Ground Control (http://www.yelp.com/biz/ground-control-goodyear) is a shop I have known about for quite a while, but not for the reason you would expect on a coffee blog. I know of this place because a guy my wife carpooled with loves the beer they have. I have also heard they make amazing gelato. So, I thought it was strange that they won the coffee duel in Phoenix Magazine’s Best Of edition. SO…I stopped by and checked the place out.
The shop really lacks cohesion. When I walked in the door, there was a coffee bar and gelato to my left. To my right, there were racks of wine. Fortunately I like all of those. It wasn’t until I spoke with someone that they told me there was a bar and restaurant on the other side of the wall. I walked back to scope the place out and it had a lot of space.
I came back and stayed with my barista from that time forward. The place had so much going on it was hard to take in. That being said, the barista was a breath of fresh air. Though he didn’t know much of what he was doing, he was very willing to help by calling his roaster and asking managers. He was very pleasant to work with.
I checked out the roaster and was surprised at how small it was. This shop is definitely a small batch roaster. I was also surprised at that size coffee shop having multiple beans to select from (I believe there were 5. At least 4, but I think there was 5). It took quite a while to choose the whole bean I wanted because the barista had to call his roaster and ask his manager what the profiles were. The one bit of information I did get with confidence was that they only used specialty grade beans.
The two beans I bought were a Brazilian and an Aricha. I was really bummed to not get more information on where the beans came from. For example, the barista told me Aricha is in Algeria, which it is. But that part of the country is way above the belt and very much a desert. I think it is actually an Ethiopia Aricha (which the flavor seems to confirm).
The Brazilian coffee was described as “nutty sweet aroma, citrus acidity and a milk chocolate smooth body.” We brewed this coffee on the V60. The coffee was much better hot. We did not agree with the description. We did not pick up any of the nutty sweetness or the citrus acidity. This coffee did have a very thick body. It coated the whole mouth and tasted of bakers chocolate for quite a while afterward. One of the strange things was that this coffee was very dry.
The Aricha was a great coffee, from what we can tell. The main characteristic of this coffee was the berry flavor. It was slightly tart so we put it closer to the raspberry/strawberry part of the wheel, not quite to the cranberry. The only downside is that we were experimenting with the Chemex filters which pushed our brew time up to around 4:45 and it pulled some not so pleasant parts of the coffee out. I am excited about this coffee though.
Overall, if you know what you are going for, this place would be pretty cool for a neighborhood shop. Not sure I would venture out of the way (because it is way out of the way) for the coffee.