It’s time for your morning wake-up call — better grab a cup of joe on your way out the door. And we know just the place …
4404 N. Central Ave., Phoenix 602.696.9976 web
LUX Coffee Bar
Head to LUX Coffee Bar for 100-percent organic beans prepared on a Victoria Lido roaster. The old-school machine's max production of about 7 pounds at a time means beans are roasted several times daily and the coffee is as fresh as can be. The beans are usually a blend from Guatamala, Colombia, El Salvador, Mexico, Sumatra and Ethiopia, and the baristas carefully handcraft their espresso blend to the desired profile. Enjoy the creative, artists' community vibe here, which you'll see in everything from the beautiful latte art to the thought-provoking art on the walls. The coffee bar is open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., and offers wireless internet. The crowd here tends to be on the young side, but all will feel equally as welcome and relaxed here. (Also, we would be remiss if we didn't point out that Pane Bianco is right next door -- a must-try if you haven't stopped by already.)
At this stylish Central Avenue coffee spot you'll find the kind of intimate and friendly coffee experience that some of the national chains are lacking. Not to mention, Lola's blend of espresso and regularly brewed coffee is strong enough to make you stand up straight (but will never taste bitter or burnt). And the iced coffee is perfection year-round here in Arizona. Lola's baristas roast all the store's own organic coffee beans and use as many natural ingredients as possible -- for example, agave syrup instead of processed sugar. One of our favorites here is the Matador, a cinnamon-spiced mocha topped with whipped cream that's a decadent blend of vanilla, espresso and heavy whipping cream. Mmm.
4410 N. 40th St., Phoenix 602.840.7777 web
La Grande Orange
This is our favorite place to hit up before and/or after climbing Camelback Mountain. Located on 40th Street just below Camelback Road, La Grande Orange is a charming cafe-deli-grocery-coffee bar that serves nutritious breakfast dishes made with fresh ingredients (there are plenty of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options, too), as well as coffee that doesn't disappoint. The flavorful cold brewed coffee is a morning ritual for LGO loyalists. The store is open from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Also, note that parking is a problem, so be prepared to circle the place a few times (or several) before your visit.
Press Coffee now has two locations to serve the Valley. The first is a unique spot tucked away in the CityNorth development in North Phoenix, and the second is in Scottsdale Quarter. Whichever location you visit, however, Press Coffee places a big emphasis on high quality. The baristas roast their own beans and serve the coffee at its peak to bring out the most flavor and craft a perfect pot of brew each and every time; blends come from Ethiopia, Kenya, Brazil and Indonesia. But espresso and teas aren't your only options here; the CityNorth location also serves wine by the glass or bottle and craft beers. Enjoy an artisan cup of espresso alongside one of the cafe's creations, including paninis, soups, salads, breakfast sandwiches and freshly baked pastries.
230 N. Gilbert Rd., Gilbert 480.892.1900 web
Liberty Market in downtown Gilbert has a small town marketplace meets urban hangout vibe and offers specialty retail items and an eclectic menu, in addition to fine coffee. Head here for handcrafted espresso drinks like shots, macchiatos, cappuccinos, caffe mochas and cafe lattes. You might also feel like branching out on occasion -- in that case, you'll find no shortage of coffees to pique your interest. Try the iced Ca Phe (Vietnamese coffee), Cafe Cubano (Cuban espresso and raw sugar), Irish Coffee (strong coffee, Jameson Irish Whiskey and fresh whipped creeam), or the Caffe Corretto (espresso, grappa or sambuca and raw sugar). Liberty Market's specialty, though, is the La Cortadito, a Cuban micro-latte that packs a decidedly macro punch.