Coffee CommuniTea: Carmel’s Breakfast House – Phoenix, AZ

 Today’s Cup o’ Tea
Carmel’s Breakfast House, Phoenix, AZ
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Carmel's Breakfast House

A charming little stop for conversation and delectable goodies.
[Patrick requested black-and-white photos to represent its vintage.]
Photo: @2014 ANVidean

Share a cuppa (the stories about the owner, building, history, name)

Patrick Flanigan trains his baristas well... you'll love the coffee presentation. Photo: @2014 ANVidean

Patrick Flanigan trains his baristas well…
you’ll love the coffee presentation.
Photo: @2014 ANVidean

Owner Patrick Flanigan named Carmel’s for his mother, who was quite a character, and “would have loved this place.” He said he used to haunt another Phoenix coffee shop every morning before work as a TV weatherman and media salesman, studied coffee roasting, and always wanted to own a coffee shop. Three years ago, in 2011, his dream came true when the current location — a cozy, urban vintage 1940s house –became Carmel’s home.

I love me a beautiful patio! Photo: @2014 Mary-Ann Hart

I love me a beautiful patio!
Photo: @2014 Mary-Ann Hart

Perks (what I really like!)

  • Homespun, comfortable atmosphere, conducive to conversation
  • Friendly, knowledgeable baristas
  • Patio seating
  • Free wi-fi

What’s Brewing (coffee, tea, food)

  • Chef Miguel Pliego serves up delectable breakfast fare and sandwiches all day, plus his homemade breads and freshly baked croissants
  • Well-trained baristas brew up a wide range of coffee drinks, with a beautiful presentation
  • Good loose tea selection
  • Fresh-squeezed orange juice
Carmel's unique step paintings.

Watch your step!
Photo: @2014 ANVidean

The Grind (what I would change)

Actually, I loved everything about this friendly place, even the unique art used to identify the stair steps.

Percolation Factor (the activity/environment/energy/service)
Carmel’s specializes as a venue where people actually talk with one another. Here, conversations range from arts and humanities to sports and family…the gambit of life experiences. Yes, you may access a free wi-fi connection, but your fellow patrons typically aren’t staring at computer screens, they’re building relationships.

Carmel's interior

Cozy chic.
Photo: @2014 ANVidean

The Grounds (location)
4225 E. Camelback Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85019
(480) 626-0020

Tea Times (hours)
M–Su. 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Yelp rating: 4 Stars (70 reviews)

……………………

I love connecting people and ideas, so I’ve been creating small villages my entire life. Really, what better places can writers and musicians find to create “village” than independent coffee/tea shops? I wrote most of my Rhythms & Muse novel and Delfaerune Rhapsody series-in-progress in coffee/tea venues, so it seemed natural to create this blog. Whether you came here to find a new favorite hangout, or suggest a spot not yet not posted, may you find Coffee CommuniTea exactly to your taste!

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Coffee CommuniTea: The Black Cat Coffee House – Phoenix, AZ

Today’s Cup o’ Tea
The Black Cat Coffee House
Arcadia Towne Center in Phoenix

Black Cat Coffee - 6

Perks (what I really like!)

  • Urban, friendly atmosphere
  • Fairly quiet
  • Comfortable seating and varying sized tables
  • No trouble finding a plug-in for the Wi-Fi
  • Nice selection of teas

Share a cuppa (the stories)
I saw a friend’s Facebook “check-in” at Black Cat and thought I ought to go check it out. This place did not disappoint.

A pleasant, community minded hot spot: Black Cat Coffee House in the Arcadia District.   ©2013 ANVidean

A pleasant, community-minded hot spot: Black Cat Coffee House in the Arcadia District. ©2013 ANVidean

The owners’ community spirit encouraged me. Black Cat is a member of Local First Arizona, so they support other local businesses. This contributes to a more thriving Arizona community and economy, and that makes me happy. Plus, they support local schools and educators, whenever possible. Noble and kind, as well as solid coffee purveying. Nice.

What’s Brewing (coffee, tea, food)

  • Coffee blends and single origin coffees
  • Ice-blended drinks
  • White, green, oolong, and black teas
  • Herbal teas (herbal infusions or tisanes)
  • Pastries
  • Sandwiches
  • Salads

The Grind (what I would change)
Not much, but if high-school students make your allergies flare, you might want to visit in the mornings, as the location is right across from Arcadia High School. The kids I did see on the afternoon I visited kept their composure well. 🙂

Percolation Factor (the activity/environment/energy/service)
I found one male barista especially considerate and helpful. Cheers, m’man!

