A blonde barista with dark glasses begins to prepare a drink by cleaning the espresso machine. White mugs stand ready
Cartel Coffee Lab in Tempe (Credit: Cartel Roasting Co.)

Top Coffee Shops & Cafes in Arizona

Arizona's coffee culture may not be as widespread as our neighbors in the Northwest, but we do have our share of coffee shops serving up a café experience that's as memorable as their brews.

COFFEE IN PHOENIX METRO AREA

Cartel Coffee Lab

In Tempe, the Arizona State University crowd predominates at Cartel Coffee Lab, which has a minimalist interior design scheme and a stripped-down, straightforward coffee-and-tea menu. It can be difficult to find a seat here, but the award-winning, house-roasted coffees make it worth the trouble. You can also find satellite Cartel coffee houses across the state, including multiple locations in Phoenix, Tucson, Scottsdale and Paradise Valley—all with similar industrial decor and chill vibes.

Driftwood Coffee

With an Instagram-friendly exterior and contemporary museum-like interior (white exposed beams, bold art on the walls), Driftwood Coffee's ambiance sets the tone for a morning grind that's anything but boring. The menu includes "speedy" drinks, such as drip coffee and nitro cold brew, for those who don't have time to linger, and "slow" beverages like French press coffee worth waiting for. Driftwood Coffee is located in Old Town Peoria, and a second location with a different name—Reap and Sow Coffee—can be found inside the legendary music venue, The Rebel Lounge.

Futuro

You'll need to pay attention to spot this new-ish coffee spot, tucked away in a stark white, nondescript building just off of downtown Phoenix's Roosevelt Row with only the word "Palabra" painted on the front. Inside Futuro, the minimalist white theme continues, punctuated by contemporary art and art books arranged throughout the space. Signature drinks include coffee flavored with local raw honey, citrus, and stoneground cacao. Pair your coffee with a plate of tamales or pozole (offered only on Sundays).

Mythical Coffee

In Phoenix's East Valley, discover the mythic. Mythical Coffee in Gilbert forgoes the industrial and wood-inspired aesthetics of their caffeinated peers, opting instead for a breezy white and bright space accented with neon lights and mint green tiles. Their drinks are as playful as their decor, with seasonal flavors such as Lemon Poppy and Banana Colada lattes, and the Sonoran Sour—a rum-aged cold brew shaken with agave and lime juice.

Peixoto Coffee

From the Peixoto family farm—Fazenda São José da Boa Vista, located in the highlands of the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil—Peixoto Coffee beans travel directly from South America to downtown Chandler. The moody coffee shop has a modern design and lots and lots of plants. Try your coffee black, or go for a more colorful creation, such as a purple lemonade made with lavender purple syrup, green matcha, or a blue latte, which gets its hue from butterfly pea flower and blue matcha.

Songbird Coffee & Tea House

If it wasn't for the sign outside, you might feel obligated to knock on the front door of Songbird Coffee & Tea House. Located in a 1904 bungalow in the Roosevelt Row Arts District—and still very much sporting a homey, lived-in look—Songbird's vibe is more laidback hangout than early-morning rush. Grab an espresso, tea or even kombucha and stay awhile. The chances of running into a poetry reading, local music set or dance performance are high.

COFFEE IN TUCSON AND SOUTHERN ARIZONA

Two baristas stand behind a wood counter. One is ringing up a customer, while the other is preparing a drink.
EXO Roast on 6th Avenue, Tucson

Exo Roast Co.

Known for its commitment to small-batch producers and direct trade coffee, Exo Roast Co. embodies the community-oriented feel of its products at its downtown Tucson and Barrio Viejo coffee shops. Cozy, wood-clad and warm, the environment at both Exo locations is welcoming whether you're searching for solitude or meeting with a friend to catch up over cappuccinos. No matter where, when or why you go, don't miss the chiltepin cold brew.

Presta Coffee Roasters

Groups of people sit at tables on a bright, tree-filled patio with umbrellas. It's surrounded by the windows of shops
View of Mercado San Agustin's patio, just outside of Presta

Presta's three locations—at the Mercado San Agustin, off Fourth Avenue, and just north of the University of Arizona on First Avenue—have the same coffee, but different ambiances. Go to the Mercado San Agustin to be a casual observer; there's always something going on in the central courtyard. At the First Avenue location, the mood is industrial and modern. Off Fourth Avenue, you're likely to run into a friendly dog or a familiar face.

Bisbee Breakfast Club

The Bisbee Breakfast Club serves up java, along with eggs, omelets and other morning fare. Its generous portions, vintage interior and homemade, sky-high cream pies are what keep bringing guests back. Trendy? Maybe. Classic? Always. The BBC also has locations in Chandler, Marana, Mesa and Tucson, but you'll want to visit the original, located on the lip of Bisbee's Lavender Pit Mine.

Old Bisbee Roasters

The scent of freshly roasted coffee beans lures you to an open window on 7 Naco Road, right at the entrance to the heart of Old Bisbee. You've arrived at Old Bisbee Roasters, where beans come from sustainable, grower cooperatives and small-batch makes for coffee made with care. You're likely to run into Seth, an enthusiastic redhead, offering free shots of espresso (ask him about how Old Bisbee Roasters' got its start with just a simple cast iron pan). Due to its location, this is often a first or last stop on visitors' route through Old Bisbee.

COFFEE IN NORTHERN ARIZONA

Firecreek Coffee Company

Though its flagship store may be in Flagstaff, Firecreek Coffee Company's popularity has expanded the business to Cottonwood, Sedona and an architecturally stunning location in Phoenix's Arcadia neighborhood. And why not? Single-origin and custom blends transform a cup of coffee into an immersive experience, thanks to Firecreek's focus on mindful batches. Sit. Stay. Sip.

Macy's European Coffee House

If a coffee shop could be a sweater, this would be your favorite wool pullover. The warm woods and friendly company make Macy's Coffee House in Flagstaff a popular spot with locals and visitors looking for caffeine and a short pause. During winter, it's the perfect place to escape the snow; and during summer, the giant windows and outdoor seating make for perfect people watching.

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About the Author

Bryn Bailer

Native Tucsonan Bryn Bailer is an award-winning journalist, former newspaper reporter, current-affairs junkie, and a firm believer in indecision. (At least she thinks so.) Her work has appeared in various publications, including The Dallas Morning News, Arizona Highways, Arizona Daily Star, international news service Agence France-Presse, scads of lifestyle magazines, and curiously, the English-language financial magazine Czech Business Weekly.