Seriously, can you believe there’s so much to talk about that there’s a whole blog about coffee in AZ? Thanks Arizona for being both interesting, and for improving coffee. And thanks for all of the loyal followers/readers who push coffee shops to push out quality drinks. Since I started this site, coffee in AZ has improved significantly.

Arizona Coffee

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  1. I’ve learned of the two newest shops opening, (and re-opening) within almost walking distance (but how far can you really walk in this heat?) from my house and my GF’s house, from this site before any other source. Nice work!
    Anyhoo, it’s getting so crowded on the availability front, is it time for something for the Phoenix and Tucson area like [url=] this one [/url]in San Francisco?
    All we need is for some computer hero to compile data and publish on some handy coffee based website in Arizona (hint hint) and a buncha espresso junkies to go out, armed with an objective set of criteria to rate coffee with, and VIOLA!, we’re in!
    You’ll be able to find great coffee wehrever you are in the state!
    Also, publishing the criteria that the coffee is rated on allows each shop to figure out just how they got the rating that they did, and if they don’t like it, they know exactly what they need to do to improve their rating!
    Now, where can we find a coffee junkie in the state that is great at computers, and has a coffee website? ; >

  2. What we really need is an iPod/iPhone app that promotes local, AND ONLY LOCAL, coffeehouses. I’m sick of seeing local coffee on Google pulling up Starbucks.

    Local, my A$$.

  3. Uhm, lessee… you want to pull up an app on your i-phone that shows you where the coffee is that isn’t related to a multi-national giant greed-head corporation? Why do you think a multi-national giant greed-head corporation like Apple would be able to make the distinction?
    C’mon, i-phone users aren’t going to be your target demo anyhoo! ; >

  4. I’ve considered making an iPhone enabled web version of the “Coffee Shop Listings” page. I may do it eventually.

    I’d like to do what Psyd has suggested – the whole rating system. Maybe do that sometime in the future… just no time now to develop that sort of thing.

    A mobile friendly web version of the site could be really useful though.

  5. Some NYC coffee fanatics have this map and an associated blog. The difference here is that they have a list of their top coffee shops in NYC, and it’s only the best of the best. They also have the coffee source for most of the shops, and have a ‘walking tour’. Something that may not work for the Greater Metro Phoenix and surrounding communities!
    Anyhoo, it’s a top ten list that has been expanded to about thirty or forty cafe’s, and only those that rate make it to the list.

    • I love the idea of a walking tour. I’ve often thought of the shops I’d visit if I had just a day in Phoenix. After my product launches I might have some more free time available to design a ratings system. I’m really getting excited about the possibility of doing that. Something along the lines of a coffee rating system with hand selected judges and then an ability for people to comment and rate the places.

  6. For a start, I’d give a point for fresh ground coffee (grind per shot), one for fresh roasted, one for a clean steam wand, one for a twenty-five to thirty second pull that is around two ounces, and one for cleaning and drying the portafilter and basket between shots.
    Anyone that doesn’t at least start there doesn’t have a chance of pulling a better than five out of ten anyways.
    The other five should be taste, temperature, consistency, crema, and presentation.
    While there are a raft of metrics by which coffee and a cafe can be measured, anyone who scores a good tasting espresso every time, with good crema, that is neither too hot nor too cold, in a decent porcelain or china cup (thick, and round bottomed); and does it by grinding fresh roasted coffee per shot, and using clean kit with good espresso ritual is a great way to indicate that this place is a ten.
    I guarantee that anyplace that gets a ten will make any coffee fan a happy camper, and eights and nines will not disappoint. Sixes and sevens will at least be known as sixes and sevens, and anything below that will probably not be worth the gas to pass a Starbucks.
    And, publicly posting the criteria will encourage those that would want to climb the ratings ladder to improve their quality.
    I’d be happy to be one of the judges, inspectors, scorers or whatever they’d be called, in Tucson, too!

  7. “You mean a map like this? NYC Coffee Map”

    Yep, Mike, exactly that one. I had meant to include the URL with the post, but, well…
    Thanks for the backup!

  8. Although that map is extensive, it’s not as exclusive as the list I offer as personal recommendations. My list tops out at around 5. But that’s the part of the problem when “rating” cafes. Yes you can create criteria to rate with, but it’s never nice to rate someone poorly. I prefer to not mention them at all.

  9. really needs an update and it would be fun to rebuild that in this same light.

    I really like the use of different colored dots to indicate either a “tour” or 10s, 5s, and so forth.

  10. Mike, it isn’t really meant to be that exclusive, but more of a ‘here is a place to get coffee that you can absolutely depend on’. Someone who’s tastes yo can know and trust, and understand that they aren’t shilling to sell coffee, but to provide a guide for the consumer.
    The AZ Coffemap is a bit out of date, and has no reference to coffee quality, as indicated.
    I don’t think that rating someone poorly on a scale that isn’t too subjective i.e., Do they use coffee roasted within the last coupla weeks, or don’t they? Is there old foam cooking on their steam wand, or is it clean? Do they grind per order, or are there grinds waiting on customers? These are simple, straightforward and objective criteria, and generally accepted as industry standards*. If a company can’t at least come up to the minimum standards of the specialty coffee industry, then customers should be aware of that. There is an upside, though, too. It creates an awareness, not only to the customer base, but also to the purveyors of fine coffees, that there are these standards, and ‘cain’t juss anyone go makin’ ‘sprasso. Ya gots to make it juss right ‘coz Aint Polly, she’s purdy particular about her ‘sprasso’.
    If you’re not willing to do these simple things, or you’re willing to allow a robot to do most of them for you, that should not only be reflected in your public perception, but in your bottom line as well. those that do well should well, do well. those that try to capitalize on public ignorance, and chain-store popularity, they should be exposed for the greed-head, parasitic carnies that they are, and the sooner they close, the sooner a market opens up for a ‘real’ coffee connaisseur.

    *Not like the industry’s representative organisation is that awful fond of making and publishing official standards, ya know, but any critically acclaimed (read: xBC winner supporting) specialty coffee shop will describe these things as minimum standards.

  11. I hear what you’re saying. And I agree on what you identify as being generally accepted industry standards. The rub is that although nearly all the cafes on the NYC map I linked to follow these standards, there’s still a very select few that I consider to be of the highest quality. If your goal is to encourage people to rise to the minimum, that’s all well and good. But I think that’s different than identifying the best shops out there. So two different maps? The second being way more subjective?

  12. I’d suggest three scoring categories, I guess. One for ‘compliance with best industry practices’ (and subtract at least two points for anyone who uses super-autos), one for ‘expert opinions’ in which people we know and trust rate their impression of the final product (limited to espresso, or espresso and maybe a cappuccino) as a subjective test, and one for overall cafe experience which would include ambience, staff attitude and knowledge, seating, music, location, whatev…

    You know, “It’s a great place to hang out, and it scores a ten on construction, but the coffee is really only so-so. It’s got a great beat and you can dance to it, so I give it an eighty-two.”

    But, I’m willing to leave it to the discretion of whatever industrious web-weaver that is willing to undertake it, and support that.

  13. Pingback: Arizona Coffee – Best of 2009