COZY UP: Find your ideal coffee shop in Flagstaff

Northern Arizona’s Mountain Living Magazine, November 2019

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Written by Gail G. Collins

For most of us, morning doesn’t come without coffee. It supercharges us for the day ahead. In fact, two-thirds of American adults begin the day with a cup of joe, and we average nearly three mugfuls. A welcoming vibe greets us at our coffee café. The beckoning aroma, friendly faces, comforting taps of the portafilter and hiss of steamed milk feel like your second home. You meet co-workers, study or steal away for a quiet afternoon hour. Sill looking for your perfect coffee vibe? Here are five places in Flagstaff to try.

Lux North 111 E. Aspen Ave.

The newest comer to the caffeine scene is Lux North, which expanded from Phoenix. Channeling the ‘60s with burnt orange leather couches, sleek lines and funky blown glass lighting, the entry steers service to one side and seating to the other. Owner Katie Calahan feels camaraderie with other coffee spots in town and focuses on her customers.

“We believe in building relationships, and that requires dialogue,” she said.

And the drinks are the perfect complement to quality conversation. Calahan’s la Marzocco espresso machine is lever operated, which requires serious skills, but offers defter options for infusing shots with water, following “the original principles of coffee creation.”

The company roasts daily in Phoenix, and the popular sippers are lattes, pour overs and cold brews. At 3 a.m., Calahan bakes croissants, cinnamon rolls, and her grandmother’s coffee cake among others to accompany that morning coffee. For a heartier start, try the eggerchief, so called for the portability of egg, meat and cheese as a pocket sandwich.

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White Dove 2211 E. 7th Ave.

From the moment Steve Dohse created his coffee shop, the non-profit always had a bigger vision than beans.

“The Dove space has always been a give-back program,” he said. After 15 years in the community on the east side, where business or friends routinely meet, he added, “It’s a feel good, friendly, welcoming atmosphere where people love the staff and love the space.”

The shop recently embraced the space next door, dubbed The Nest, boasting a meeting room and bright work area in reclaimed wood accents.

Popular drinks at Dove remain the Revelation—a strong, mocha breve—and the White Dove Special with white chocolate and hazelnut. The burrito is the best seller on a full breakfast menu and Judy Hill’s pastries include gluten-free options, like a blueberry muffin, but consider the walnut cinnamon crunch cake or a buttery scone with lemon drizzle made fresh daily. Stay for a fab peaks view or monthly Eastside Art Xperience and live music.

Firecreek 22 W. Historic Rte. 66

Now, in its sixth year, Firecreek roasts beans in small batches and supplies many retail outlets in town, such as Brandy’s, Brix, Tourist Home and more. Owner Mike Funk also serves as a wholesale partner for coffee equipment repair and service. While Firecreek may be a slightly higher pricier, Funk said, “We value quality over quantity and spend a lot on our groceries,” like $9 for a gallon of organic milk from naturally-foraging cows, who provide sweeter milk. “If we can make it taste better, we spend the money.”

Everything, from the syrups, in flavors like ponderosa vanilla or salted cardamom, to the chai and the pastries, are made from scratch. After a decade at Cottage Place, Candace Preston bakes a revolving variety of goods ranging from graham-dusted s’more macarons to muffins and light-as-air strawberry cream puffs. Building on success, Firecreek expanded to Oak Creek, and more recently, Cottonwood, integrating the arts and music in their spaces.

Single Speed Coffee Café

“Life is fast. Sip slowly,” the sign suggests. Kitsch with bicycles accents and chill tunes, the 3-year-old southside café echoed the sentiment as sociable staff responded to familiar faces and orders. “Everyone walks out the door happier than when they entered,” quipped owner Lynda Apple.

Staff is nurtured in their talents as a team. They contribute artistic designs, photography and more while learning business skills.  “Our boss wants us to grow,” said Cami Arellano.

Elizabeth Dannenbrink confirmed, “We’re a family of co-workers, which spreads to customers—we engage in people’s lives.”

Single Speed is a longtime roaster with single origins and fun blends, like Wake Up and Kiss Me. The shop sources responsibly, utilizing personal or lending mugs, and compostable aims. Season pass discount cards keep the caffeine habit affordable. On a recent visit, Molly Roxas-Powers fashioned a dirty chai latte, a cup of fragrant faraway, and proffered a cappazano, a moist, olive oil-based muffin. She suggested the egg and buttermilk biscuit next time. “It’s an amazing pile of love.”

Macy’s European Coffeehouse and Bakery 14. S Beaver St.

The veteran coffee house in town is Macy’s, celebrating 40 years next February. Tim Macy’s mission persists in honing a spirit of unity. “River runners, lawyers—they’re all different, but one—everyone is welcome,” he said. Macy was among the first roasters in Arizona, tempting drinkers with a traditional Italian darker style, and sources small farmers to pay above fair-trade prices. “Staff is family and our locals are our lifeblood.”

The Macy’s Special is the top drink, made with espresso, hot chocolate, whipped cream and sprinkles, served hot or iced. Alongside a full vegetarian breakfast menu, the pastries have been baked from scratch daily since 1980 with no preservatives, dough conditioners or stabilizers. They’re handcrafted with love by Siri Karshner.

“She handcrafts Danish, scones, muffins, even wedding, birthday or graduation cakes,” said manager Brandon Cox.

The French cinnamon roll within a croissant is the longtime customer favorite. Try a bear claw, rich in almond paste and nuts, or the loaded biscotti, begging for a dunk in the “ultimate cup,” Macy’s logo. NAMLM