Giant Coffee (http://giantcoffeeaz.com/) is one of the shops that pops-up at the top of my Google machine when I search for coffee shops in AZ. I was in the area this weekend and decided I would give it a whirl.
My first impression of the shop is that it is both a great location and a terrible location at the same time. It is a great location because it is right across the street from the Art Museum and that just felt very right. The problem is that it is kind of hard to find. It is on a very small side street with no signage on the main road. I also think I got lucky with parking. I’m still not sure where everyone inside was parked (so it may not be as bad as I think).
Walking into the store I immediately thought: “YES.” The sitting area had multiple levels, making it very interesting. There were higher seats against the wall, short tables, long bench tables and small chairs facing a triple sliding door (which would be beautiful when it isn’t 113°F outside). The line was structured similar to Chipotle, which is great for operations. Lastly, there was a small boutique shop connected and open to the shop. I assume there is a partnership to share the rent, which I think would be beneficial for both.
I approached the bar and the baristas were both very nice. I asked what they were brewing and she informed me that it was a Bolivia Buena Vista. I asked if they roasted in house. At first she did not understand my question and explained that they do a regular pot of coffee but also brew V60s as well (good to know actually). The other barista kindly let her finish and then clarified that they get their coffee from Four Barrel Coffee (http://fourbarrelcoffee.com/) from San Francisco. I thought that was interesting because it would be difficult to manage freshness with the shipping. The barista explained that they get new coffee in every week and they do not serve coffee over 2 weeks old. From what I have gathered, coffee needs a few days to rest after roasting (shipping time) and then needs to be served in 7-10 days for max freshness. So, 2 weeks is a pretty darn fresh cup of coffee.
Now to the cup of coffee…The barista actually prepped me a little, which I greatly appreciated (finally!). She told me that there would be an apple like acidity with mango and hibiscus sweetness. I sat down and took a moment to enjoy the nutty aroma. The taste was very interesting. The acidity was very much a sharp kind of sour like a green apple (thank you barista, I would never have been able to put that together on my own). I picked up a bit of herbal flavor, which I assume is the hibiscus and chamomile flavors. The only thing that I would disagree with the barista was the mango sweetness. I didn’t pick that up at all. I did pick up something that reminded me of an orange colored fruit. I was thinking apricot, but Four Barrel’s description puts guava in there (https://secure.fourbarrelcoffee.com/coffee/americas/bolvia-buena-vista.html). As the cup cooled, it was very juicy and much more of the herbal flavors came out. Personally, I liked this cup hot more than I did cool.
I strongly recommend this shop. It is tough to find and I’m not sure about parking, but it would be a great place to hang out. Baristas were knowledgeable and very friendly. A fantastic date would be a trip to the art museum finished by a cup of coffee at Giant Coffee.