Tag Archives: cartel coffee lab

latte

Independent shops create Coffee Culture in Phoenix

It doesn’t take an investigative panel to notice the smattering of new coffee shops in Phoenix. In the past few years, vacant lots and empty buildings have transformed into Cartel Coffee Lab, Songbird Tea and Coffeehouse, JoBot Coffee and Nami.

The culture of local shops have more to offer to Phoenix than a just a latte. The journey from coffee bean to customer tells a story of sustainability and community. These ideas merged together to form Coffee Culture, a downtown Phoenix collective of local coffee shops.

A green coffee bean travels from a plantation in Costa Rica to a roaster in Tempe to a coffee shop in Phoenix to a shared moment between two strangers to in the story of Coffee Culture.

Coffee

Ron Cortez began roasting coffee in the mid-1990s. The backroom of his store front in Tempe, Arizona, smelled of freshly roasted coffee beans. His two young daughters played hide-and-seek as he poured two samples of highly-caffeinated cold brew coffee.

Cortez grew up among the coffee plantations of Costa Rica. He left his career as a banker to found Cortez Coffee Company.

“I remember seeing an 80 kilogram bag of coffee and thinking, ‘How are we going to sell all of this?’” he said. “Now we sell over 120,000 pounds of coffee a year.”

After researching sustainability, Cortez decided he wanted to go beyond Fair Trade and organic. He joined More Than Fair, an organization that buys directly from farmers for a fair price.

Thirty cafes across the valley brew Cortez Coffee. Online sales and social media are revolutionary to the local movement.

“You can now reach out to customers directly,” he said. “People care about the story behind their coffee.”

Cafe

Songbird Coffee and Tea is one of the valley businesses that brews Cortez Coffee. A rotating board lists two roasts with details about the coffee’s origin and roast. The skilled baristas serve the coffee pour over style and swirl steamed milk into latte art. The cafe also offers loose leaf tea and iced espresso-based drinks.

“Songbird is one of the strongest coffee houses in the area,” Cortez said. “They are a true success story.”

Husband and wife team, Jonathan and Erin Carroll, started Songbird in July 2012.

“If we didn’t have a loyal customer base, we wouldn’t be here,” Jonathan Carroll said. “We wouldn’t be thriving.”

A few months ago, he decided to create a community of downtown cafes. He said wanted to create a group where coffee shops could promote not just themselves but also other small businesses and the local movement.

“If you’re going to spend your hard earned money, keep it local,” he said. “Small businesses care about the customers more and listen to their feedback.”

Each coffee shop has something different to offer, he said. Jobot Coffee keeps late night hours and whips up crepes and burritos. Nami serves vegan pastries and brunch. Lola Coffee offers fresh roasted beans and a lively ambiance. Coffee lovers tend to support several different shops.

Community

Quinn Whissen and Ryan Tempest, cofounders of This Could Be PHX, helped Carroll mobilize his mission. Together they formed Coffee Culture

“Jonathan approached us with the idea of promoting all the coffee shops around downtown,” Whissen said. “Even though he’s a coffee shop owner, he doesn’t see them as competitors. He sees them as part of a culture.”

The project consists of a graphic art poster by Whissen highlighting 13 uptown and downtown coffee shops. An interactive map on Coffee Culture’s website lists unique features of each shop and includes biking, walking, driving and light rail directions.

Also included is a collection of people’s story on how the coffee community has transformed their lives “one coffee and one conversation at a time.”

“You go into a coffee shop and you see people working, reading, studying and meeting friends,” Tempest said. “It’s a great way to make connections.”

Those connections has proven to be pivotal in Whissen’s and Tempest’s lives. The pair met at a Phoenix coffee shop, and Whissen, a marketing and design consultant, works and meet clients at cafes.

“Coffee Culture highlights all the great local coffee shops in downtown, the community they create and the culture they foster,” Tempest said.

The movement fell in line with This Could Be PHX’s philosophy of urban revival and sustainability.

