I’m at CupZ for a coffee after a meeting at Chompies. There’s a crowd here all wrapped in their work (using laptops no less). I asked the barista whether they could validate my parking ticket and she said she couldn’t. Then she said that they don’t even validate employees parking tickets. She said they have to pay for their own parking to work here. That’s probably a typical situation in a big city like New York, but Tempe?

I suppose that most of the people here are college students. There is a big line of bicycles locked up in front of the store and lots of people are walking past the large windows.


Overall, CupZ looks to be a huge success in Tempe. They have done a nice job with the interior. The color scheme is mostly red and white. The tables are a lacquerer white with comfortable wood chairs. Definitely a notch up from Coffee Plantation down the street.

They have free wifi, a big screen flat panel television mounted in the corner, and some nice artwork.


With all of that going for them, my coffee today was quite unexpectedly average. In fact, my macchiato was something I’d rather not talk about (check out that wicked foam, and I’m using the term wicked here in a bad way). My iced coffee was basically ice. Maybe CupZ is so used to catering to a crowd that likes chocolate and sugar, that they’ve lost the true art of serving coffee. With their college crowd providing a rather comfortable base, do you think they have any true coffee fans?

Is CupZ Tempe just a glorified study lounge?


CupZ Coffee
Just south of Fulton Building Parking Garage ($2/hr, $8/day)
777 College Ave, Suite 101
Tempe, AZ 85281
Phone: (480) 557-5245
Hours: Mon – Fri 6am to 8pm
Weekends 6am to 2pm

Arizona Coffee

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  1. MikeFTrevino

    Holy cow that’s not froth!!! That’s a Meringue!!!!

  2. Amy

    Granted the coffee may not be the greatest, but they are one of only two coffee shops on campus that aren’t Starbucks so you gotta give them that. Their tea is great, as are their breakfast sandwiches and danishes. Besides, can you REALLY get good coffee in the states anyway? I’ve tried NUMEROUS shops and nothing compares to Europe.

  3. MikeFTrevino

    Well, with the attitiude that bad coffee is good enough, we’ll never get good coffee in the states. It’s time to start demanding more of coffee shops. Frequent the shops that set the bar and forget the shops that have the good enough mentality. When a bussiness see a downturn in income because the coffee stinks, they’ll hopefully go Darwin on us, by changing or dying. This will leave room for a coffee shop that does care, and if they don’t they will die in turn untill a coffee shop of decent grade does emerge. This will set a precident with the people opening bussinesses. “Either come with your A game or don’t come at all.” It’s just as much the consumers responsibility to create positive change in the market as it is the producers.

  4. Amy, I know you probably didn’t mean to, but you’ve insulted nearly every coffee professional who visits this site.
    In Italy, the coffee is consistently good, and extremely cheap(there is a legal price limit). It’s always also espresso. While this espresso is good, it’s not anything to write home about.

    The Italians don’t see espresso as anything special. To them, it’s a commodity, a symbol of Italy, a way of life.

    All that having been said, the SCAA is the largest specialty coffee organization in the world. The goold ‘ol US of A. While it’s not as widespread as we would like at this point, we are making ground. The media has started to catch on. There have been features in the NYT, Boston Globe, heck, even Martha Stewart has jumped on the bandwagon. Each of these highlighting the artistry and craftsmanship of people who really do “get it”. There is even good coffee in AZ and TX, if you know where to find it. In my case, it’s in my apartment, but I can point you to a passable espresso elsewhere if need be.

    The coffee scene in AZ is charging forward with an energy I never expected to see. You just have to know where to go.

  5. And btw.. that macchiato has powerful foam.

    In the way that Billy Ray Cyrus has powerful hair.

  6. Steve Kessler

    “In the way that Billy Ray Cyrus has powerful hair.”

    Jason thanks for making me laugh!

  7. I have two more I’m going to put together along these lines. Glad you guys liked it.

  8. Corey Davis

    I just wanted to let all of you know that CUPZ Coffee is a family owned local coffee shop that uses local coffee roaster, Cave Creek coffee company. There was a slight problem with the grinder, in which the grinds were to coarse causing the coffee to be weak. However, I assure you that the problem is solved and I invite you to revisit CUPZ in Tempe to enjoy a great coffee experience. BTW the staff is unbelievably friendly and helpful.

  9. Walt99

    In respose to Amy’s comment about only having two options other than Charbucks in the Mill ave area, I am assuming you are referring to Cupz & Coffee Plantation. You apparently do not search very hard for good coffee. Mills End, who I did not previously think was that great, has greatly improved. I was very pleased with their espresso. Also in the Edgewater office building is Romancing the Bean.

  10. Rebecca

    Walt: I believe Amy may have been referring to the only two non-Starbucks espresso providers on the ASU campus. The other is a series of coffeeshops run by a guy named Charlie (one’s at Hayden Library, one’s at the Law School, and one’s in Architecture; supposedly, there’s one in the honors college, but I’m not sure). They’re passable–more so, I believe, than CupZ. Personally, I have a hard time taking any place that pluralizes with a “z” seriously. Many Arizona coffee places appear to be paying lip service to good coffee. I’m not fully convinced.

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