At a Glance: 8 Great Scottsdale Coffeehouses
- Regroup Coffee + Bicycles
- Echo Coffee
- Sip Coffee & Beer
- FourtillFour Cafe
- Berdena’s Fine Coffee & Food
- Lakeview Coffee
- Maverick Coffee
- Press Coffee Roasters
There’s nothing like hanging out at a good local coffeehouse. Fortunately, there are plenty of great Scottsdale coffeehouses that aren’t chains from Seattle. Here’s a quick look at some of my favorites.
This list is arranged geographically from north to south. I will not include any national chains; Press and Cartel are the only ones I mention that have multiple locations. Also, this list is not comprehensive. It only includes the Scottsdale coffeehouses I like best.
A few points before we get started, though:
- My default drink is a cappuccino. It’s usually the first drink I get at a new-to-me coffee house so I can see what they’re all about.
- I’m judgey about cappuccino. It’s a major red flag to me when coffeehouses offer more than one size. I also prefer the wet style of cappuccino to the old-school dry style.
- I prefer espresso-based drinks to stuff like pourovers or brewed coffee. Sometimes, though, I really get into a cold brew … especially the nitro style. I also get excited when someone has a flat white on the menu.
- I also like lighter roasts.
- I don’t use caffeine as a performance-enhancing drug or a lack of it as an excuse to be grumpy. I sometimes go caffeine free.
- I’ve also focused on coffee houses, not so much on restaurants where you can get a good espresso or coffee drink.
South Scottsdale Coffeehouses
There are not many non-chain coffeehouses in South Scottsdale. And one on the list is technically in Tempe. But it’s close enough to Scottsdale that most of its customers will probably be from Scottsdale.
Regroup Coffee + Bicycles
Regroup is the one I mentioned that is in Tempe. It moved, though, from a much-smaller Old Town Scottsdale location.
From Day 1, they’ve had a great focus on coffee — a pricey Slayer espresso machine and baristas who know how to get the most out of it. They’ve had a few minor Dark Ages, but the current barista has restored them to an age of enlightenment.
The cappuccino and cortado are both excellent. If the temperature is too hot outside, ask the barista for his favorite drink, which is two shots of espresso and a splash of heavy cream over ice. And yes, there is currently only one barista who is regularly behind the counter.
If you’re a bike nerd, you’ll have some extra fun at Regroup. They have seriously fancy high-end bikes and cycling clothing there. I’m especially of a fan of their Orbea Oiz mountain bike — a rare full-suspension bike with two water bottle mounts!
One caveat: I’m not a huge fan of their cold brew.
UPDATE: I’ve stopped going to Echo because the owner fired their long-time baker via text message. She was pretty much the face of the shop, posting on her own social media account about what was going on with the shop. I liked the baker far better than the owner, so Echo wound up on my bad list.
Echo Coffee has been around for a good long time, enduring changes of staff and even owners. The thing is, it’s held up pretty well.
It’s not quite in the elite category as far as espresso because there are some baristas there who are considerably better than the rest of the crew. You’ll get a pretty good cappuccino with most of them, with the rest being a notch better. They also just added nitro cold brew, which is also infused with CBD if that’s your thing.
Another thing I really like about Echo: They have a good caffeine-free roast. When I want to get out for espresso but don’t want any caffeine, Echo is where I go.
Echo also has a track record for employing super-skilled bakers, who make some excellent stuff on the premises. The chocolate pecan pie is an unusual item, and there are often some interesting specials worth trying.
I hate giving away this piece of advice, but go on Friday. Get there early for a fresh-baked bagel. Just don’t take the last one before I get there!
Getting Caffeinated in Old Town Scottsdale
There’s a lot of coffeehouses packed into the Old Town area. This should help you make a plan of attack.
Sip Coffee & Beer
If you’re really snobby about espresso drinks, Sip probably isn’t your best bet.
But if you want cold brew, they do it right. They have regular cold brew, two types of nitro cold brew (regular and CBD infused) and even nitro tea, which is pretty fun. I like their regular nitro brew with a splash of cream in it.
They also have a good-sized menu, but their focus is mainly on drinks (they also have beer and some cocktails).
