I have been looking for a great coffee shop in the Phoenix, Az area for quite a while. I have been given some recommendations and they haven't quite panned out. Maybe my expectations are too high... No, I don' think that's it. All I want is a good barista and a good cup of coffee. I don't think that's too much to ask for, do you?
My wife and I had tickets for a show downtown Saturday night. I knew there were quite a few shops in the downtown area because I asked the city about tax breaks. He said they already had enough coffee shops, so they weren't helping start anymore. (Can you really have enough though?) I Googled coffee shops and there were a few that I put on my list to try. Songbird was one of them (http://www.songbirdcoffeehouse.com/). I had high expectations based on the location. It's in an artsy area where they have converted some historical houses into wine bars and such. This shop was across the street. I loved the outside. It stuck out of the scenery but in the right way. The other buildings around it had crazy designs on it but this one door was white with a big sign over it.
We went in and thanked God they had the air conditioning going. I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to enjoy a cup of hot coffee on a day that reached 110F. I instantly fell in love with the space. The front wall is reclaimed wood with the logo sketched in black, looking like it was burned in. The menu board was bright, using over sized scrabble tiles for the letters. It was industrial with an eclectic touch.
I knew before going in that I was going to have a pour over coffee. One of the first things my eyes zoomed in on was the galvanized pipe pour over station they had on the counter. Having just built one, it excited me. I asked the barista what they were brewing and he point out the description on the sign. I do have to say, I would have liked the barista to walk me through the taste profiles to really find out what I liked and then recommend a coffee. They did have the profiles posted, so at least I could make an educated order. I ordered the Nicaragua and my wife ordered an ice coffee. The iced coffee was up in a flash and then I got to watch the pour over. While the barista poured I asked how much coffee the use and he said 18g for a 12oz cup. I asked if they roasted their own coffee and he told me they purchase from a local roaster, Cortez (http://www.cafecortez.com/). It was refreshing to speak with a barista that didn't just smile and nod.
The coffee was crazy hot, so we walked around the shop a little. It is connected to an art space that customers can walk around and look at the art on display. I loved that they provided books for people to read and mixed a few small couches in to soften the feel. The people in the shop spoke freely, but were all very soft spoken. I was a little worried about how loud I was supposed to talk and what the etiquette was. We didn't get any dirty looks, so I don't think we offended anyone.
I was finally able to try my coffee. At first I couldn't taste a whole lot. Once it cooled down enough for me to roll around a little I could get the chocolate and spice under tones. The description was spot on (whether that is because I actually tasted it or my mind was working to meet the description, I don't know). The body was smooth and easy to drink. The flavor was very mild. I tried my wife's ice coffee and it was good, but fell a little flat for me. My wife described it as "coffee...with ice." Not a raging endorsement, but she wasn't upset by it either. I think it was lacking the acidity that really makes an ice coffee pop.
Overall, I loved this coffee shop. My wife and I plan to come back for one of their waffle breakfasts. If I have a day off and need a shop to hang out in and do my writing, this will be one of them. I strongly recommend this spot. If you are in the downtown area or out for First Friday, check this spot out.