Common Grounds

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While visiting Rim Country, I yelped best coffee in Payson and this little gem popped up. I pass through many times a year and didn’t recognize the name Common Grounds. I figured I give a local place a shot instead of going to the nearby Starbucks in town. It is a fairly new coffeehouse that neighbors nearby Expedition church (who actually started it). Common Grounds seeks to establish meaningful community in the Payson area. The coffeehouse is cozy and very welcoming. The bar is made of a beautiful dark wood and the décor consists of historical photos and a wall with a large painting of the Arizona flag. Outside is a nice shaded patio area with plenty of seating. On the menu, they have a nice selection of coffee, espresso drinks and tea. They also have pastries on hand and free wi-fi. We stopped in for a bit and really enjoyed our time here. The staff was friendly and our drinks were made just right. One of things I like about this place is that they donate their profits to local charities and organizations within the Payson area. They are all about giving back to the local neighborhood and I’m always a huge fan of businesses that invest in their surrounding community. I love that their cups say “neighborhood coffee house” on them. My only gripe was that we came on a Sunday afternoon and parking was very limited because of church going on. But overall this is a really nice addition to the Payson area.

Common Grounds Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Black Rock Coffee Bar

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I just found out recently that this Portland-based coffeehouse opened in Chandler. In fact, we currently have three locations in AZ. Black Rock Coffee offers a variety of drink options, from drip coffee to mochas to espresso to hot tea. So what makes this coffee chain different from other ones? They really strive on connecting with people and creating an atmosphere to craft those stories. This location is very spacious and located in the southern part of Chandler. They have both walk-up and drive-thru service. The latte I got was pretty good and I thought the staff was really friendly. Black Rock seeks to build connections with the local community and were donating their proceeds of the day to a family of a local teacher that had been killed recently. I love hearing stories of local businesses seeking to make a difference and thought I’d stop in and show my support.

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Black Rock Coffee Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Coronado PHX

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I love the Coronado neighborhood and the restaurants that line 7th St. I dropped by here for a quick bite on my way to work. This place was once the Coronado Cafe and is now just The Coronado Phx (owned by the same owner that managed Bragg’s Factory Diner on Grand Ave). The converted home they operate out of has a lot of history in the area and makes for a nice relaxed dining experience. The Coronado is counter service and they have both indoor and outdoor patio seating. The menu is vegetarian and consists of breakfast, small bites and sandwiches. The counter area serves wine/beer/alcohol and is a full espresso bar. I ordered the Red Potato & Garbanzo Burger and really enjoyed the flavor of the agave mustard they top it with. The street corn was quite delicious as well. The atmosphere was super laid back and they do a great job of creating a nice community feel while you are here. Some people were here for dinner, some on laptops and others playing board games or just having a conversation. My only gripe was that there wasn’t a whole lot of pastries to choose from (probably because I came just before closing time).

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Red Potato & Garbanzo Burger (blurry – sorry)

Coronado PHX Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

One Cup at a Time

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So I’m cruising down the PCH through Malibu on my way to Santa Monica and I discover something exciting as I’m looking to satisfy my coffee craving  – Santa Monica has a Philz Coffee! I first visited this amazing coffee house in San Francisco a couple years ago. If you don’t know anything about Philz, they custom make your coffee right in front of you. The Mint Mojito Iced Coffee has to be one of the best coffee drinks I have ever had! This particular shop opened in 2014 and was buzzing with activity when I walked in. It’s located on Santa Monica Blvd just east of 3rd Street Promenade. I purchased my drink and a bag of beans and the manager was nice enough to give me my drink on the house. I savored that drink all the way back to AZ and it didn’t disappoint. Come to Arizona Philz!

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Mint Mojito Iced Coffee

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Philz Coffee Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Provision Coffee

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Provision Coffee seeks to build community through quality coffee. Founders Lawrence Jarvey and Dan Suh (along with designer Kyle Cesmat) have a passion to serve and connect with people. Provision connects with their farmers and helps with the basic needs of their communities. The coffee is roasted here in Tempe and sold through subscriptions and partnerships with local businesses and churches. I visited their full service coffee, beer and wine bar inside the Palette Collective in Gilbert. The Palette Collective is a pretty cool space with various suites that host several businesses. Most of the businesses are independent beauty salons. I’m a big fan of nitro cold brew and ordered the Southwest Sunrise. This cold brew combines a simple syrup, bitters and an orange twist. I also ordered the Havana Nights cold brew on my second visit. It is similar but adds a smokey taste to it with the smoke released from aromatic burned tobacco along with mint leaves for garnish. The combination of the favors with the nitrogenated coffee was crisp and smooth on both drinks. The coffee shop itself is nice and spacious and our barista was very welcoming. I love coffee and especially love it when there is a good story behind it. I look forward to following these guy’s journey and supporting their good endeavours.

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Southwest Sunrise

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Havana Nights

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Palette Collective

Provision Coffee Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Great Harvest Bread Co.

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If you want anything bread, Great Harvest Bread Co. is the place to go. They cater, take online orders or you can just visit the shop itself and grab a bite. Great Harvest handcrafts bread daily using only pure and simple ingredients and never uses any chemicals, preservatives, conditioners or additives. This place is family owned (Ward and Leslie Walston) and has been serving the East Valley for some time now. I stumbled upon this place awhile back after visiting my dentist next door and ordered a pumpkin roll for a Fall party. Now I stop in regularly here and there for coffee and a pastry (they have a coffee and latte bar). The staff is very friendly and they have little store up front where you can pick up various items like jelly, bread mixes, etc.

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Great Harvest Bread Co. Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Today the infamous Starbucks drink Pumpkin Spice Latte comes out. In the past, it has always come out in late September. I’m not surprised by this because I saw Halloween outfits in the stores back in July. Our world is changing and holidays are being celebrated earlier and earlier due to our lack of patience and stores capitalizing on early profits. Black Friday is now on Thursday. Christmas is being celebrated before Thanksgiving. Even though Fall is my favorite time of year, I personally want to enjoy my last month of summer before I settle into Autumn season (pus it’s still too hot!).

PSL has become so popular that it even has its own Twitter page. But what has been interesting this year is this posting below by the Food Babe. Starbucks has always been hesitant to post the ingredients to PSL because it has no actual real pumpkin in it. This will probably bode well for smaller independent coffee houses that use real ingredients in their pumpkin drinks if word continues to spread about this. I’m curious to how Starbucks responds to this. What do you think or do you care?

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