An unexpected visit to Grinders Coffee Co. on Sunday left me with a mixed opinion about the place.

It’s not my first trip to Grinders. I visited back in 2007. They have what looks like an excellent location on the corner of Dunlap and Central. There was a crowd there when I first arrived but most of the people cleared out shortly as they were closing for the afternoon.

What disturbed me most was my cappuccino. When I ordered a cappuccino the barista asked what size I would like. That’s the last thing I’d like to hear! I replied with “a double shot.” This is what I got. Look at all of that foam. How in the world is this considered a cappuccino?

I dressed it up as best I could and so that you can see the size of that mug.

The interior of Grinders Coffee Co. It felt a little bit cluttered. But it’s ok.

They were out of toddy, so I had an iced Americano. It was good.

My companion had a sweet drink.

The outdoor signage is really nice.

Grinders Coffee Co.
17 E. Dunlap
Suite 2
Phoenix, AZ 85020
Phone: (602) 678-0078

Arizona Coffee

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  1. Gotta give ’em credit for doing what it takes to make it. I believe Grinders has been around for at least five years or so now. The owner, Dennis, is a good guy and very personable.

  2. davep

    I get beans there, since work is close, local, and fresh. He has the Diedrich coffee roaster from Papa’s Perks, bought it when Papa’s closed.

  3. I didn’t have a chance to try the coffee but I agree about it feeling cluttered.

  4. Mitch

    I live near Grinders and I have to say that this shop has its own personality (one of the things I like about the industry) and they do their thing. Sometimes the drinks aren’t perfect but like Victor says they are doing something right to still be in business after 5 years.

  5. dennis

    I’m dennis. I don’t know what you mean about “Look at all that foam” Chris. My personal cappuccino would be in a much smaller cup with less foam and milk, as in Italy. But what the customer in America expects is a “Beatnik”. Americans expect big. I think what you wanted was an Italian cappuccino, as do I. Should have asked for it. Or perhaps you don’t want it as dry as we usually make it. We do it that way because we prefer the taste of espresso over milk. Good foam is the desert. We will make it any way you ask. There are some things you do because the customer wants it that way, and this is usually what they want. Maybe that’s why we have been around for eight years. Clutter? That’s because we have a small space. You’re right. Rent is expensive. Perhaps you could have mentioned in the caption for your photo that those metal chairs were there because we were closed, and perhaps you could give kudos to the staff for being patient while you took this unflattering picture as they wanted to enjoy what was left of their weekend. I think your average independent coffee shop last about ten minutes in Phoenix. We do whatever it takes to provide the very best coffee. We order only the highest grade beans available and roast them with extreme care. We have an eight bean espresso blend roasted in the northern Italy tradition, rather than how they do it in Seattle. I have so many wonderful testimonials from Italians and other Europeans and that is what I consider desired validation. I’m sure you are a great person, but I have mixed feelings about your sunglasses. I’d be pleased to serve your next cappuccino, Chris. On the house. Not on Sunday though, I’m off:)

  6. Dennis, you have to give Chris the ability to review your shop without bias or allowing for too much ‘coolness. It’ s AZ Coffee. We’re about the coffee, mostly. I agree with him about the foam, and so do you. You should have a cappuccino and a ‘Starbucks-style’ cappuccino if that’s what you want to serve, but let’s not blame Chris for your interpretation based on the Green Monster from Seattle. You clam that you have an Italian influence in the roasting, and that you’re proud of being different and separate form the Seattle wanna-be’s in that respect (and we do appreciate that, we do!) but in the same paragraph that you follow the fish-tailed siren in drink desacration. Yeah, I agree that your customers demand what is pictured, and that you should make it available to them. But when someone comes in and asks for a cappuccino, and you know what a cappuccino is, and they get something else, you really can’t get after them for being disappointed. That review is being written for me, and other folk like me, who also know what a cappuccino is. It lets us know that when we go there wanting a cappuccino, we need to ask for something else.
    Lots of qualified baristi are getting po’ed at me for asking for my drink by building instructions. Fewer and fewer everyday, as they try to order in other places, but if you’re gonna serve a cappuccino, call it that. If you’re gonna serve something else, why let a multi-national corporation that is the equivalent of a McD’s coffeehouse dictate what you call it? ; >

  7. jc

    I agree with Chris and Psyd on the grounds of what type of cappuccino I like. You can’t be upset with Chris review everyone has a right to an opinion. You say you like a “traditional” cappuccino then serve it. If it’s done the proper way like you say you like then the drink should speak for it’s self. It’s your shop serve what you want and if your drinks are as good as you say then people will still come and order them. Just my opinion and that’s how I would serve it. It’s up to us to show people the way drinks are supposed to taste and look like.

  8. I agree as well. We have served traditional(ish) cappuccinos and while there are naturally people who are looking for the starbucks or to a lesser extent Circle K caps, we simply inform them that we serve an 8oz double cappuccino, and they either order a carmel latte, or they get it and leave saying it was the best coffee they have ever had. The customer is not always right, but they should always leave happy.

  9. I dunno if I agree that it’s up to the baristi to educate their customers, but, then again, I’m not sure that I disagree. Their job, as I see it, is to give the customers what it is that the customer wants. Using the same terminology to describe more than one thing will always (read: every dingle samned time) lead to cunfusion, which is never gonna help in that original goal, i.e., getting the customer what he wants.
    I’ve been on the folk at the BGA for years, and some of the folk at the USBC (and other specialty coffee organizations) for a coupla years now about adopting ‘Buckese, or just flat-out making up recipes and calling them by traditional names, but so far, they don’t give a dingle.
    Any shopkeep can call any drink anything he wants to. He should, however, keep in mind that if what he serves doesn’t resemble what he calls it, his customers will note it.
    If I still did the pro thing, I’d post a description of the building blocks and techniques used to make my drinks, and how it differs from the chain stores’ methods (as well as how it parallels the original European methods, or the ‘third wave methodology) and offer to make anything that they like. This way I can educate the client without suggesting that they have an uneducated palate.
    BTW, Jason, if you’re going to the Ground Control jam/comp, I have some parts to go up, either a hopper for their Mazzer, or one of my Majors.
    And, are you still looking for a tamper? Anything remarkably specific?

  10. jc

    Hey Psyd not sure yet they haven’t said a time yet not anywhere I have seen. It all depends on what time I’m starting selling at Bookmans on Grant/Campbell this week so I’ll be super busy. But if I can make it up I can take stuff up for you.As far as tamper was just messing around online.

  11. Timiko

    i think grinders is amazing. i used to work there a few years ago, and have worked at 2 coffee
    shops in arizona since. neither of them pay attention to detail the way dennis miller does.
    though i do :p only becuase of what dennis taught me. it took dennis months
    and months to perfect not only his espresso, but his house blends as well. he got not only
    the emplyees involved, he got the customers opinions as well.if you don’t like
    coffee the traditional itallian way, go to starbucks. dennis miller is an artist. grinders coffee
    is perfection.