Hopefully it is no secret by now that I am a coffee nut! Fine coffee is like fine wine – everything from where it is grown, nutrients in the soil, sunshine, water, etc. all impact the flavor. A bean grown in South America will taste very different than a bean from Africa. But how you roast it, and brew it, also impacts the final flavor that you taste when you sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee. I wake up every morning and make myself a pot of pour over and I love and savor every minute of the experience! I usually start the day with three cups, black. HUGE Chemex fan! With that said, I also love exploring coffee shops and trying new coffee creations and local roasters. Recently David and I were in Arizona visiting my family and we took it upon ourselves to find the best coffee in Phoenix! Thankfully he loves coffee as much as I do!
Cartel Coffee Lab
If you’re looking for an open and airy coffee shop to meet a friend, or do some work, definitely stop by Cartel. I visited their location in Downtown Phoenix, which is one of their smaller shops, but still super bright and welcoming. Their philosophy is, “seed to cup.” Further, they really are a roasting, “lab,” and pride themselves on each step of the process. They roast specialty single-origin beans, highlighting the flavor of various regions.
You can also join, “Cartel Edition,” with coffee mailed to you every month. They’ll roast the coffee the day before shipping it out to you, so you receive the freshest beans. David had a hot coffee with steamed 1/2 and 1/2 (his usual go-to), and I had an iced latte. Neither of us are big on sugary drinks, so I can’t speak to those offerings. With that said, the coffee is so well sourced, roasted, ground, and brewed, that what you get is one good clean cup of coffee that doesn’t need much else added to it!
You can find Cartel Coffee Lab at six locations around Phoenix, including one at Sky Harbor Airport!
This is a really neat little coffee shop, not because they are super coffee roasting freaks, but because it feels like home. It is a good size coffee shop with lots of little rooms and sitting nooks, perfect to keep to yourself, or engage with a few friends. It was surprisingly quiet, considering how busy it was and how many people were sitting at tables, and on the sofas.
They offer a full breakfast, lunch, dinner, and bakery menu, along with their coffee and tea offerings. The food looked INCREDIBLE, but David and I only got a few pastries to try. Adding to the homey feeling was how they served their food – on mismatched, often chipped plates.
It might surprise you that I chose a place like Lux because their focus isn’t just coffee. While the coffee at this place is great, I think it is the relaxing environment that makes it a must-go. It’s the perfect place to curl up in a big chair with a book, or your laptop, or sit at a communal table and enjoy a lovely lunch with friends. It is the exact place you need it to be, when you need it.
You can find Lux Central at 4400 North Central Ave. in Phoenix.
Next time you’re in Phoenix, stop by Cartel and Lux and tell me what you guys think! If you live in Phoenix, do you think there are other shops that I should visit next time?
Huge thank you to my coffee-loving partner in crime for going on this overly caffeinated adventure with me!