The Grounds (location)
4730 E. Indian School Rd., Ste. 120
Phoenix, AZ 85018-5443602-553-BCAT (2228)
info@theblackcatcoffeehouse.com

Tea Times (hours)
Every day of the year from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Yelp rating: 4.5 stars (36 reviews)

……………………

I love connecting people and ideas, so I’ve been creating small villages my entire life. Really, what better places can writers and musicians find to create “village” than independent coffee/tea shops? I wrote most of my Rhythms & Muse novel and Delfaerune Rhapsody series-in-progress in coffee/tea venues, so it seemed natural to create this blog. Whether you came here to find a new favorite hangout, or suggest a spot not yet not posted, may you find Coffee CommuniTea exactly to your taste!

Coffee CommuniTea: Pink Spot Coffee and Ice Cream, Phoenix, AZ

Today’s Cup o’ Tea
Pink Spot Coffee and Ice Cream

Watch, in the coming months, for a new patio renovation to allow more outdoor seating at Pink Spot.
©2012 ANVidean

Perks (what I really like!)

  • Uh … coffee, tea AND ice cream! What’s not to love?
  • Fresh food, made to order, and inexpensive.
  • The “chill” environment
  • Free wi-fi
  • The staff provides input on everything they do, from ice cream flavors to sandwich types.

Share a cuppa (the stories)
When the space next to their healthy, organic Zpizza location opened up four years ago, former attorney Julie Kossak and hi-tech sales exec Mark Wheeler got excited to bring something unique to the downtown Phoenix Willo District where they live and work. The husband and wife team considering what type of place was missing in the neighborhood and decided it was ice cream. Oh, and what goes great with ice cream all day long? Coffee! And, what do people need with their coffee? Yummy food!

The name originated with their daughter’s love of the color, and represented the fun, happy ambiance they hoped to create. Vîola! Pink Spot was born.

My ALWAYS authors tribe met at Pink Spot this month for a lively discussion about Deep Point of View: Eduardo Cervino, Raleigh Pinsky, Andrea Beaulieu, Erana Leiken, Ann Videan, and Kris Tualla.
(Thanks to our attentive barista for taking the photo.)

What’s Brewing (coffee, tea, food)

  • Ice cream and frozen yogurt
    – Hand made from Karen Kreamery especially for Pink Spot, the gourmet, super premium (16% butterfat) ice cream includes 16 standards like chocolate, mint chip and coffee. But you can also go adventurous with a few unique rotating flavors like pear and Gorgonzola, or lavender.
  • Tea, and coffee roasted locally and specifically for Pink Spot by Coffee Roasters of Arizona
  • Breakfast and brunch available all day long
    – Made-to-order egg sandwiches, breakfast burritos, and fresh baked goods
    – Greek yogurt and granola parfaits
    – Vegetarian breakfast/lunch offerings and five delicious made-to-order
    – Now, don’t forget the special pizza next door, either.

The Grind (what I would change)
I have one tiny issue with the noise level if you’re planning to have a meeting or serious conversation there. But, overall, the location is delightful.

It’s definitely a comfy, party environment.
©2012 ANVidean

Percolation Factor (the activity/environment/energy/service)
Great place for:

  • Meetings
  • Tutoring
  • Parties (especially build-your-own sundae types of gatherings)
  • Showers

The Grounds (location)
49 W. Thomas Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85013
602.265.3889

Tea Times (hours)
M–F: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Sa.–Su.: 8 a.m.to 10 p.m.

Yelp rating: 4 stars (77 reviews)

……………………

I love connecting people and ideas, so I’ve been creating small villages my entire life. Really, what better places can writers and musicians find to create “village” than independent coffee/tea shops? I wrote most of my Rhythms & Muse novel and Delfaerune Rhapsody series-in-progress in coffee/tea venues, so it seemed natural to create this blog. Whether you came here to find a new favorite hangout, or suggest a spot not yet not posted, may you find Coffee CommuniTea exactly to your taste!

Coffee CommuniTea: Souvia Tea, Phoenix, AZ

Today’s Cup o’ Tea: Souvia Tea

@2011 ANVidean

Perks (what I really like!)
Souvia is probably my favorite independent teashop in the Phoenix area. I love it mostly because it’s dedicated only to delicious tea.

As you walk in the door, an earthy tang of pure tea with all-natural flavorings floods your senses. You’ll think you’ve just walked into heaven. (Oh, wait, maybe that’s the Apple Computer store. Could there be two heavens? Ah, but I digress…)

Surrounded by 120+ premium loose teas and tisanes (herbals) from around the world, and knowledgeable baristas to help you understand all their nuances, what’s not to love?

I find the store small, but comfortable, and a very relaxing respite from the daily GRIND, if you’ll excuse my pun.

Souvia also has a nice little selection of tea accessories. I found myself the perfect “Tea-vangelist” TEA-shirt there, too. (Oh, I’m just full of them today!)

The perfect tea for me! @2011 Andrea Beaulieu

Share a cuppa (the stories)
Owners Bret and Kerstin Wingart explain on their Web site that the idea for their shop came to them in the spring of 2004 while hiking in the Maverick Mountains south of Prescott, Ariz. Based on their initial plans that day – plus research, and inspiration from tea room and retail establishment visits in Germany, Austria, China and Japan – the Wingarts opened their  store on Jan. 7, 2006, in Phoenix.

