Coffee CommuniTea: Prickly Pear Lounge, Howard, CO

Today’s Cup o’ Tea: Prickly Pear Lounge, Howard, CO

The sign to watch for…
In this coffee shop in one of the
smallest towns in America, I tasted my favorite chai tea ever.

Perks (what I really like!)
Besides the friendly service and delicious coffee and tea, my favorite part about this beautiful, refreshing stop is the featured artwork from the many local artisans. Relaxing atmosphere. Cozy rooms. Friendly staff.

Share a Cuppa (the stories about the owner, building, history, name)
With an affinity for the prickly pear cactus, the owner, Danielle—who sports a tattoo of the cactus—envisioned a place for community to gather and enjoy good food and beverages, music, and camaraderie.

My daughter Codi (left) and dear friend Paula (in blue) with founder/owner Danielle.

What’s Brewing (coffee, tea, food)
• Made-to-order breakfasts and lunches
• Baked goods
• Fresh-roasted coffees
• A variety of teas (Did I mention that incredible chai tea?)

Percolation Factor (the activity/environment/energy/service)
Danielle has turned her “community gathering place” vision into reality with coffee chats, kid programs, crafts, and community learning programs.

The Grind (what I would change)
If I could, I would make a change at every other indie coffee shop to emulate Prickly Pear. Coffee shop owners worldwide, please install a rack with hooks where regulars can hang their favorite mugs!

The Grounds (location): 
9236 US Highway 50
Howard, CO 81233
United States
719.942.3789

Tea Times (hours)
M.–Sun: 7 AM – 6:00 PM

Yelp rating: 5 stars from 3 reviews
Facebook rating: 5 stars from 20 reviews
(You know only 500 people live in Howard, CO.) Though there are few reviews, trust me when I say it’s amazing…
Totally worth a side trip from State Route 285.

……………………

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 I found it 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: BuzzBerry Bistro, Scottsdale AZ

BuzzBerry - 04Today’s Cup o’ Tea
BuzzBerry Bistro Coffee, Smoothie, and Espresso Bar —Scottsdale, AZ

 

IMG_0377Perks (what I really like!)

I recently discovered BuzzBerry in the Park Scottsdale Shopping Center just a minute off Interstate 101 at McDonald. This down-to-earth, hot spot offers:

  • A comfortable, laid-back atmosphere.
  • A wee, bright outside patio.
  • Rave reviews about the made-in-front-of-you omelettes.

Baristas with personality: Bronte and Hannah.
Baristas with personality: Bronte and Hannah.

What’s Brewing (coffee, tea, food)

  • Coffee
  • Smoothies
  • Espresso
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner (BuzzBerry menu)

The Grounds (location)

5959 N Granite Reef Rd.
Scottsdale, AZ 85250
(480) 717-9962
geturbuzz.com

IMG_0370Tea Times (hours)
Open 24 hours a day!

Yelp rating: 4 stars from 164 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 I found it 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 form: Add your own favorite tea/coffee shop

Add your favorite tea or coffee shop to this community! I’m looking for hot spots all over the world, so please share any place you truly admire.

Ann at Carmel's Cafe in Phoenix, AZ
Ann at Carmel’s Cafe in Phoenix, AZ

I created the Coffee CommuniTea blog  because I deal with a lot of indie businesses and authors, and — since I love connecting people and ideas — what better place to do it than a coffee or tea shop? Besides, I wrote most of my Rhythms & Muse novel and Delfaerune Rhapsody series-in-progress in such venues.

I already covered many of my favorite hot spots on this site, but want to include your favorites, as well. I would be delighted to add your perfect little meeting place for a “cuppa.”

Simply copy my “Coffee CommuniTea” form (below) into the comments, and fill it out. Or, you can print it out, complete the form, and email it to avidean@videanunlimited.com. 

I will follow up with the owner/manager to fill out any missing details, secure photos, and post everything to this site. Cheers!

…………………………………………………………………………….

Coffee CommuniTea Blog
Contributor Form

Contributor: (your name, city, state, and other contact info you wish to make available, even a mug shot – pun intended)

Today’s Cup o’ Tea (name of shop, its city/state location, its Web site and/or best online site, with its owners’ names and contact emails)

Perks (what I really like!)

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

What’s Brewing (coffee, tea, food)

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

The Grind (what I would change)

The Grounds (location)

Tea Times (hours)

Yelp rating: ____ stars from ___ reviews

…………………..

Write on!
Ann Narcisian Videan
Write • Edit • Self-publish • Word-of-mouth
avidean@videanunlimited.com

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

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

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!