I only ever go to FourtillFour for a cappuccino. And they do caps very well. They’re just the right temperature with perfect microfoam — and FourtillFour has a nice roast going.
The indoor area is tiny, with most seating outside. That means most people will probably avoid FourtillFoul in the summer.
They also have a classic car theme of some sort and often host events related to that scene. Not exactly a draw for a cycling/electric car guy like me, but some of you may like it.
Parking can be an issue since this is in a very touristy area.
Berdena’s Fine Coffee & Food
UPDATE: June 2022
Berdena’s has opened a new location at Main and 75th streets, right near Scottsdale City Hall. It’s easy to park and you won’t wait long for your order.
I don’t go to Berdena’s as often as I’d like. That’s because parking in Old Town Scottsdale can be a pain, especially since it’s on 5th Avenue. Lines are often out the door and seating is limited.
That said, their cappuccino can hang with the best Scottsdale coffeehouses and the best baristas at those coffeehouses.
I’ve had a few latte-ish drinks at Berdena’s, and they always nail that balance of sweetness and actually letting you taste the espresso.
If you’re hungry, their marshmallow chocolate-chip cookie is one of my favorite cookies around. They also have a nice breakfast sandwich.
Coffee in Central Scottsdale
From north to south, Scottsdale changes character. Like a lot. The central area is where you’ll find a lot of the pricier well-established neighborhoods that have been around forever. And they deserve good coffeehouses, too!
UPDATE: Lakeview is in the process of becoming a new Press location as of summer 2022.
One awesome thing about Lakeview Coffee: It’s right on the Greenbelt, which is a pretty decent piece of bike infrastructure running from Tempe to North Scottsdale.
Again, I’ve only had cappuccinos at Lakeview. The baristas are consistent, and I’ve never had a cap there that wasn’t the right temperature and flavor.
It’s far enough away from my typical stomping grounds that I don’t get there very often. My typical visit here usually involves a quick stop during a bike ride. It’s a pleasant place to hang out, though, if you have some time.
I’ve not tried any of the menu items.
It’s worth mentioning that a couple of Australians started Maverick. If you ever get to Australia, you’ll notice that the country has a great coffeehouse culture. They also grow beans that are overlooked by the rest of the world.
That Australian-ness serves Maverick well. I’ve gotten around the board here, trying different drinks often. I’ve had cappuccinos, flat whites (a very Australian sort of espresso drink) and something called a piccolo. As far as I can tell, it’s pretty much the same thing as a cortado. If you’re an espresso expert, feel free to correct me on this point.
Definitely one of the better Scottsdale coffeehouses at a location that needs it.
The Only Top-Quality Coffee in North Scottsdale
I’m not going to hold back on this: North Scottsdale is pretty much a wilderness of chain stores and restaurants. Yes, the scenery can be nice and it’s full of fancy neighborhoods.
But I wouldn’t want to live there, and the lack of top-quality local coffeehouses is one reason.
Press Coffee Roasters
The Press Coffee Roasters location near Scottsdale Airpark saves North Scottsdale from a goose egg on this list. This might surprise a few fellow sticklers for detail because they offer cappuccinos in more than one size.
Still, the baristas know how to do it right. Their roasts are all excellent, so they’re starting with good ingredients. Even their decaf cappuccino is good — you might not even realize it’s decaf.
On occasion, especially if I stop at a Press location during a bike ride, I’ll get a chocolate “shaker” made out of cold brew.
If you like pour-overs, this is one of the best places to get one. They have a wide variety of beans, and the baristas are skilled at finding a flavor you’ll like.
Final Thoughts: Scottsdale Coffeehouses
If you live in Scottsdale and you like coffee, you probably know these places already.
But if you’re a coffee-loving visitor, this should help you plan your trip. If you’re already here and now looking for the best coffeehouses, be sure to at least hit a few on this list. You can even plan your day around which one you pick.
For example, if you’re staying in south or central Scottsdale, think about a visit to Maverick on your way to hike at Brown’s Ranch. If you’re headed south, that’s a great reason to hit Regroup.
If you’re hungry, Berdena’s is your best shot at good breakfast and great coffee all in one place.
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