I recently made a trip to Cartel Coffee Lab with some friends and wanted to post a few photos from my trip. Cartel Coffee Lab opened early 2008 and is located in Tempe.

Overall it’s a pretty cool place. It has the feel of an air conditioned warehouse that has been converted to be a coffeehouse. But in a fast way: There are no built-in counter tops, and even the restroom is an addition. The seating area could use some expansion (we didn’t have quite enough chairs and tables for our group).


The outdoor signage.

As you can see, even the counter tops are not built-in.

Cartel is in a strip mall.

I didn’t see anybody using the Clover while I was there.

Customers can have their picture taken and posted on the wall.

Double espresso.

Cartel Coffee Lab also roasts all of their own coffee.

Cartel Coffee Lab
225 W. University Dr.
Suite #101
Tempe AZ 85281
Phone: (480) 225-3899

Arizona Coffee

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  1. It’s technically in a strip mall, but it doesn’t have the feel of a strip mall, IMHO. It’s in a very central location, in downtown Tempe, in walking distance from ASU. Also, it isn’t surrounded by parking lots — you can walk to it from Ash Avenue without walking through a parking lot.

    I’ve gone there and had a cappuccino a few times. I’ve found it to be a comfortable place to sit down and read. I also had a freshly baked cookie that was good. I like their prices, too ($2.25 for a cappuccino IIRC).

    They don’t just roast their own coffee — they’re a roaster that has a coffee shop. Last time I was there, a prospective customer came in, looked around, and said to the employee that he was looking more for a place to work, and wound up leaving to look for a more suitable place. The employee acknowledged that the coffee shop isn’t much, but it’s because they’re primarily a roaster.

  2. hb

    Nice pics, looks like a place I would not go. Feels to empty and sad. Hopefully they will add more stuff to make it more appealing.

  3. Thanks for the comments guys! It’s always the comments that make this site a good resource. Ben reminded me to mention that parking was very easy. And free for Cartel.

    Cartel also has some good reviews up on the Yelp.com profile site.

  4. HB. You should stop by. The place actually has a lot of character. While it isn’t necessarily for everyone, people seem to react really positively to the vibe that it has.

  5. hb

    Ill take your advice Austin and stop by hopefully this weekend. Thanks again. Thats why I love this site.

  6. jason

    Thanks for stopping in Chris. Just FYI we are closed Saturday (tomorrow) as we are leaving town for the holiday weekend, and we are always closed Sundays.

  7. jason

    …sorry I meant Cartel will be closed Saturday the 5th.

  8. Hey, even Espresso Vivace had crummy seating when it first started. (It was a walk-up stand)

    No pressure to compare Jason… 🙂

  9. MikeFTrevino

    While I was in Phoenix during May, before Jessica and my moved to Flagstaff, I went to Cartel as much as I could. Jason and crew were awesome coffee passionate people. Jason is always a hoot to talk shop with. The crew worked harder than most shops to make a great drink. One I know, has been a coffeephile for a very long time, I served her coffee when I worked at Safehouse.
    Like many have said, this location is a roster that serves coffee. I think the focus here is on coffee. The seating and wifi connection are perks.
    Chris, I’m shocked you didn’t get a coffee porn shot of their espresso grinder. It’s the most unique conical grinder I’ve ever seen. I got a little hard when I saw it. And as we all know, the grinder is as important as the coffee and coffee maker. In my opinion, more important than the maker.
    Jason has been rocking the AZ coffee scene. He was reping AZ baristas at the first SW regional Barista Competition. He’s a cool down to earth fun guy in an industry that can be full of pompous pricks, I know, I’ve been a pompous prick. Hell, who am I kidding, I still am.

  10. Pingback: Arizona Coffee » Best of 2008

  11. This places appearance could use a little pick me up. I hope it’s worth the trip. The girls and I will be checkin’ it out this week!