One of the first places that was on my list for coffee in Flagstaff, Arizona, other than Matador (which was across the road from my motel) was Firecreek, right on Route 66 itself. However, what I hadn’t realised is that Firecreek had, in the last few months, opened a new coffee tasting room at its roastery on 111 South San Francisco Street, two blocks south of the main coffee shop.
Operating under the brand of 111 Roasting Works, this wonderful space has the roastery on the left, and a large, open plan coffee bar on the right. I’m going to call this space, which has an espresso bar and a slow bar (pour-over to you and me) the Tasting Room, so not as to confuse it with the roastery, which I’ll call 111 Roasting Works.
It’s only open (for now) in the mornings, Monday to Friday, offering the simple choice of the (single-origin) espresso of the day (chosen by the barista that morning) or one of three single-origin filters through Aeropress, V60 or Bonavita dripper. All the coffees are exclusive to the tasting room, by the way. You can’t even get them at Firecreek in the centre of town.
August 2018: Some sad news coming from Flagstaff. 111 Roasting Works has stopped its coffee service and will just be used as a training room. I’ll definitely miss it the next time I’m in Flagstaff. The coffee which was exclusive to 111 Roasting Works will be available at Firecreek in the centre of town.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
111 Roasting Works is easy to find. It is, pleasingly, on 111 South San Francisco Street (and the roastery uses a San Franciscan roaster; imagine how pleased I was to discover that!). On the south side of Route 66/railway, it’s literally two blocks down the same street from Firecreek. The roastery, which started out in Sedona, has been here for four years, but it’s only at the end of last year that the Tasting Room opened.
It’s a gorgeous, simple, bright, open space, facing east, with windows all along the front, so it’s perfect for catching the morning sun. It’s effectively two spaces from the street, each with a central, recessed door, flanked by windows, so ensure you get the correct one. The left-hand door leads to the roastery, or it would if it opened, while the one you want is on the right. This deposits you right where you need to be.
Dead ahead, right at the back, is the slow bar, where the filter coffee’s made. To your right, occupying most of the right-hand wall, is the espresso bar, with a massive mirror, running almost the bar’s length, on the wall behind it. Ahead of you to your left, a row of three square, four-person tables runs front-to-back, while behind you on the right is a wonderfully sunny alcove in the window with a pair of armchairs and a set of retail shelves. Finally, there’s a bar to the left, beyond the tables, which separates the Tasting Room from the roastery. You can sit here on one of five high stools and watch the roaster in action, an almost daily occurrence.
I started off on espresso, immediately drawn by the gleaming Modbar, the first in Arizona (there’s now another one in Phoenix). I talked Jacob, the barista, into making me a split shot of the espresso of the day, a single-origin Rwandan, which was newly on. In milk, it was really smooth, a very drinkable coffee, but I felt it was a little anonymous, although that might have been the fault of the milk, which was gorgeous: rich and creamy, it had quite a strong flavour. However, on its own, the Rwandan was superb, a really smooth, well-balanced and richly-flavoured espresso, easily one of the best I’ve had in a long time.
Naturally I got chatting to Jacob and so had to stay to try the slow bar. Although offering the Aeropress and Bonavita dripper (which are also for sale) Jacob expressed a preference for the V60, so I went with that, selecting the Colombian Los Naranjos, although I was tempted by the Sumatran Silimakuta, which Jacob described as very earthy with heavy tobacco notes.
My coffee was served in a glass beaker with a mug on the side on a small silver tray. It started off quite juicy, but not the typical African style juiciness that I’m used to. I tend not to have Colombians as pour-overs, so this was very different from the coffee I’m used to. What was interesting was that it kept getting better as it cooled and by the time it was stone cold, it was excellent!
I’d come to Flagstaff not expecting much in the way of good coffee and popped into the Tasting Room only intended to stay for a quick coffee. I ended up lingering almost two hours, it was that good. A real coffee-lover’s treat, made all the more special by being totally unexpected.
|111 SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO STREET • FLAGSTAFF • AZ 86001 • USA|
|Monday||08:00 – 13:00||Roaster||111 Roasting Works (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||08:00 – 13:00||Seating||Tables, Armchairs, Bar|
|Wednesday||08:00 – 13:00||Food||Cake|
|Thursday||08:00 – 13:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||08:00 – 13:00||Cards||Amex, Mastercard, Visa|
|Chain||Local||Visits||6th February 2018|
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