Rd., Gilbert, AZ 85234 480.892.1900 web
2 Press Coffee
Press Coffee is located in the CityNorth development near East Deer Valley Road and North 56th Street. With a friendly atmosphere and very clean interior with lots of natural light, the place has already become a neighborhood haunt for residents in the area who can't get enough of the tasty coffee beverages made using the shop's own roasted beans. They're all about quality here, serving their coffee at its peak to bring out the most flavor and craft a perfect pot of brew each and every time. Plus, the service is exceptional: the baristas are mindful of whether you have two minutes or 20 and will cater to your needs. On days you may not be in the mood for coffee (we know, they're rare), you can also try Press Coffee's teas, smoothies and cafe items, including yummy artisan paninis, soups, salads, breakfast sandwiches and fresh-baked pastries. There are even wines by the glass or the bottle, and craft beers, to ensure there's something for whatever you might be thirsting for.
5410 E. High St., Ste. 115, Phoenix, AZ 85054 480.419.6221 web
3 La Grande Orange Grocery
La Grande Orange Grocery really shines when you have the time to slip slowly and savor your coffee while doing some people-watching. Located on 40th Street just below Camelback, La Grande Orange is a small and whimsical cafe/deli/grocery/coffee bar serving excellent breakfast dishes (vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free meals are available) in the mornings made with super fresh ingredients. The food raises the bar high, and the coffee delivers. Their flavorful cold brewed coffee is a refreshing pick-me-up, especially over the Arizona summers, and their organic coffee served piping hot is equally as rejuvenating. Be sure to try their iced teas, too -- they're delicious, and you'll find a mind-blowing assortment of loose leaf teas to choose from. Just a warning, in case the place has somehow managed to slip under your radar these past years: Parking is a problem. Try to not to visit during the peak hours unless you want to have to stalk someone (for a long time) for a spot.
4410 N. 40th St., Phoenix, AZ 85018 602.840.7777 web
4 Lola Coffee
At Central Avenue coffee spot Lola you'll find simple and stylish decor, a hip atmosphere without any pretentiousness, and the kind of intimate and friendly coffee experience that some of the national chains are lacking. The iced coffee is certainly coffee-snob-approved. A blend of espresso and regularly brewed coffee, it's strong enough to make you stand up straight but not so overwhelming that it's bitter or tastes burnt. In short, it's perfection. They roast all their own organic coffee beans and are very dedicated to using the healthiest and most natural ingredients as possible. For example, the lemonade is sweetened with agave syrup, rather than sugar. If you arrive here and aren't sure what to get, try the Matador, a cinnamon-spiced mocha -- and don't forget the whipped cream, a decadent blend of vanilla, espresso and heavy whipping cream. (You're hitting the gym later anyway, right?) Enjoy with a muffin or scone. Come back the next day. Repeat.
5 LUX Coffee Bar
LUX Coffee Bar has a hardcore following of loyalists who just can't seem to get enough of their organic coffee beans, prepared on an old-school Victoria Lido roaster that can only churn out about seven pounds at a time. This small batch amount requires the baristas to put the thing to work daily, meaning your coffee is guaranteed to be as fresh as can be. Like we said, the beans are 100-percent organic, usually a blend from Guatemala, Colombia, El Salvador, Ethiopia and Sumatra. Visit LUX when you're in one of your more creative moods, as the place has an artist community vibe. It may be the beautiful latte art the baristas include with your beverage, or it may be the beautiful and thought-provoking art on the walls, which rotates from time to time. While we don't want to use the word "hipster" ... the crowd here tends to skew on the twenty- and thirtysomething side of the spectrum, but all will feel equally as welcome and relaxed here. (Psst ... Pane Bianco is right next door. A must!)
4404 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85012 602.696.9976 web