Cartel Coffee is the best independent coffee shop in the Phoenix area. Not only do they roast their own beans on-site for the freshest possible drinks, but they also offer a uniquely attractive atmosphere.
With 4 different locations scattered throughout metro Phoenix, there is always a fresh espresso waiting for you whenever you need a pick me up.
The original Tempe location has a nice spacious layout with eclectic art and cozy couches for enjoying a relaxing break from all your activities.
Cartel sources their beans from small farms throughout the world. They have professional roasters and baristas on staff to ensure the best quality coffee, and it really does show in the final product.
The coffees are smooth and flavorful, and never burnt. Pricing is high, however, worth it for the delicious end product. Try a simple Americano or Mocha, both are absolutely fantastic.
Cartel is also well-known for their unique cold brew. Not really my thing, as I cannot imagine drinking cold coffee. I will not even finish my coffee if it cools down too much!
They also offer Aeropress Coffee, a newer brewing method which is supposed to create a richer and smoother drink.
Not a coffee drinker? Don't worry you can still take advantage of the nice atmosphere while sipping a tea. And if you need something a bit stronger, they also serve beer and wine.
Service was so-so. The barista did not seem overly happy to be there that day. For the Phoenix area where service is always top knotch, I was a bit dissapointed.
Cartel is hidden away in the back of a little Strip mall. The area looks a bit grungy when you first pull up, however, once you walk inside you enter a relaxing, cool hangout.
The art is weird and interesting, and the space is clean, modern, and upbeat. It sorta has a hipster vibe, although still feels relaxing and friendly. Overall, it's just a great alternative to simply picking up a coffee to go from a drive-thru.
Most of the clientele seem to be college students from ASU catching up on homework and hikers/joggers refreshing with a drink after their workout.
Cartel is a fun neighborhood coffee hangout. If you don't mind paying the up-charge, you will receive a cozier setting and better drinks than you would find at any Starbucks.