Lola coffee, located in downtown Phoenix, Arizona, was recommended to me by a local friend. He said that Lola “is where you go if you want a great cup of coffee.” That prospect was good enough for me, and I set out with a few family members in tow. Located on the corner of Roosevelt and 3rd Ave, Lola isn’t especially large. It does, however, have a patio area for sitting outside when the Phoenix heat is tolerable.
A few things immediately struck me when I walked inside: the people who run Lola clearly have an eye for design. The small-ish area for sitting is maximized with bars along the back wall and front window. A few leather chairs and a couch decorate the interior, and three large, wooden tables great for using a laptop or (as one couple was doing) completing a crossword puzzle. The back wall is decorated with a massive, somewhat abstract, oil painting on four large canvases. A large glass case stands in front of the espresso machine, filled with baked goods and topped by jars of homemade cookies and croissants. On the front wall hangs an old wooden door with a glass panel – black marker spells out the relatively simple, no-frills coffee menu. Beside the door a metal sheet with “Lola” cut out hangs.
Lola’s menu is comprised of espresso drinks and automatic drip coffee. No manual drip methods are available, but what Lola does do, they do well. I chose a normal latte, which they served in a ceramic mug with simple coffee art on top. My dad ordered a hot chocolate (I didn’t inherit my love of coffee from him) and they asked if he wanted whip cream. My dad said yes, and instead of pulling out a pressurized can of store-bought whip cream, the baristas used their own, homemade, brown sugar whip. I tried some of my dad’s, and it far exceeded my expectations.
The espresso was great, and it’s no wonder considering Lola roasts all their own coffee. I enjoyed my latte immensely – it was creamy and smooth from the well frothed milk, and left a bright finish from the lightly acidic espresso. Along with coffee, my family purchased a “Sal De mar” chocolate chip cookie, sprinkled with Maldon sea salt. The cookie was delicious and went perfectly with our respective cups of coffee.
The baristas at Lola were cheery and helpful, speedily pulling our shots and smiling the whole way through. I could tell they enjoy working there, and their happiness was well represented in our mugs.
Phoenix isn’t exactly known for its coffee scene, but places like Lola make me re-think my preconceived notions about where a great cup can come from. Lola and smaller coffee shops like it are living reminders that you don’t need to be from Seattle, New York, or San Francisco to make great coffee. Dedicated employees, a passion for design, attention to detail about the small things, and a cheerful attitude go a long way in pushing forward quality coffee all around the world.
Next time you’re in Phoenix, don’t hesitate to stop by Lola Coffee. You won’t regret it.
The Coffee Guy