Coffee CommuniTea: Lo Fi Coffee Roastery – Mesa, AZ

Today’s Cup o’ Tea

Lo Fi Coffee Roastery
Facebook

Downtown Mesa hot spot:  coffee at a music club, what's not to love!  Photo: ©2013 ANVidean ©2013
Downtown Mesa hot spot: coffee at a music club, what’s not to love!
Photo: ©2014 ANVidean ©2013

Perks (what I really like!)

  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Friendly baristas
  • Spacious environment graced with art featuring musicians
  • Comfy seating

    Picture yourself here, relaxing and enjoying a conversation, or some fine local music. Ahh! Photo: ©2014 ANVidean
    Picture yourself here, relaxing and enjoying a conversation, or some fine local music. Ahh!
    Photo: ©2014 ANVidean
  • Quiet atmosphere
  • All baked goods made in-house
  • This quote from their marketing: “No business is perfect and we don’t want to be perfect! We just want to be a coffee shop that is always striving for excellence while maintaining a degree of uniqueness!”

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

Co-owners Sam Clark and Randy Denton formed the idea for Lo Fi in December 2010 when they discussed opening up a coffee cart inside of the “front room” of The Nile Theater, an all-age rock club in downtown Mesa, AZ. The coffee cart concept eventually evolved into a coffee shop and, thus, they turned a dark lonely storefront on Main St. into a coffee shop. They first flipped on the open sign on June 14, 2011.

“Lo Fi” Coffee comes from the term low fidelity. Low Fidelity is often a term related to vinyl records, describing the scratched and flawed sound one often associates with them. The idea is engrained in the coffee shop decor and environment.

You know you want a home-made bagel and a fresh-roasted cuppa to improve your day. Photo: ©2014 ANVidean
You know you want a home-made bagel and a fresh-roasted cuppa to improve your day.
Photo: ©2014 ANVidean

What’s Brewing (coffee, tea, food)

  • Bagel sandwiches
  • Nice loose tea assortment
  • Specialty coffees made with hand-roasted beans from Randy’s Xanadu Coffee Co., located behind the Phoenix Farmers Market in downtown Phoenix, AZ. As its owner operator he has roasted coffee since approximately 2009.

The Grind (what I would change)

Nothin’! It may be called Lo Fi, but a more appropriate name might be “Hi Fi,” because this place certainly serves up a high fidelity experience.

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

  • Start with its affiliation with the Nile Theatre. Cool.
  • They offer extended hours.
  • They host concerts for touring artists, as well as singer/songwriter nights for local and aspiring musicians. (Lo Fi Coffee allows only original music to play live on the premises.)

The Grounds (location)

105 W. Main St.
Mesa, AZ 85201
(SW corner of MacDonald and Main, inside the Nile Theatre)

Tea Times (hours)

M.–W. 8 a.m.–5 p.m.
Th.–Sa. 8 a.m.–9 p.m.
Su. 11 a.m.–4 p.m.

Yelp rating:

4 stars from 25 reviews

Coffee CommuniTea: Solo Café Gourmet Coffee and Tea House – Tempe, AZ

Today’s Cup o’ Tea
Solo Café Gourmet Coffee & Tea House
Tempe, AZ

Solo Café's quaint storefront and patio seating
Solo Café’s quaint storefront and patio seating

Perks (what I really like!)

  • A whole wall full of loose-leaf tea selections
  • Delicious hazelnut mocha latte
  • Super friendly barista/co-owner, Chad

    Co-owner Chad hard at work
    Co-owner Chad hard at work
  • Edgy artwork
  • Lots of comfy seating, inside and out, giving the place a homey feel

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

My research turned up little marketing material online or otherwise for patrons to discover more details about this hot spot. They may not need it, as the shop was packed in the middle of a Wednesday afternoon, but I still would like to find more background on the place… (If you know more, please comment below.)

Plenty of delicious choices.
Plenty of delicious choices.

What’s Brewing (coffee, tea, food)

  • Coffee drinks of all kinds
  • Did I mention a whole wall of loose-leaf tea? Ahh!
  • Pastries and snacks

The Grind (what I would change)
No decaf offered. This place must be for purists!

Relax in the intimate library
Relax in the intimate library

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

  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Cool little library with cushy seating
  • Turntable and vinyl available for a listen
  • Small TV with DVDs
  • A community night for musicians on Wednesdays

The Grounds (location)
107 E Baseline Rd., #A-4
Tempe, AZ 85283
(480) 838-7656

Tea Times (hours)
M–Sa 8 a.m.–9 p.m.
Su. 11 a.m.- 8 p.m.