The name Souvia is a combination of two partial words. “Sou,” from the word “soul,” reflects the belief that tea and its traditions are good for one’s soul. “Via” the Latin root for “the way,” and the last part of Kerstin’s middle name, also fit. Therefore: “Souvia,” representing the soul of Olivia and the way of tea.

Very nice. This wordsmith approves.

What’s Brewing (coffee, tea, food)
The focus is strictly on custom-brewed teas here, so you’ll find only a few goodies and snacks. My Almond Dream brew, which tasted like a freshly warm oatmeal cookie, beautifully complemented the deliciously chewy chocolate chip cookies I shared with my friend Andrea.

Andrea Beaulieu and I enjoy great smells, tastes and camaraderie at Souvia Tea in Phoenix. Thanks to our barista for snapping this shot.

The Grind (what I would change)
I only wish Souvia was not 45 minutes from my home in Mesa!

Percolation Factor (the activity/environment/energy/service)

  • Souvia offers informative, customized tea seminars and tastings.
  • They host private events, too.
  • They sell gifts and accessories to help you brew the perfect cup of tea.
  • The owners are members of the USA Specialty Tea Institute, and their training and dedication to the craft certainly shows.

The Grounds (location)
15414 N. 7th St.
Phoenix, AZ 85022
602.938.1216

Tea Times (hours)
Open:
Monday–Friday, 7 a.m.–6 p.m.
Saturday 9 a.m.–5 p.m.

Yelp rating
4 stars

……………………
I love connecting people and ideas, so I’ve been creating small villages my entire life. Really, what better places can writers and musicians find to create “village” than independent coffee/tea shops? I wrote most of my Rhythms & Muse novel in coffee/tea venues, so it seemed natural to create this blog. Whether you came here to find a new favorite hangout, or suggest a spot not yet not posted, may you find Coffee CommuniTea exactly to your taste!

Coffee CommuniTea: Cupz N’ Crepes, Ahwatukee, AZ

Pleasant French décor, comfy seating, good food. What's not to like?! ©2011 ANVidean

Today’s Coffee CommuniTea
Cupz N’ Crepes
Coffeehouse and Creperie
Owner: Terri Martinez

The Grounds (location)
4232 E. Chandler Blvd.
Ahwatukee, AZ 85048
480-706-1963
www.cupzncrepes.com

Tea Times (hours)
Mon.–Fri., 7 a.m.–4 p.m.
Sat. & Sun., 8 a.m.–4 p.m.

Share a cuppa (the stories)
My associate Kim Cecere of ON Point Communications introduced me to Cupz N’ Crepes a few weeks ago. We had a brunch meeting there to talk about writing. (I tell you, writers always have their Coffee CommmuniTea venues of choice!)

A late-start school day was a good excuse to visit Cupz N' Crepes with my daughter Codi. ©2011 ANVidean

Walking in, I immediately liked the décor and the feeling of the place, especially as a quiet spot for conversations. I ordered a savory crepe with vegetables and feta, which was very tasty. I know some people adore that lightly sweet crepe flavor, but I just have a hard time thoroughly enjoying it with salty foods. So, when I took my daughter Codi to Cupz N’ Crepes for brunch and to take photos, I tried a salad. Deliciously fresh! Next time, I’ll try a sweet crepe like honey, bananas and almonds. Yum!

I can totally picture me sitting here with my writer friends to brainstorm plot lines! ©2011CEVidean

I see why this coffeehouse was voted one of the best new business venues in Ahwatukee, and best for breakfast and customer service.

What’s Brewing (coffee, tea, food)
• Crepes, both savory and sweet
• Bagels
• Salads
• Coffee drinks
• A few teas

Percolation Factor (the activity/environment/energy/service)
The vibe at Cupz N’ Crepes, both times, felt energized and positive. A flow of people came in to order to-go drinks, others sat and enjoyed conversations over their cups and crepes. I can imagine a group of writers or musicians sitting on the couches in the back to share creative ideas and lots of laughs. The environment is clean and pleasant. I’ll definitely go back.

Perks (What I really like!)
• The quiet ambience
• Well lit
• Plenty of space between tables
• A comfortable lounging area with couches, a TV and books
• A colorful paint scheme highlighted with lovely reflective triangular mirrors, and ample shelving for tea sets, photographs and other French décor
• Fresh, delicious food

The Grind (what I would change)
• No grounds for not really liking this place. 😀

Yelp rating:
4 stars

……………………

I love connecting people and ideas, so I’ve been creating small villages my entire life. Really, what better places can writers and musicians find to create “village” than independent coffee/tea shops? I wrote most of my Rhythms & Muse novel in coffee/tea venues, so it seemed natural to create this blog. Whether you came here to find a new favorite hangout, or suggest a spot not yet not posted, may you find Coffee CommuniTea exactly to your taste!