December 13, 2006 Posted by Brian Sheahan Filed under Uncategorized
This review & photos were submitted by Brian Sheahan. Thanks Brian! — Chris
As one of the fastest-growing towns in the country, one has come to expect quick fixes to the shortage of coffee houses in Gilbert, leaving us all with bitter, under-extracted, over-expected espresso, covered up in a hefty helping of sugary sweetness. Yet in the midst of the hustle and bustle associated with building great cities and towns, there is a tranquil corner in this rapidly growing community located on Ray Road between Greenfield and Higley roads. Agritopia promises prospective homebuyers a timeless, front-porch, white- picket-fence neighborhood with grocers, schools and restaurants all in walking distance centered in an urban farm – altogether given in a manner nostalgic only to those of the baby-boomer generation (I keep waiting for something more natural to occur, like a Wal-Mart to go up on the corner – but it only gets better).
The Coffee Shop offers something less traditional, yet highly sought after; an upscale atmosphere coupled with quality caffeinated beverages and fresh foods. I have seen far too few coffee houses that can offer both a resort-like feel with plush patio furnishings, discrete lighting, and separate sitting areas for eating and socializing, while not compromising the quality of their bean with its all-important process of extraction.
As you enter through the front doors, a purposeful collection of dining tables await you; whether it be munching on some tasty breakfast items made fresh on the premises, enjoying one of the many items on the PM Pastries or lunch menu, or just enjoying the Open Access Point Wi-Fi Internet. Going a bit deeper into the room, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find a warm and inviting sitting area with couches and armchairs. The computer users generally occupy this portion of the building, surrounding the provided electrical outlets. Just outside the back doors is an oasis of tables and lounge chairs amidst a beautifully and meticulously maintained garden of flowers and greenery. This coffee house’s environment alone is worth the experience.
The drinks offered on their menu shows that they prefer pouring a good quality demitasse of espresso to chocking your drink full of sugar. Nevertheless, they do prepare a fair listing of sweet drinks as well. On my first visit, Jenna prepared a triple Vanilla Latte for me, and she was present and behind the bar on my second visit when I enjoyed one of the best-made Americanos I’ve had. She prepared the drink with Cubano shots and a spot of cream: It was most delicious! One thing that stood out was that as overwhelmed as I was with what to choose (I’m the type that usually gets “the usual”), they were not only patient with me, but also willing to offer alternatives that weren’t on the menu. They were very much intent on satisfying my espresso pallet.
I work pretty early hours. Leaving Queen Creek at 5 a.m. to get into Phoenix by 6 a.m. requires a coffee house on my route to be open and ready to serve by 5:30. I was quite sad one day to discover that they don’t open their doors for business until 6 a.m. They are also closed on Sundays, which doesn’t bother me too much, as I am a loud advocate for at least one day a week being devoted to family and rest. And being that this house is family owned and operated, that makes for a pretty sparse staff on Sundays. I suppose I’m just used to coffee houses having nearly round-the-clock operating hours.
With all being said and done, the bottom of the mug for me is a pleasant place to be when at The Coffee Shop. A wider variety of hours and more electrical outlets at the dining table area would be a nice touch to an otherwise perfect coffee house experience. The Open Access Point WiFi and warm, friendly staff coupled with outrageously delicious and perfectly prepared espresso make this the ideal place for a relaxing cup of your favorite drink while visiting with your friends, reading a book, getting plugged in or to just enjoy the beautifully architected landscaping and garden.
¼ mile west of Higley Rd on the North side of Ray Rd., Gilbert, Arizona. (View a Map)
Hours of Operation:
Monday – Thursday: 6 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Friday – Saturday: 6 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Brian Sheahan is a Veteran and rare Arizona native who has enjoyed fine espresso across the nation while serving in the Marine Corps — after first honing his espresso tastes as a barista for coffee houses around the Valley. He has long enjoyed coffee and espresso since they first drew themselves to him nearly 15 years ago.