Downtown Phoenix has had a bad reputation for such a longtime, Whissen said. People think it’s dangerous or there’s no local business or nightlife. Coffee Culture seeks to change that, latte by latte.

Arimont

CBRE Negotiates Sale of Arimont Apartments in Phoenix

Clear Sky Capital Arimont LLC of Phoenix has purchased Arimont Apartments, a 21-unit multifamily property located at 1102 E. Maryland Ave. in Phoenix. Brian Smuckler and Jeff Seaman of CBRE’s Multi-Housing Private Capital Group in Phoenix represented the buyer and the seller, The Eugenijus Valiulis Revocable Trust of Ojai, Calif., and negotiated the $940,000 sale.

coffee beans

Coffee, Tea and Food in a New (Green) Light

After a busy, stressful and life changing year in 2010, I decided to have a new outlook for 2011. I, along with probably 95% of the American population, decided that my New Year’s resolution would be to eat healthier. So, I took the initiative to research and visit local coffee shops and cafes in the Valley that offer a healthy lifestyle…and a green attitude.

The three main characteristics I look for in a cafe include the following:

  • organic or local products used,
  • variety in product,
  • and a friendly atmosphere.

 

I look for organic or local products in the cafe because not only is the food fresh and healthy for you, but we also live in a state where a majority of vegetables and fruit are harvested!

Second, I look for cafes with a variety of products because I change my cravings as often as a college student changes his or her
major.

Lastly, I look for a friendly atmosphere because there is nothing worse than loving a cafe, but the employees are rude. Who wants to start a morning like that?

 

Thus, below lists my top five coffee shops or cafes I have found in Phoenix, Ariz. that support “going green”:

 

1.

Bunna Coffee & Tea

Bunna is an independent cafe specializing in organic & fair trade products. No words can describe how much I love this place. Their prices are very reasonable, the staff is very attentive, and their food is cooked well — almost to perfection.

7520 S. Rural Rd.
Tempe, AZ 85283
(480) 377-2886

Coffee, Flickr, Greg Burkett

2.

Pomegranate Cafe

Pomegranate Cafe’s philosophy is to revitalize food and pure flavors, and that is exactly what they do. Their food is fresh, rich and very satisfying. Also, the presentation of the food is beautiful. I didn’t even want to start eating my food because I didn’t want to ruin the art. (I eventually did because it was way too good to pass up!) Every meal uses organic ingredients with an emphasis on seasonal fruits and vegetables. Thus, they create a changing menu each season.

4025 E. Chandler Blvd., Suite 28
Phoenix, AZ 85048
(480) 706-7472

pomegranate, Flickr, JOE MARINARO

3.

Cartel Coffee Lab

Cartel Coffee Lab believes in “uncompromising quality, extreme simplicity, global consciousness, and local community.” Just reading that caught my attention. However, Cartel Coffee Lab and its coffee is a unique & awakening experience due to the unique smell of its coffee from Guatemala. The art also provides a “green” experience; their decor is comprised entirely of recycled art.

225 W. University Drive
Tempe, AZ 85281
(480) 225-3899

cartel coffee lab, Flickr, whereduck

4.

Gold Bar Espresso

Gold Bar Espresso specializes in the quality of its products — using the organic Allann Bros. Coffee and Tea. Gold Bar has a huge variety of products ranging from coffee to unique mixtures of tea. With coffee, free wireless Internet, games and live music, Gold Bar Espresso is a great place to hang out.

3141 S. McClintock Dr.
Tempe, AZ 85282
(480) 839-3082

coffee and tea, Flickr, kshgarg

5.

Urban Beans

Urban Beans supports the local community by serving pastries from local pastry chefs, bakeries and businesses. The environment is calm, soothing and warm with vintage chairs and large tables at which to work. Their tea is refreshing for a hot day, and their pastries (such as wheat-free snicker doodles and apple fritters) are to die for!

3508 N. 7th Street, Suite 100
Phoenix, AZ 85014
(602) 595-2244

coffee, Flickr, lu_lu