Friday, May 8, 2015

Review of Royal Coffee

It was Avengers weekend and I had my tickets purchased waaaay in advance. We do the early morning show because it is a lot less expensive. Naturally, we needed coffee to make sure we were fully alert to watch the awesomeness of Marvel. Therefore, we decided to stop at a little coffee shop I ran across called Royal Coffee.

It was an interesting set up. It was more like a kiosk set up on the ground floor of a spa (nothing spa related on the bottom floor). There was some art on the walls and the setup had a nice modern look, clean and efficient. There was a single barista, which caused some operational issues. Truth is though, they couldn’t fit a second barista in there if they wanted to.

They have a very interesting approach, which I happen to like a lot. In the Biltmore mall, they have 2 small kiosk type shops. They are like stores within stores. They essentially took over the mall by placing small, very manageable kiosks through the mall. That is a great idea.
  
 We approached the bar and tried to start up conversation. The barista was sweet, but somewhat literal. It was hard to get her really talking about the coffee. There was no flavor description of the coffee, so I would have really liked her to explain to me what I was going to experience.


Once I figured out how to get her to really open up, she spoke very intelligently of her business. I asked what ration they use for the pour over and she explained that they use 32g per 16oz, which is the Intelligentsia recipe. This kiosk uses an espresso grinder and I was very curious about, because we have found it very difficult to get a course enough grind out of them. She (I feel bad calling her “she” but I never got her name) explained that it was due to space constraints and she spends about 15min each morning dialing it in. The espresso grinder also lead to a good bit of waste because she had to scoop grounds out and throw them away to get to 32g.

One thing that I really liked was how they had the pour over stand set up on top of the hot water, fantastic efficiency of space. The brewing technique wasn’t my favorite though. She had other customers, so she would fill it up and let it drain, then fill it up and let it drain. I’m nitpicking, I realize this, but the point of pour over is to control all that. On the last fill, she stirred the round and let it fill the cup.

The coffee was good. I think they use too much coffee. I can always taste when someone stirs the grounds in a v60. It makes the coffee almost muddy, more like a metal filter. I asked what coffee they used and she told me they get it from Bodhi Leaf (same place we get ours on EBay) and roast it themselves. They do roast those beans very well. We smelled a few of the different coffees they had available and each one had a very distinct aroma. I was very impressed.

Overall, I really liked this place and would frequent their kiosks if I worked there. I wish I could have had the barista really guide me into the experience, but the solo barista just doesn’t have the capacity for that. So far this is the best effort for small quality coffee that I have experienced in Arizona.