Until a couple of years ago I didn’t drink coffee. However, I always liked the smell of coffee. It reminded me of when I was a kid having breakfast with my grandfather Bob Upton down on Viewpoint Farm in Middle Tennessee. Grandpa Upton would drink coffee and we’d have toast and country ham…REAL country-cured ham that was so salty you almost couldn’t eat it. When we were done he’d take me out to fire up the old Allis-Chalmers tractor with the smell of that coffee following us out the farmhouse door. We’d head out across the field to meet the sunrise.
A Bad Turn
I tried coffee occasionally over the years since, but still never developed a taste for it. Even six years in the military didn’t turn me (well, not really the military; I was in the Air Force). However, a couple of years ago around October, my wife brought me a Starbucks “pumpkin spice caramel macchiato.” AKA, blood sugar imbalance in a cup.
Wow, that was good. Little did she know that she’d start me down a bad path that would see a succession of strange coffee machines and grinders pass through our kitchen. Being trained as an engineer, I did all kinds of research on brewing coffee and finally decided that I liked espresso.
As you probably know, “espresso” is brewed under “pressure,” which takes special gear. We now have a pretty good “super automatic” (grinds, tamps, brews, and dispenses) home espresso machine, and an espresso (or two) is now an indispensable part of my morning ritual.
However, during the time I was trying out all the assorted coffee makers, the independent coffee house craze was finally working its way north from Tempe to Scottsdale. Of course, coffee consumers elsewhere in the Valley had coffee houses for years before, even Tempe (Remember Coffee Plantation?), but for some reason Scottsdale seemed slow to pick up the bean buzz.
The Coffee Office
When it did, I would occasionally go out for a cup of professionally prepared espresso, and in the process discovered coffee houses were a great place to meet up with clients and associates. I had sold my office building a few years ago and never got around to setting up another one, so the local coffee house was a great alternative for the occasional, informal business meeting.
Of course Scottsdale has the usual Paradise Bakery, Coffee Bean, Einstein’s and Starbucks. They’ll do in a pinch, but I’m still a fan of the independents (and smaller chains). The point of all this nostalgia was to direct you to some of my favorite coffee shops in my part of town. Here’s my South Scottsdale list from (roughly) north-to-south:
- Village Coffee Roastery, Via de Ventura and Hayden
- Buzzberry at McDonald and Granite Reef
- Devine in the lower level at Optima
- Java Me Crazy, west of Fashion Square Mall, bottom floor of the office tower on the corner of Goldwater and Camelback
- Cartel Coffee (formerly Sola)
- Pascucci/Gelato Spot, 3rd Ave/Scottsdale Rd
- Scratch Pastries, just north of Indian School and Miller
- Orange Table, south end of Scottsdale Civic Center Mall beside Center for Performing Arts
- Echo Coffee at Thomas and 68th
- D’Lish south of Albertson’s at Thomas and Scottsdale Rd
- Dutch Brothers at McDowell and Scottsdale Rd
- Temptations Cafe on McDowell west of Granite Reef
And I’ll throw one in for the Scottsdale Airpark since I was there recently:
- Press Coffee Roasters in the Scottsdale Quarter
What’s YOUR favorite place?