Tucson may be known for its tacos and Sonoran hot dogs, but you can also get a really good cup of coffee! While Starbucks line every corner, there are so many local shops to support instead. This past year has been especially hard on small businesses and we’ve already seen some amazing places be greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Going to a local coffee shop for your morning latte or afternoon pick-me-up is one of the easiest and most delicious ways to support the small business of Tucson. We have compiled a list of our favorite coffee shops around, but please let us know what your favorites are! We are always looking to try new local blends.
Black Crown Coffee
Back when life was “normal”, Black Crown was one of my favorite spots to study and work. Along with high craft roast coffee and unique lattes, they are known for their ambiance. The two-story building is decorated with funky decor and fun touches can be found throughout, including the signed tiles by customers in the bathroom. They have a rotating menu of single-origin coffees and source coffee from all around the world. If you like a sweeter drink, try one of their signature creations like “Breastmilk” or “Dark Matter”. Black Crown has been taking extra precautions due to COVID-19 but is open Mon-Sun. Check out their Facebook for hours.
Cartel Coffee Lab
Another personal favorite of mine is Cartel Coffee. They have two Tucson locations, one on Broadway and another on Campbell, as well as locations in Phoenix, Palm Springs, and Austin. I always used to stop by the Campbell location on my way to campus. The atmosphere is airy and bright, the walls lined with colorful artwork, and soft music is heard in the background. Cartel Coffee is a craft, single-origin coffee roaster. Alongside coffee, they have a selection of baked goods and treats. One of their most unique features offered is a coffee subscription program. You can pick different blends according to your preference, the beans are then roasted for you and delivered to your door!
Located Downtown, Cafe Luce is a great spot to grab a coffee on the way to La Suprema. Caffe Luce has a cozy, welcoming atmosphere with a friendly staff always ready to answer any questions you may have about coffee blends. My go-to is a large cold brew with a splash of oat milk, yummy! They also have alcoholic beverages, like Haze 44, an americano with bourbon and hazelnut. Stop by for breakfast or lunch and enjoy one of their tasty offerings, such as sweet potato tacos, vegan biscuits, and gravy, or rustic multigrain toast. Check out their Facebook page for more information.
Savaya Coffee is one of my go-to's when I’m on the north side of town. They have five locations, one of them being in the La Encantada shopping center. I frequently visit the outside shopping mall and I love stopping by Savaya Coffee to grab a cold brew. They source coffee from all around the globe and roast beans in house every day. Savaya has unique offerings such as science coffee and Turkish coffee. Hesitant to try something new? Don’t fret, their friendly staff will happily walk you through the coffee offerings and help you find your perfect cup. In addition to coffee, they have a selection of premium, organic teas. They sell their coffee online as well, if you prefer to brew at home.
If you’re not a morning person (I know I’m not!), it can be hard to find the time in the morning to go inside a cafe for your daily caffeination. Luckily, Coffee Times has a drive-thru! Coffee Times makes it easy as possible to get gourmet espresso on the go. Established in 1999, Coffee Times prides itself on offering quality coffee, smoothies, and snacks with fast, friendly service. Try one of their sweet chocolate drinks, such as an Almond Joy or Milky Way frappe. Coffee times has a large selection of dairy-free milk and exclusively use drinkware made of compostable/recyclable materials. Recently, they started a year-round charitable giving program to help support organizations such as Ben’s Bells, Tucson WIldlife Center, and Tucson LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce Foundation.