I hadn’t been to Mama Java’s in about a year and stopped by with a friend the other day. Here’s a photo of my cappuccino.


It was really disappointing. I actually didn’t even finish it.

#1: I asked for a small cappuccino. Seriously? The size of this drink is a latte. You can see my muffin on the other dish.

#2: What is up with those bubbles? They’re the kind of bubbles I like to see when I use soap to mop my floor. Not to drink. Real cappuccino bubbles are called micro foam for a reason. Take a look at this photo for comparison.

#3: I am really disappointed with the consistency around Phoenix when it comes to cappuccinos. While one place does them great, the next five don’t. It’s time that coffee shops get real. Maybe I’m just spoiled after my trip to Italy where almost every cappuccino was amazing.


I also ordered an iced mocha (pictured above) which was quite delicious and was my consolation prize.

Oh, and Mama Java’s is also now on Twitter.

Arizona Coffee

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. Disappointed in your cappuccini? I blame the Barista Guild of America, and associated organization of the SCAA. Presently, you can get ‘certified’ for $45. Until recently, that certification only certifies that you used to have nearly fifty bucks, and that you don’t anymore. I’m hoping that tossing that at them has had some effect in their recent changes to their certification program.
    Compare their certification process with that of the European Specialty Coffee Association here, .
    Most ‘certified’ baristi in the US will insist that whatever they call a cappuccino IS a cappucino, regardless of anyone else’s opinion, and will refuse to consider any sort of standardization. Odd, since the seem to be happy to allow Fourbucks to set the standard that they seem to be adhering to.
    AFAIK, the only true standard for a cappuccino is the one set by the Italian Government, here: Have your Italian to English dictionary handy.
    If the WBC standard were to be set by this, we’d at least have some hope of getting a consistent drink with a consistent order, but as even the World Barista Champion isn’t expected to be that constrained by any specific amounts or ratios, you’ll never see it ion your local shops. I’ve taken to ordering cafeteria style, “I’d like a double shot of espresso, no more than two and-a-half ounces, in a bout three or four ounces of micro-foamed milk please.”
    In a complete and total jam (twelve hour day, and a Fourbucks with an auto machine or nothing) I’ve actually trained as many barista to microfoam milk in Tucson as Starbucks themselves did in their three hour training blackout.
    If you want things to change, then you have to return the monster au lait, and tell the barista that you ordered a cappuccino, and that you’ll be happy to describe one if he thinks that this is one.
    We get what we accept.

  2. The reason that you get inconsistency in your drinks is the battle between the Fourbucksian Contingent, the Italian Contingent, and the Hippie/Alterna-Grunge Contingent of Specialty Coffee.
    And the SCAA’a Barista Guild of America is no less confused than any of those contingents. They’ve only recently done anything at all with any sort of training to certify their baristi. The SCAE (Europe) has been doing it for years, and has a serious training program already in place.
    The three contingents will argue that the ‘Bucksian definition is prevalent, so we should use it because the ignorant unwashed masses, yearning to be fleeced, already know it and it’s too hard to retrain them. BTW, these are the same folk that brought you the ‘New Millenium’ parties on Dec. 31, 1999.
    The Italian Contingent will suggest that you look totItaly, since all of this specialty coffee has it’s roots there, and since the Italian Government has adopted an official definition.
    The Hippie/Alterna-Grunge contingent will suggest that it’s fast and loose, and that you can call anything you like anything you like and we don’t want to conform to any standard, man, so quit hasslin’ us and we don’t have to make your drinks, anyway, like, man, because I’m not really a barista, man, I’m really an artist…
    Anyhoo, until we become a bit more serious about our drinks than getting them from a mermaid, a clown, and a donut maker, how do we expect to be taken very seriously?
    You might as well be complaining that the two clowns and the little dog make their tacos different, and neither of them can hold a candle to the tacos that you can get Los Dos Molinos.

    • Those are some great comments Psyd, and I totally am in the Italian Contingent on this one.

      [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  3. Heh…
    Two rants, one because the other wasn’t accepted by the site right away…
    Choose the one that you like, and go with it! ; >

  4. Laral

    Hey Chris, I agree with you entirely about coffee in general in the states. I haven’t been to Seattle but the only places I’ve had decent coffee were in small Trattoria/Bars in New York’s Little Italy and Boston’s North End. Forget Phoenix. This place is 50 years behind the rest of the country anyway. I remember in Italy, even in a tiny dingy train station in the middle of nowhere, you could get a perfect cappuccino anywhere. And a barista in Italy is nothing more than a bartender who happens to be skilled in the art of espresso. And no big deal is made over coffee there, either, like it is here. To hear people here brag about how good their coffee is or how skillful a barista they are is strictly bourgeois. You’d think the way they brag that they INVENTED espresso. Really silly. Italians have been quietly sipping their caffè for a over a century.

    I’ve practically given up searching for a good dry cappuccino here. In fact I just bought a used commercial machine on craigslist so I can learn to do it right on my own. Once I do I pity the poor “barista” who dares give me a watery cappuccino. 😉

    P.S. I hope this is not a duplicate. I didn’t see it the first time so I’m trying again. If it is just delete this one.

    • Laral,

      Thanks for your comments. Which places around Phoenix have you tried for a cappuccino? I’d highly suggest the ones at Cartel Coffee in Tempe.


  5. Laral

    Hey Chris, to tell the truth I’ve only tried places in the West Valley. So far Wildflower has been the best though by no means like I had in Italy or the places mentioned. I called Ground Control for directions since that seems promising. I liked the photos you showed and the fact that they roast their own. The woman I talked to said she’d lived in Italy for 7 years and was very fussy about her coffee and the owners had spent time there and so are serious about coffee. I will definitely go there to check it out. As far as Cartel it seems from their website that they only sell beans. Where is the cafe?

    • Hi,

      Cartel is a coffee shop and a roastery. But it’s definitely a coffee shop. I was there today and the place was packed.


      [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.