Home Dining Food What Valley Baristas Are Drinking This Fall - Page 3

Echo Coffee, Scottsdale

Hot and bothered

Schuyler Kennedy, a barista at Echo Coffee, says one of his favorite seasonal libations is a hot toddy made with apple cider. “It’s real nice on a cool fall or winter night,” he says.

A micro coffee roaster serving local, organic products, Echo Coffee has a convivial coffee shop atmosphere with soft, olive green walls, and strips of burlap adorning the walls. While wooden tables are set throughout the center of the shop, toward the back are big brown leather couches with large burlap sacks full of coffee beans. Nearly floor-to-ceiling windows let a warm glow of natural light into the room.

To make a good hot toddy, Kennedy starts by bringing the apple cider to a boil and adding nutmeg, clove and cinnamon. Orange peel is a nice additional as well, he adds. Bring the mixture down to low heat and let it simmer for a few minutes, filling the home with robust scents of fruit and spice. “It makes the home smell nice, like cheap incense,” Kennedy says. After turning off the heat, he then adds the whiskey and lets it simmer in the hot liquid for a few minutes. This brings out the natural sugars in the liquor and slightly mellows out the alcohol, Kennedy says. “But don’t burn all the alcohol away--that takes the fun out of it.”

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Songbird Coffee & Tea House, Phoenix

Spice it up

Songbird Coffee & Tea is a little local coffee shop in Downtown Phoenix that feels like a wonderful hidden gem one might stumble upon spontaneously. Wooden park benches decorate a grassy front lawn with a green pastel porch swing hanging on chains from a white-slatted ceiling. That same grassy green trim lines each of the windows from the outside, while the inside of the shop has more soft white and brown tones marking the perimeters of the windows and doors. Along with slabs of wood for bar-style seating, Songbird has table seating along the walls with bright, shiny green cushions. Directly across from them is a brick fireplace with five or six large candles in the center of the hearth. A simple latté and a blueberry scone that tastes similar to a cinnamon oatmeal cookie complete the blissful scene. Songbird sources its coffees and teas from Cortez Coffee Roasters in Tempe and Maya Tea Company in Tucson, respectively.

Barista Eric Almero says he could talk about coffee for days. One of his favorite fall drinks, in addition to a simple spiced apple cider, is a dirty chai latté with a hint of cayenne pepper. Paired with Songbird’s spicy chai blend, the pinch of cayenne pepper adds an extra kick for a “hot and throaty” drink, perfect for a crisp night, says Almero. For those interested in this fiery twist on a dirty chai, first mix the chai powder into the espresso and add a sprinkle of cayenne after that. Then, add the steamed milk and enjoy fully.

“This is one of the only times of year we really get to enjoy hot drinks in Arizona,” Almero says.

Sometimes the best way to treat yourself is to truly indulge in a toasty, robust drink that fills you up with a glowing warmth from head to toe. After all, that comforting, bubbly feeling is what autumn is all about.