Specialty Coffee for Everyone

The Place: Cartel Coffee Lab
The Location: 225 W. University Drive, Tempe
The Dish: Relaxing Mint Iced Tea and Iced Latte
By: Tyler Peckham

Coffee lovers rejoice! Cartel Coffee Lab is a one-stop-shop for specialty coffee as well as known favorites that appeal to all. While the menu features staples like hot and cold lattes and rich espresso, it also offers a rotating tap selection of cold brew and specialty drinks like the ‘excelente’, which incorporates espresso and iced horchata ($5.25). If you’re not a coffee person, but like the vibe and intimacy of coffee shops, Cartel also offers hot and iced black, green and herbal teas that rotate based on the season and availability. We tried the relaxing mint iced tea ($4.25) and the iced latte ($4), both which were very refreshing and satisfying.

Located in the heart of Sun Devil country, a mere two blocks from Arizona State University, this shop is definitely a hot spot for students, but really attracts all kinds. People of all ages were waiting at the bar or huddled at their computers when we got there on a Wednesday afternoon.

Walking into the shop, the aroma of freshly roasted coffee assails your senses immediately, thanks to operating, in-house roasters that sit in full view of patrons near the bar. Cartel also keeps a professional roaster is on staff to answer any questions for guests while they wait for their drinks. The staff are young and friendly, many adorned in tattoos and piercings, increasing the cool, trendy vibe of the place.

The Tempe location is expansive, with plenty of seating, a standing-only bar top for those so inclined, and art galore. We found this to be a fun, approachable coffee shop with a short wait time and lots of smiling faces. Skip the corporation coffee this morning and head over to Cartel for your cup o’ Joe!

Cartel Coffee Lab in Tempe is open every day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Scottsdale location is open Sunday through Thursday 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday through Saturday 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. The downtown Phoenix location is open every day from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. There are also two Tucson locations and a small shop at Phoenix Sky Harbor airport.

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