To celebrate my return to Phoenix, I present Monday’s Coffee Spot, Press Coffee at the Skywater Apartments in Tempe, which I visited on my previous trip to Phoenix almost exactly a year ago. Tempe is a separate city southeast of Phoenix, although part of the Greater Phoenix area. I first discovered Press Coffee, one of Phoenix’s leading roasters/coffee shops, when I fortuitously stumbled across its Scottsdale Quarter branch on my first visit to Phoenix.
The Skywater Apartments branch, which opened three years ago, is one of six in the Greater Phoenix area and is located in the Town Lake complex, just back from the southern bank of the Salt River and opposite the Tempe Center for the Arts. It’s a bright, open space, with a lovely, relaxed atmosphere.
If you’ve visited a Press Coffee before, then the offering will be familiar. There’s two blends (Twitch and Spitball during my visit) on espresso, with multiple single-origins on pour-over (five during my visit). One of these is also available as on bulk-brew along with another blend, Early Morning, which acts as the “house” filter. There’s also an extensive food served until 14:30, with various egg/bread-based dishes, plus the usual selection of cake.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
The Skywater Apartments branch isn’t that obvious to the casual visitor, existing more to serve the residents of the apartment building than it is to catch the passing trade. However, don’t let that put you off, since it’s a lovely place. With its relaxed atmosphere, it’s ideal for spending a few hours typing away on your laptop or curled up on the sofa with a friend.
On the ground floor of Skywater Apartments, it’s a wedge-shaped space, with the long edge facing north towards the river. There are two entrances, the main one on the right, at the thick end of the wedge, with the second on the left. There’s a third door providing access to/from the apartments at the tip of the wedge. If you need them, the toilets are down there too.
It’s a bright, spacious spot with high ceilings and two large sets of windows at the front, the glass door recessed on the right. The counter is in the back-right corner, facing the door, cake to the fore. Next is the till, then the coffee, starting with pour-over. The front of the counter is parallel to the windows at the front, but the left-hand edge, which holds the Synesso espresso machine and its three grinders, is perpendicular to the back wall, so is about 60⁰ degrees to the front.
The seating is off to the left, starting with a large, square 12-person communal table to the left of the door. Beyond the counter, a two rows of two two-person tables run parallel to the back wall, while in the window at the front is a large sofa, flanked by a pair of armchairs. And that’s it when it comes to seating.
I began with a smooth, creamy cappuccino using the Twitch Blend, my first coffee of the trip. This, according to the barista, was new recipe, slightly darker than the one I’d had at Scottsdale Quarter thanks to the addition of some Peruvian beans. I could certainly tell the difference, the hint of darkness going well with the sweetness of the milk. I also had breakfast: poached eggs and toast with avocado and tomato, a particularly lovely combination.
One of Press Coffee’s claims to fame is the Seraphim automated brewing system used to make pour-overs through either Kalita Wave or Chemex. Press was an early-adopter and my visit to Scottsdale Quarter was the first time I’d had coffee from the Seraphim in the wild, so to speak, a gorgeous Guatemalan which got Press a runner’s up spot in the 2016 Best Filter Coffee Award.
This time I had a Kalita Wave of the Costa Rican, a very smooth and well-balanced coffee, another excellent example of the Seraphim in action. It was served in a large mug, with the remainder in a metal jug, not quite reaching the presentation standards I’d come to expect from Scottsdale Quarter. It was also a lot of coffee (~500 ml, whereas I’m more used to 300ml servings).
I asked the barista what she thought about the Seraphim, which (at the time I visited) had been in action for five months. She confessed that she missed making pour-overs herself, but admitted it was very useful when the shop was busy, the main advantage of an automated brewing system such as the Seraphim.
|601 WEST RIO SALADO PARKWAY #103 • TEMPE • AZ 85281 • USA|
|www.presscoffee.com||+1 480 794 1107|
|Monday||06:30 – 19:00||Roaster||Press Coffee (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||06:30 – 19:00||Seating||Tables, Sofas, Tables (outside)|
|Wednesday||06:30 – 19:00||Food||Breakfast and Lunch (until 14:30), Cake|
|Thursday||06:30 – 19:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||06:30 – 19:00||Payment||Cards + Cash|
|Saturday||06:30 – 19:00||Wifi||Free (with login)|
|Sunday||07:30 – 17:00||Power||Yes|
|Chain||Local||Visits||15th January 2017|
If you liked this Coffee Spot, then check out the rest of Phoenix’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to Phoenix.
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