I stumbled across Village Coffee as I randomly Googled coffee roasters in the Phoenix area (http://www.villagecoffee.com/). This has been a jewel of a coffee shop. I stop and get coffee every time I am anywhere near the area. Being my favorite shop in town has its perks, but that also means I sit there and analyze it more than any other shop.
Let’s start with the most important aspect of a coffee shop: the black coffee. I will openly admit that this is the best brewed coffee in town (until someone proves me wrong). Since I have had quite a bit of their coffee, I decided to review my last two cups: the Mexican Turquesa and Mokamba. A large coffee costs $2.50 and it feels more like a donation than a charge. I was told that they roast all their coffee to medium, which is what I like best. A cool piece of information regarding this shop is that the roaster has been modified to stay within only a couple degree variance which helps with precision roasting. They also use a photo spectrometer to ensure their coffee meets t consistency standards.
The Mexican Turquesa is described as light in body and rich with caramel tones. When I drank it, I was not particularly impressed. It was a very standard South American coffee, a solid staple kind of a coffee. I didn’t taste any caramel. Then I realized I was looking for butter sweet caramel, which I did not find. I did notice that it had a bit of an espresso type of caramel. Then the more I drank it the more I picked up on a caramel that reminded me of the crema on a good espresso and loved it. I think this coffee would make a fantastic espresso shot.
The Mokamba is probably the best cup of coffee I have ever had. I realized just recently that my taste in coffee has moved from the chocolate tones to fruit forward coffee. This coffee is full of berries. I bought a pound of it for my friend’s birthday (priced up at $20/lb) and you can smell the blueberries through the bag. This is a delicious coffee: sweet, juicy and just a mouth full of berries.
On to the other aspects of the shop... The place has a nice warm coffee shop feel to it. The local art on the walls are cycled through. They have done a decent job with the “hodge podge” approach. I don’t think there are any 2 chairs alike, but it doesn’t look like a mess.
One of my favorite aspects is that the roaster is out for all to see. When the roaster is working, they actually slide the chairs back and set it up like a show where you can watch. I plan to make it down there for one of these displays eventually.
I wish they did more branding though. I would love to sport cups with their name on it so I could brag as I drink it. The online presence is small and hopefully getting better (I just requested to be a follower on twitter). When you have a shop you love you want to sport its gear, see what’s going on with them and promote their awesomeness. This is the biggest area that Village could improve on.
The owner, Lisa, is always a pleasure to speak with. She really knows her stuff and we have very similar philosophies on the coffee world. The baristas are very pleasant, but if you are looking for someone to guide your experience, you should probably just wait to speak with Lisa.
Overall, I strongly recommend going to Village Coffee. It is kind of hidden from the world, so please go and seek it out. You will not be disappointed.