Food Scene

Tempe has a latte of great coffee spots

Tempe has a latte of great coffee spots and per usual I have a ton of puns that I could relate to this…but I won’t. I mean, I can’t espresso to you how brew-ti-ful Tempe is this time of year with a cup of joe in hand. Okay, I will stop, but seriously Tempe is the hub of great coffee. We ask you to step away from the “Bucks” (Starbucks), and seek out the best coffee in Tempe at these local cafes.

Cartel Coffee Lab
225 W. University Dr., #101 | (480) 621-6381

Tempe’s coffee claim to fame would have to be Cartel Coffee Lab. Their first shop opened in Tempe a few years back and they now have seven locations, including Phoenix Sky Harbor, Tucson and one location in Palm Springs. Their empire is growing and that’s a very good thing. Cartel’s espresso is top notch and their flavors are out of this world. Each type of coffee is curated and sourced responsibly from countries including El Salvador, Colombia and Rwanda. This coffee shop gets straight to the point with limited menu items, but don’t be fooled, these coffee connoisseurs can whip up just about anything. Don’t feel like leaving your house to get Cartel coffee? No problem. Subscribe and they will deliver it wherever you would like. Now you can Netflix and brew!

Press Coffee
601 W. Rio Salado Pkwy., #103 | (480) 794-1107
1221 E. Apache Blvd. | (480) 566-5380

Ever wonder how coffee starts from a bean and ends in the delicious cup of coffee that you’re drinking? Before you Google it or ask Siri, check out Press Coffee for their Coffee 101 class, currently offered at their Chandler and Scottsdale locations. This is an interactive coffee learning experience from masters of their craft. Each class will teach you how to evaluate beans and roasts, learn the history of coffee and how it journeys from seed to cup. The goal is to gain a better understanding on how the flavors you taste today are created. It’s like wine tasting, but for coffee! If you don’t have time to join their class, stop in and grab a cup of coffee or one of their delicious food items any day of the week.

Infusion Coffee & Tea Crafters
1300 E. 8th St., Tempe, AZ 85281 | (480) 968-2533

Infusion is a bit off the beaten path, but once you discover it, you’ll keep coming back for more. It is located next door to Four Peaks Brewing Company, just a stone’s throw from the ASU Tempe Campus. The owner, Patrick O’Malley, travels around the world to teach about coffee and bring the best sourced beans and teas back to Tempe. Patrick has a diploma from the Speciality Coffee Association of Europe and opened the International Barista & Coffee Academy in 2012. So this place is legit. You can get any of your standard coffee beverages, but they also have some interesting twists like The Bee’s Knees (a mix of espresso, lemon and honey) and SpoO’J (a blend of juice and espresso). And, their tea selection is out of this world. They also teach a variety of classes from a Latte Art Workshop to Public Cupping, where you learn all about how coffee is made and why each coffee has a unique flavor.

Romancing the Bean
80 E. Rio Salado Pkwy., #120 | (480) 921-4077

Originally started in Scottsdale, Romancing the Bean calls Tempe home at the Hayden Ferry Lakeside office complex on Mill Avenue and Rio Salado Parkway. This family-owned establishment has a passion for great coffee and tea and puts time into selecting beans from the finest growing regions in the world. This charming coffeehouse specializes in hot, iced and blended drinks that have been perfected to possess the ideal characteristics for all espresso lovers. I go for the Iced Carmello every time. It’s the perfect mix of espresso and caramel flavor. Pair one of their drinks with a tasty pastry or lunch item. And be sure to go during the week — they’re not open on Saturday or Sunday.

King Coffee
1020 S. Mill Ave., Tempe, AZ 85281 | (480) 307-6557

Is it a coincidence that a coffee shop across the street from Arizona State University would do so well? They have a local customer base and gain new fans all the time. This quaint, kind of hipster spot is locally owned by people who truly love coffee. They’ve expanded their space over the years so there are plenty of tables for studying, business meetings or just relaxing with your besties. I’m a big fan of their Iced Chai, with just the right amount of spice. And, you can’t ever go wrong with their Pour Over or Macchiato. Pair a drink with a pastry, bagel or sandwich.

The Blend Boba & Coffeehouse
521 S. College Ave., #11 | (480) 939-2738

The Blend is also local to Tempe and combines both Boba and coffee. This place makes me feel right at home, they have all my favorite basic espresso and blended drinks like the caramel macchiato, dirty chai and lattes. Add Honey Boba, Jelly Boba or Popping Boba to any of their loose-leaf teas for extra flavor. The Blend is also budget friendly, so feel free to splurge on a drink or two or three!

Royal Coffee Bar
502 S. College Ave. | (602) 402-8184

A hop, skip, and a jump from The Blend lies Royal Coffee Bar. The Royal Coffee Bar & Roasting Company is an independent coffee shop and roastery located in Downtown Tempe. If you are a true coffee fanatic this is your place. They have a clean and simple design giving it a no fuss or fluff appeal. This place means coffee business!

The Crepe Bar
7520 S. Rural Rd., Tempe, AZ 85283 | (480) 247-8012

I know what you’re thinking. The Crepe Bar sells crepes and this is a blog about coffee. True, but we had to give The Crepe Bar an honorable mention here. Yes, everyone obsesses about their crepes and for good reason. They’re incredibly tasty. But, your experience isn’t complete here until you’ve tried their coffee. They take it quite seriously, using Presta Coffee from Tucson. Their photogenic and tasty lattes come can come with honey, vanilla, caramel and sea salt and dark chocolate mocha flavors. And, for something truly unique, check out their Molasses Spiced Latte with espresso, black molasses, whipped cream, chocolate shavings and pecans from Arizona. Is it a meal? Is it a coffee? Either way, it is a serious kick-start to your day.

Delante Coffee
960 W. University Dr., #111, Tempe, AZ 85281

Located on the corner of University and Hardy Drive, Delante Coffee is in good company with long time Tempe favorites Cornish Pasty and Rosita’s Mexican Food. Deriving from the Spanish word Adelante, meaning to ‘go forward, onward’, the Delante mission is to honor this meaning by moving forward and helping each customer share their #Adelantestory. Not only does Delante Coffee show their love and passion for the community with each cup of coffee, but they also make what I would declare as the best breakfast burro! I shamefully admit that I tried both burro options, but how could you not when you’re faced with choosing between the El Patron Chorizo Burro or the La Blanca Vegeterian Burro. Pair the burro with their Spiced Matcha Latte or their Mexican Mocha and you will not be disappointed!

Don’t forget to tag us in your photos on social media @tempetourism #ourtempe We would LOVE to see your Instagrammable coffee art. Cheers!

Alicia Kentz
Written Alicia Kentz

Alicia is an ASU Alumna and Tucson native who is unapologetically herself. When she is not sharing her passion for Tempe, she is a devoted dog mom and reality TV enthusiast who has a weakness for charcuterie boards and wine!


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