Where To Go For Good Ol’ Drip Coffee

Caramel macchiato half-caf blended Frappuccino be damned. When you need a plain old cup of coffee in Tucson, where do you go? Joe, Java, Black Poison, Mother’s Little Helper, Devil Brew — no matter what you call it, a steaming cup of the stuff can be as comforting and necessary as anything.

A little while back, we asked our Facebook fans to weigh in on their fave cup of drip coffee in Tucson. Here are the results along with our own recommendations:

Caffe Luce Roasting Company

4205 N Campbell Ave / Mon-Fri 9am-6pm, Sat 6:30am-9pm, Sun 7am-7pm
 
Stop by Caffe Luce’s northern location right off the Rillito River Trail, or their West University location for a delicious cup of freshly roasted 100% Arabica beans, or sip one of their signature drip blends at Maynards Market downtown. The Coronet also proudly serves Caffe Luce beans.
  • Small batch roasting
  • Multiple locations
  • Broad selection of blends and varietals and fair trade organic coffees.
  • Popular Drip: Costa Rican, a medium roast that is bright and complex with hints of hazelnut and malts.
caffe luce tucson

Prepping Small Batch Beans at Caffe Luce

Raging Sage

2458 N. Campbell Ave/ Mon-Thurs 6:30am-9:30pm, Fri-Sat 6:30am-10:30pm, Sunday 7am-7pm

Raging Sage has won nearly every top coffee prize in Tucson since it’s inception in 1998, including best cafe, best espresso, and best blend! Each small batch is individually roasted and taste-tested by the Raging Sage Roastmaster, Shelby.

  • Pastries made in-house.
  • Small batch roasted beans purchased green from a buyer who travels to coffee farms around the world to select the highest quality beans.
  • Popular Drip: Raging Sage Blend, a proprietary award winning blend developed for espresso and brewed coffee with a perfect balance of body and acidity.

Exo Roast Co.

403 North 6th Avenue / Daily 7am-6pm 

Serious coffee for serious coffee lovers. Sure they have incredible mesquite and chiltepin coffee drinks, but Exo also serves a damn good drip coffee. They’ve developed a specific roast profile for each coffee in order to bring out the finest aspects of its character. Batches are manually roasted on-site (yes you can watch and smell the magic happening) in a cast iron, gas-fired, vintage German roaster (say that 5 times real fast). Coffees are served at their optimal roast date to insure peak flavor profile experience, with no beans that are more than two weeks old.

A few fresh beans at exo roast Tucson

Freshly Roasted Beans at Exo

  • Everything fair trade.
  • Socially responsible selections, with some of their coffees funding women’s cooperatives in Peru, building schools in Ethiopia and Indonesia.
  • Drip is single origin and changes often.

Honorable Mention: Stella Java

Mercado San Agustin, 100 South Avenida del Convento / Mon-Wed & Fri-Sat 7am-5pm, Thurs 7am-5pm, Sun 7am-3pm

Stella Java is one of the prettiest coffee shops in Tucson and in August they’ll start roasting their very own beans. Situated in the beautiful plaza of Mercado San Agustin (now a streetcar stop), they currently feature the freshest beans from local Exo Roast Co.

  • Grab a warm croissant (Wednesdays and Saturdays are your best bet for fresh pastries) or a piece of homemade apple pie from Bavier’s Bakery with your cup of joe.
  • Free refills on your second cup, 50 cents after that.
  • Drip is single origin and changes as often as they go through it.

Also worth a visit:

Got another fave? Let us know in the comments.

Nina is a Creative Nonfiction MFA candidate at the University of Arizona, a food writer and a recipe addict.

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