Yelp rating: 4.5 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 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: Bergies Coffee Roast House – Gilbert, AZ

Bergie's exterior
Photo: @2013 ANVidean

Today’s Cup o’ Tea
Bergies Coffee Roast House
Gilbert, AZ

Share a cuppa (stories about the owner, building, history, name)
More than two years ago, when I met my friend Cherie Scott for tea here, she suggested I write a positive blog about coffee and tea shops. The idea for “Coffee CommuniTea” started brewing at Bergies!

Perks (what I really like!)

  • Its location. Brothers Brian and Bruce Bergeson opened the doors to Bergie’s in Gilbert’s historic Heritage District in early 2009. It earned a New Times “Best of Phoenix” award that year.

    I enjoyed the comfy seating in intimate rooms. Photo: @2013 Cherie Scott
    I enjoyed the comfy seating in intimate rooms.
    Photo: @2013 CScott
  • Cottage environment with comfy, private sections
  • Two shady patios
  • Knowledgeable baristas
  • Delicious tea. Even though the menu focuses on coffee, I was pleasantly surprised at the knowledge of the barista who helped Cherie and I on our return visit. She introduced me to a special “Celebration” blend of teas, which was fruity and delightful when brewed later at home.

What’s Brewing (coffee, tea, food)

  • Quality coffee, custom roasted by the brothers themselves
  • A limited number of teas
  • Online ordering available
  • Pastries and desserts

The front patio. Photo: @2013 ANVidean
Bergies’ front patio.
Photo: @2013 ANVidean

The Grind (what I would change)
Our visit was delightful. Why it’s taken me so long to feature this charming place, I’m not sure. But, I highly recommend you check it out.

Percolation Factor (activity/ environment/energy/service)

  • Local musicians on Saturday evenings
  • The brothers chat every Tuesday from 11:15 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. on “Culinary Confessions” on AM Radio 1440

What's not to love? Photo: G2013 CScott
What’s not to love?
Photo: ©2013 CScott

The Grounds (location)
East side of Gilbert Road, between Elliott and Guadalupe roads, next to Joe’s Real BBQ.
309 N. Gilbert Road
Gilbert, AZ 85234
480-497-3913
bergies309@hotmail.com
http://www.bergiescoffee.com/

Tea Times (hours)
M–Th:  6 a.m.–5 p.m.
F–Sa:  6 a.m.– 8:30 p.m
Su:  7 a.m.–12 p.m.

Yelp rating: 4.5 stars from 63 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: Vinyl Rush Cafe – Downtown Mesa, AZ

Today’s Cup o’ Tea
Organic Bean Café
[formerly Vinyl Rush Café]
Downtown Mesa, AZ

Park right on the street in front and enter here... ©2013 ANVidean
Park right on the street in front and enter here…
©2013 ANVidean

Perks (what I really like!)

...walk down the courtyard alley...©2013 ANVidean
…walk down the courtyard alley, where you may want to sit later…        ©2013 ANVidean

  • Courtyard seating. A cute, narrow courtyard between the rows of small businesses in the building.
  • Intimate setting. “Side A:” the coffee bar where you order your goodies, and “Side B:” a room across the courtyard where you can sit, chat and listen to music away from the sounds of blenders and counter chatter.
  • Album clocks. The owners decorated with lots of charming music paraphernalia, including a large collection of vinyl record album covers—33s and 45s—which they’ve turned into clocks.

    ...purchase delectables on Side "A" and enjoy them here in the comfort of "Side B." ©2013 ANVidean
    …purchase delectables on Side “A” and enjoy them here in the comfort of “Side B.”
    ©2013 ANVidean

Share a cuppa (the stories about the owner, building, history, name)
Missy, one of the owners, is both a coffee and music lover. She and her coffee partner bring you 38 years in the restaurant, hotel, and retail industry. At Vinyl Rush, they roast their own coffee beans, favoring full-bodied, medium-dark to dark roast styles. Just be ready for it!

What’s Brewing (coffee, tea, food)

  • Fresh roasted coffee
  • Espresso drinks
  • Smoothies
  • Hot teas (a nice selection)
  • Pastries and bagels

The Grind (what I would change)
Not a thing. Just be prepared to enjoy your goodies in a close, intimate setting.

Percolation Factor (the activity/environment/energy/service)
If you want your own album clock, they’ll make one for you. Each is custom designed with the time movement and hands placed creatively to compliment the cover image. http://vinylrushcafe.com/clocks/

The Grounds (location)
Downtown Mesa, AZ
40 N. Macdonald Street
Mesa, AZ 85201
480.615.4333

Tea Times (hours)
Monday – Friday 6:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Saturday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Yelp rating:
4 stars (62 reviews)

Who recognizes the symbol under their “Vinyl Rush Cafe” signs?

……………………

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: 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!

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