Giant Coffee, Phoenix Sky Harbor

The sign on the wall at Giant Coffee in Terminal 3, Phoenix Sky Harbor.Good airport coffee is still, sadly, a rarity. It therefore seems unfair that, given its scarcity, Phoenix’s Sky Harbor Airport should have not one, but two speciality coffee shops. The first is Cartel Coffee Lab in Terminal 4., which is very handy for me, since I typically fly British Airways/American, both of whom use the terminal.

However, this time, I was flying Delta, which uses the newly-refurbished Terminal 3. I was just kicking myself for my choice of airline and hence terminal, rueing missing out on a decent pre-flight coffee, when I walked past Giant Coffee, a small coffee bar tucked in with a larger convenience store/newsagent.

Although there’s not much to Giant, it offers a concise espresso-based menu using the house-blend and decaf, plus there’s pour-over (V60 or cafetiere) and batch brew, each sporting a different single-origin. There’s also Rishi Tea and a range of cakes, sandwiches and salads.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • My first view of Giant Coffee, on the right-hand side in the C Gate section, Terminal 3.
  • And the view coming the other way, back towards the main entrance.
  • It's much more visible coming the other way. Here it's tucked around the corner...
  • ... although the pop-up board, the equivalent of the A-board, tells a good story.
  • And just around the corner, as promissed, is the counter, which is pretty much it!
  • Meanwhile, coming the other way, you really can't miss it.
  • There is some seating if you want to hang around. This counter-style seating by the...
  • ... pillar at the front is the best option. It's where I ended up.
  • There's also this low table in the middle...
  • ... with Ironwood, the store that occupies the rest of the space, stretch out beyond.
  • In case you need to be reminded of where you are!
  • Giant also has a manifesto.
  • Obligatory light-fitting shot.
  • To business. The counter takes up the whole right-hand side of the space.
  • You order at the till in the middle.
  • To the right is the food, all freshly prepared.
  • Cakes and pastries are on top...
  • ... with savouries down below.
  • There's also a retail selection in baskets to the left.
  • These two were the batch brew and pour-over options...
  • ... while there were more in the basket below (a Guatemalan and a Honduran).
  • The menu, meanwhile, is on the wall behind/above the counter.
  • If you don't want coffee, there's a selection of loose-leaf Rishi Tea.
  • However, I did want coffee, turning to the espresso machine at the counter's far end...
  • ... for a rather large cortado in my HuskeeCup.
  • The milk was well-steamed by the way...
  • ... holding the latte art to the bottom of the cup.
  • There's also pour-over or batch brew, with the choice of beans shown on the counter.
  • This is all done on the work surface behind the counter.
  • There are the obligatory batch brewers and their giant flasks...
  • ... while beyond that is the pour-over station with its own EK43 grinder.
  • That was my V60 being made, which I split between two cups (it was a 12oz serving).
  • I had some of it for immediate consumption in my Therma Cup...
  • ... while the rest went in my Global WAKEcup, which I took on the plane.
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Giant Coffee is a Phoenix-based roaster with a coffee shop on North 1st Street, north of the city centre. Although I’d heard the name, I’ve not visited since I rarely frequent central Phoenix. Although roasting since 2010, Giant’s only been in Terminal 3 since the terminal opened at the start of 2019.

Giant’s in the F gate area (there’s also an E gate area), on the right-hand side as you head towards the higher number gates. It’s on the right-hand side of an open, rectangular unit, with Ironwood, the convenience store/newsagent, occupying the remaining space. Giant’s little more than a counter, in fact, the till in the centre, cakes and other pre-prepared food to the right, with coffee to the left.

I suspect that most customers take their coffee straight to the gate. However, if you are staying, there’s a tall, counter-like seating area around a pillar at the front, where you’ll find three stools on one side, two on the other. It’s a pretty good option, the pillar being well-equipped with power outlets. There’s also a low table towards the back of the space, with two seats on either side.

Returning to the counter, you order at the till, with the menu on the wall above/behind the counter. To the left are a pair of espresso grinders, then a two-group La Marzocco Linea. Meanwhile, at the back of the counter, are the obligatory batch brewers and an EK43 grinder for the pour-overs, which is what first caught my eye.

I began with a cortado (other options are macchiato, cappuccino or latte). Unsurprisingly, Giant only has disposable cups, so I handed over my HuskeeCup, which has a 6oz capacity. In return, I received a very smooth, sweet drink, coffee and milk going well together, with the milk holding the latte art to the bottom of the cup.

Suitably impressed, I returned for a pour-over. Giant has a different single-origin on batch brew (Colombia Tolima Asopep during my visit) and pour-over (Ethiopian Homacho Waeno). However, there are more single-origins in retail baskets to the left. if you want to try before you buy, the staff will happily open a bag and make a pour-over for you.

The options change quite frequently, by the way, usually two or three times a week, determined by how quickly Giant goes through a bag on batch brew. It’s then replaced by whatever’s on pour-over, with a new single-origin chosen to replace that.

I had a V60, which came as a standard 12oz serving, the barista kindly splitting it between my Therma Cup (for immediate consumption) and my Global WAKEcup (which I took on the plane). My pour-over was just as impressive as my cortado, a full-bodied coffee which more than held its own as it cooled, tasting every bit as good on the plane as it did at the counter!

Monday TBC Roaster Giant (espresso + filter)
Tuesday TBC Seating Table, Bar
Wednesday TBC Food Breakfast, Lunch, Sandwiches, Cake
Thursday TBC Service Counter
Friday TBC Payment Cash + Cards
Saturday TBC Wifi Free
Sunday TBC Power Yes
Chain Local Visits 24th January 2020

Liked this? Then take a look at the rest of Phoenix’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to Phoenix.

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