And following the interview with the New Times in May, Cartel Coffee Lab was in the newspaper on June 2nd. The article is titled Coffee with a conscience, and includes information about coffee bean sourcing, roasting coffee, and the owners decisions to keep prices low.

The Espresso Lounge recently made a trip to Cartel Coffee Lab as well and posted a few photos.

In 2006, he and his wife, Amy, decided to seriously pursue their dream of opening a coffee shop. On a trip to Guatemala in 2007, Silberschlag said he “fell in love with coffee on a whole new level.”

Mingling with Central American coffee farmers and people from a long line of coffee growers and roasters, he became immersed in the process of roasting beans and more in tune with the environment and the business as it pertained to people. As he learned more about coffee, Silberschlag said, he became intrigued with doing high-end coffee with a global conscience.

When he returned, the Silberschlags altered their plan and made their coffee shop a roastery, as well.

“I couldn’t shake this buzz of actually roasting coffee,” he said.

Patrons can see the roaster in action in the shop. He sells whole-bean coffee for $13 to $14 a pound.

Silberschlag gets his coffee directly from coffee-producing families and utilizes methods that he described as “beyond organic and beyond fair trade” that ensure hardworking farmers are adequately compensated.

His plastic cold cups and straws are made from corn and are 100 percent compostable. His paper cups are made of recycled paper with an inner lining made of corn.

His milk comes from an organic family creamery in Northern California that uses glass bottles.

Silberschlag is coordinating a revival of Final Fridays in downtown Tempe, where businesses display art, feature artists and open their doors on the last Friday night of every month. A couple of nearby businesses are onboard, and he plans to have it going full speed by the fall.

His coffee menu is small, but it hits the key favorites. Lattes, mochas and other espresso-based concoctions run $2 to $4. The food selection is limited, but early birds are treated to cookies and other sweets.

You can read the full article on AZ Central.

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

Arizona Coffee

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  1. OK. I guess, I will be the first. I read the whole article and in the effort for promoting thenselves they get good grade, exept for the fact that pretty few people I know score big by trashing there competitors. Some of the numbers seem to be a bit inflated (40 roasters in Arizona) but perhaps they are mixing some home roasters to the number. There are several coffee houses that roast there own coffee and seem to be doing a good job (Village, Lux, Cafe Luce, etc) See, one thing that all coffee roasters have in common is that we think that we have the best coffee in the world, some of us really believe it, but you cannot blame us for that. I will be visiting Cartel for sure. They are ready to make noise and that is always good for the industry and for them.

  2. Ron, what part of that article says any of that stuff. I am only reading the link to AZCentral.

    I have been going to Cartel daily since i found it a month ago or so and it gets super high marks from me. In person, Jason and I have had a lot of conversations about local shops and roasters and I would say that while we have honest opinions of other people, thrashing wouldn’t even be close to what we have talked about. I would say that he says nicer things about the community then most other people that I know in the industry.

    That aside, I would say that they have a very distinct coffee, and they do everything in a more traditional fashion.

  3. Thanks for linking to the site Chris! Cartel is a cool place and I wish Jason HUGE success. If you go, the espresso is a must. The Huehuetenengo was great on the clover as well.

  4. Hello Austin. I read it at the New Times article:

    “JS: I didn’t feel that there were any really quality roasters in Arizona, or the Southwest for that matter. I know of one in LA and a guy in Texas, but that’s about it. There are many people who just focus on the quality of the coffee, not just the run of the mill coffee roaster. There are 40 roasters in Phoenix alone, but I wanted to do it myself and make it the best. We’re not the cheapest coffee in town, but I’m sure we’re not the most expensive. So the point was really to give people great value and quality, and I didn’t really see that happening anywhere else, and I felt we needed to roast coffee to achieve that.”

    Do not get me wrong. I like the article. I just hope they will get the energy to help out the industry becouse nobody is an island. The gentleman sounded very knowleadgeble.

  5. Sorry for the mistakes, I was using a blackberry for the last reply.

  6. Jennifer Capella

    Nice! I will try to stop soon!

    However, once again…
    The concern = “Isolation”

    Just like any other coffee owner would say… “My coffee is the best”
    I’m sure if you were the owner of *Starsucks* you would still think the same way… Don’t you?

    Practical Solution (like someone said before) = “Find a local coffee house you like, and support it”

  7. Jennifer. You got it. Thank you for supporting the independent coffee house.

  8. Practical Solution (like someone said before) = “Find a local coffee house you like, and support it”

    Yeah, like the Vein. I would have given blood to keep that place going, but it went under anyways. Even using that one guy in Texas’ roasts.
    I’m definitely putting that on my list of places to visit. Looks like the last of the free-range Clovers, too. I wonder how the support for that machine will be from Starbucks?
    Yep, the guy sounds a teeny bit cocky, but I like that in my roaster/barista. “I’m the Rock Star” is the attitude I’m looking for, as long as it’s still there in the cup when he’s done!

  9. WOW!! I think that about sums it up for me. But I can’t help feeling that little twinge of jealousy over that $ 1,900 Versalab grinder. Maybe I can sell a kidney on ebay (just a joke)

  10. Thanks Ron,
    but I think I’ll just order some new burrs for my grinder and give her a tune up. I might need that kidney for say… a new clover when starbucks starts to peddle them.

  11. Hey Leslie. You know what they say, Its not the price of grinder what makes a good coffee guy. There is one I have I picked up for $100.00 10 years ago that still kick ass (made by ditting). I am sure anything we always wanted in coffee equipment will show up some day on Craigslist. Be patient.

  12. jason

    just for the record, my whole build out was less than $75,000…roaster, clover, versalab included…and anyone who knows me knows that im not cocky at all, but that wouldnt make for a very good story now, would it? im sorry i cant control how people print the words i say in an article. i still have a ton to learn and will always be learning. however, the quality of coffee here in az has a long way to go, and for anyone who may disagree, please fill me in on where to go!