In the process of re-branding, we are working on starting a podcast (more to come later). I have been researching and wanted to touch base with someone who is running a podcast that sounds good. So, I reached out to the guys at Orange Cactus Coffee (www.orangecactuscoffee.com) here in Az. Jake got back to me and said that he was going to be in town the next day on a coffee crawl. One of the shops he was stopping at was Boss Coffee. I've been wanting to review this place for a while, so I caught up him there.
I got to the shop (www.bosscoffee.com) a couple minutes early and took a look around. The patio is wonderful, tables and benches all in good condition and orderly. There are quite a few months in Az where its almost perfect outside and we have to be able to capitalize on it. A great first impression.
I walked in and was like, BAM, wall of coffee and coffee cups. It's kind of a cool design. They had the merchandise spaced well, so it wasn't overwhelming, but it also felt a little like the car salesman who waves you down before you can even park. The entrance had a sort of Chipotle approach, where the design funnels you to the ordering station. I loved this. I didn't have to think about where to go, I just walked and ended up at the right place. The shop design was on point. As for the decor, it really had a classy yet comfortable feel. The hightop chairs were buttoned white leather, but the tables were dark natural wood (meaning you could feel the grain of the wood, not processed to the point that it feels fake). This contrast of natural/earthy and high class felt really good. This is a place you could spend all day working or meet up for a first date. So far so good. This place was amazing.
There were 3 baristas working in the middle of the day, which I thought was great, because they had enough capacity to give excelent service. They had very positive energy and really engaged with us. Jake has a very big personality that is hard not to engage with, so I'm sure that helped. As they worked behind the counter they were very enjoyable. We ordered an espresso, cortado and a sample of their nitro cold brew. I ordered a cup of black coffee as well...actually I ordered that before Jake got me all jacked up on espresso.
The coffee they use is all from Stumptown and Water Avenue. Stumptown is an excelent roaster that I am familiar with, but I had not heard of Water Avenue. Neither are local companies, which is kind of a bummer. The shop seemed to sell the idea that these coffees came from Portland, as if that made them inherently special. A lot of people still buy into the whole "coffee town" idea, like coffee from Seattle is special because it's from Seattle. I'm just not one of them.
The Nitro tasted like a dark chocolate bar in a cup. It was delicous. The black coffee was delicous, a bit of stonefruit and chocolate. The espresso was hard for me to decipher. Espresso is like sensory overload. It has so much coffee that my palate is overwhelmed and gets confused. This one had a bit of citrusy acidity to it, which was nice. I did not like the espresso with milk though. The cortado came out and the milk was ok. There was no late art and the foam seemed small. (I'll be honest, I might not know how much foam is supposed to be on these drinks. My frame of reference is the head on a beer. That seems to be just right for me.) The acidity of the espresso seemd to be operating on a different plain than the creamyness of the milk. It just didn't blend well for me. Something that I will consider for my future shop is a 2 espresson offering. One to drink by itself and one that will blend well with milk.
There was just one opportunity that this shop missed out on. We had engaged the baristas and it was slow. The baristas could have easily taken the opportunity to turn this into a "wow" experience, but settled for good. I would have loved to have one of the extra baristas walk us through tasting, or provide chat us a bit more on a personal level. Something that showed us we were the most important thing in the shop at that time. The service was really good, but I think our day shifts, when its a bit slower, need to look for thos opportunities to rock people's socks off.
Overall, this shop is great and I highly reccomend it. I don't think I would put it in the top tier along with Press Coffee, but it is defintely one of the better shops I've been to here in Az. So, if you are in North Scottsdale, stop by and get a good cup of coffee.