Scott Walters recently wrote a fantastic review of Counter Culture Cafe which is a 24 hr coffee shop in Phoenix. It is posted over at Arizona Reviews and I wanted to cross post it here.

Review by Scott Walters:

When I heard the name, I knew I had to go. I walked through the back door into the old house and found myself in a large, purple, abandoned room. In a back room, a lone man sat with a computer. An employee, running between the two halves of the employees-only area, spotted me and asked me if I wanted anything. Feeling somewhat sorry for the place in an old house with employees used to people lounging without ordering, I dropped a 10 and ordered the everything veggie sandwich and the large caramel latte (drinks come in two sizes). Both took a while but were excellent. Sometimes, the low-brow coffee shops recklessly serve bad coffee and don’t give attention to preparation, but Counter Culture is apparently aware that beverage is going to be my source of happiness for the next hour or so. I got on the wireless network without a hitch thanks to the open access point. The SSID was CONTERCULTURE. The other customer in the backroom had apparently been there all morning and had stuff all over the place, including a laptop, obviously running Microsoft Windows. It would ding; he’d let out a massive sigh, mouse for ten minutes, type a bit, then it would ding, and he’d sigh. I settled in to work. Within two hours, the place was full, and every every outlet on each wall of the three rooms were occupied, running about 10 laptops and a few cell phones. Fritos, root beers, black coffees, and cigarettes were everywhere (except cigarettes, which were confined to the back room). People talked about the band they’re in, or the bands they like, or what the cops did to them, and what the cops did to them while they were attending a concert of a band they liked. They talked about their girlfriends, their friends cheating girlfriends, friends cheating boyfriends. And, for the most part, they all talked to each other. Apparently people don’t wake up and get out of the house until about 3pm on a Sunday, and then they have one big, daily party with all of their friends.

Pros: This is the most happen’ coffee shop I’ve been to, or I picked a good day. The only TV in the place was an art exhibit — an antique displaying static with ghostly painted images on the screen. The caramel latte was tasty and was made with great care. This place has the largest concentrations of laptops of any coffee shop I’ve seen. There are loads of power outlets. Internet access was truly free. Architecture is essential to a good coffee joint, and this place had hard wood floors, bowled in ceilings, and a small window with ivy growing in from the outside, and the bathroom has a door to nowhere — it was truly a neat space.

Cons: I kind of expected more. They were vegan friendly and vegetarian friendly, but I’d want to know that the coffee was Fair Trade certified — there should be at least one place in town where none of the coffee is grown under slave labor conditions. They assume “to go”, but they have a large and prominent assortment of Goodwill-looking mugs for “for here” orders. Guacamole would have been a nice alternative to hummus for the moist glue of the veggie sandwich, but I don’t think they had any. The place still isn’t a geek habitat, as far as I can tell, even though laptops are a choice form of entertainment.

2330 East McDowell Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85006

Review by Scott Walters []

Arizona Coffee

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  1. Ahhh, didn’t realize you posted it at or else I wouldn’t have teased you in the comments to the last article. Sorry about that =)
    I don’t mind going to, but it would be cool if you posted a short blurb and link here, when you post a coffee review there.
    Thanks. More reviews on the way… sooner or later.
    Now that that one is posted, I think I’m going to make them shorter, though =)

  2. Hi Scott,
    Yeah, Arizona Reviews still gets way more traffic than Arizona Coffee (which is odd since most of what I post is now on Arizona Coffee).

    Hopefully down the road the two sites will blend together a little bit better.

  3. as I’d said over at, thanks for the kind words…and while we haven’t posted any signs stating it, our roaster claims that our coffee is indeed fair trade.

    thanks again!

    (Owner, CounterCulture Café)

  4. Pingback: Arizona Coffee » Best of 2005