Berdena’s is a relatively recent addition to Scottdale’s growing speciality coffee scene, having opened in April 2017. Part of a new wave that includes Fourtillfour and Regroup Coffee + Bicycles, plus, just across the Arizona Canal, Press Coffee Roasters, it’s just a couple of blocks away along East 5th Avenue from the pioneering Cartel Coffee Lab. Unlike the majority of the area’s coffee shops, which focus solely on coffee, Berdena’s is known as much for its food, although in a fit of bad timing, I missed out on lunch on my first two visits! Berdena’s serves a concise breakfast menu until 2pm every day, while there’s a selection of cake all day long.
Turning to coffee, Berdena’s started with Madcap from Grand Rapids in Michigan, but has now evolved into a multi-roaster, changing roaster every six weeks or so, with a single-origin on espresso and another one batch-brew. You can also buy retail bags, although Berdena’s had sold out during my latest visit, the coffee from Morgon Coffee Roasters in Gothenburg proving extremely popular!
You can either sit outside at one of the tables sheltering under the passage to the left of the shop, or find a spot in the spacious interior, where there’s a selection of tables and a window-bar.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Berdena’s is on the south-side of 5th Avenue, which runs east-west across the northern end of Old Scottsdale. It occupies a single, block-shaped unit set well back from the road at the western end of a small parade of shops which runs to the roundabout at the junction with North Marshall Way. Berdena’s is joined to the rest of the parade by a covered passageway to the left, where you’ll find the outdoor seating, four round, orange tables, each with two or three matching, orange chairs. These use the shade provided by the passageway and the front of the shop to shelter from the Arizona sun, which, when I was there in March last year, was 31°C!
The entrance is on the left-hand side, which is effectively one long window facing into the covered passageway, the door in the middle. The front wall is at right-angles to it, running parallel to 5th Avenue. However, the right-hand wall is at roughly 135° to the front, with the back wall perpendicular to this, making the interior full of odd-shaped angles. It doesn’t help that the front is discontinuous, with a solid, stone wall to the right (punctuated by a single, wide window), while to the left, there’s a single, square, floor-to-ceiling window set a good way back. However, all the windows do make Berdena’s a bright spot, even though it faces north.
Starting at the door, you find yourself just in front of the counter, which runs along the back wall, starting with the till and cake display, and ending with the three-group Synesso espresso machine. To your left, the left-hand and back walls meet at 45°, leaving an awkward, triangular space, just big enough to squeeze in a single-person table between the counter and the window. You can also find the retail shelves down here.
To the right, the windows form a right-angle with a four-person table on the passageway side and a two-person table at the front. Next comes another wall, at right angles to the window, which has another pair of two-person tables, before there’s another 90° turn to the front wall, which has a four-person window-bar running the length of it. Finally, along the right-hand wall, which is at 135° to the front, you’ll find a final pair of two-person tables, then you’re back at the counter.
My first visit was in March 2018, right at the very end of my trip. I arrived in the early afternoon, not realising that Berdena’s stopped serving food at two o’clock, so I missed out on lunch. Instead, I settled for an espresso, the baristas, Steve and Chad, steering me towards the Kiryama, a Burundian single-origin from Madcap. Served on a wooden tray with a glass of sparkling water on the side, this was very fine, a surprisingly complex, full-bodied coffee.
When I returned last Saturday, almost ten months after my first visit, I was careful to arrive (just) before the two o’clock cut off, only to discover that Berdena’s had had a very busy morning and was completely out food, so once again I missed out on the “best avocado toast in Phoenix” (according to the menu). I took my solace in another wonderful espresso, this time from Morgon Coffee Roasters, a naturally-processed Usulatan coffee from El Salvador. My barista, Meg, recommended it without milk, the result being a well-rounded, well-balanced espresso with a pleasing touch of acidity to it. Check back next year to see if I actually make it for lunch!
January 2020: Dear readers, I did it! I finally made it to Berdena’s for lunch, being rewarded with the famous avocado toast, which more than lived up to its billing. I also had a gorgeous, fruity naturally-processed Colombian batch brew from Brandywine Coffee Roasters in Delaware which was every bit as good!
|7051 EAST 5TH AVENUE • SUITE I • SCOTTSDALE • AZ 85251 • USA
|07:00 – 16:00
|Guests (espresso + batch brew)
|07:00 – 16:00
|Tables, Window Bar
|07:00 – 16:00
|07:00 – 16:00
|Cards + Cash
|08:00 – 15:00
|09:00 – 14:00
|23rd March 2018, 5th January 2019
12th January 2020
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