Driving over 100 miles down to Tempe for jiu-jitsu class on a Saturday at 10th Planet Phoenix, I still wanted to try and get a visit to another cafe in. I told Siri to take me to me to Altitude Coffee in Scottsdale, but I ended up at Village Coffee Roasters. Altitude is at 8320 Hayden Drive, and Village is at 8120. So they’re pretty much right next to each other and I still don’t know if Siri got confused, if the Lakeside Shopping Center is too big and confusing for simple-minded coffee hunters, or if strangers are just at a disadvantage no matter where they do. Could be a little but of all three.
Location. Village Coffee Roasters is in an outdoor shopping area full of fancy shops, fancy cars, and fancy people. My big white van and kids in workout gear stuck out like a sore thumb, but as usual- we didn’t care. No one in Village seems to care, either. The patio area is big enough for live music, and an artist was setting up when we arrived. It made sense that live music would be either early or late in the day, as the heat made it north of 115 that day.
Once inside, there’s some seating, a pastry display that guides the line in forming, a pick up area near the espresso machine, and a separate batch brew bar. I totally missed the batch brew area on my way in and didn’t spot it until I was leaving. It’s tucked behind the front door with a sign that reminds patrons to pay for their refills. It was a busy area and I didn’t have time to wait and see if there was a money or there or if customers and to wait in line all over again to pay for their refills.
Service. I know I wouldn’t happy to stand in line again to pay for a refill of batch brewed coffee that most places let me have for free anyhow. It was worth it to stand in line for a double shot of espresso, mocha, and chocolate croissant, though. I was greeted upon entering and offered something from the pastry display almost immediately. Not wanting to be rude, I accepted the offer of trying a chocolate croissant. Warmed, of course.
The gals at the register were kind and answered many of my questions as best as could be expected at a very busy cafe. Even the barista was willing to talk with me about the pour overs they didn’t do when it was busy, the use of spatulas to smooth out the espresso grinds in the porta-filter prior to brewing, and why he gave me a sugar with my espresso.
Coffee. I normally don’t drink sugar with my espresso unless it’s terrible. In this case, the barista recommended I try it with raw sugar, so I complied. It was good. Not great, but good. As was the mocha I ordered. It was solid coffee that was roasted on site. I would’ve liked to try a single origin pour over, but they didn’t offer it. They had a pour over stand for multiple devices and some Chemex devices hiding on the back counter. But they weren’t on the menu, and they aren’t served during busy hours. I guess they only serve the good stuff when nobody wants it?
Conclusion. Overall, Village was a solid second wave shop that made good use of their space. I think they could do better by having another barista during busy hours and by offering some single origin awesomeness in a pour over at any time of day. But they were busy enough not to have to listen to anyone’s advice.