17 January, 2021, 00:51

On the go? Head to Coffee Times to get your caffeine fix and give back

Stop by for fresh coffee and local bites.

What if your morning coffee gave back to the community? Supported local charities? Uplifted other small businesses? At Coffee Times Drive-Thru, your daily caffeine fix does exactly that.

Founded in 1999 by Michael Cripps, his brother Jeremy, and his uncle, David Mannell, Coffee Times is a family-owned and operated drive-thru coffee shop located on a busy section of Speedway, between Alvernon and Country Club.

The shop features both drive-thru and walk-up windows, serving coffee and espresso drinks, smoothies, and baked goods sourced from other local Tucson eateries. Coffee Times also makes an effort to give back regularly to local charities like Habitat for Humanity, Ben’s Bells, AIDSWALK Tucson, and countless others.

Seasonal Iced Pumpkin Pie Macchiato with whip at Coffee Times

Seasonal Iced Pumpkin Pie Macchiato with whip at Coffee Times (Credit: Brielle Farmer)

A family operation born from a passion for the coffee business

For Cripps and his co-founders, opening Coffee Times was a natural progression considering the family’s history in the coffee business.

“I have worked in coffee since I was 16, and my brother [Jeremy] since he was 17 or 18,” said Cripps. “And my other uncle [Tom Mannell] owned a café in Tucson for about eight years before we opened Coffee Times.”

Today, that family connection to the industry, along with a shared passion for supporting the community, has helped Coffee Times build a successful following—despite increasing competition from big coffee corporations and a burgeoning local coffee scene.

Iced Toffee Nut Mocha at Coffee Times

Iced Toffee Nut Mocha at Coffee Times (Credit: Brielle Farmer)

Local love from Coffee Times

Cripps and the team aren’t letting those national coffee chains slow them down. Instead, they’re making an effort to partner with other Tucson businesses to stay competitive while supporting the community.

“We’re trying to create a community by featuring and working with local vendors,” said Cripps. “We want to work together; we’re trying not only to be successful ourselves but hopefully to help these other businesses become successful, too.”

Some of their recent partnerships and pop-up menu items include a prickly pear limeade from Prest, vegan baked goods from Penny’s Sweet Treats, and coffee from Black Standard Coffee.

Iced Toffee Nut Mocha at Coffee Times

Iced Toffee Nut Mocha at Coffee Times (Credit: Brielle Farmer)

Throughout the year, Coffee Times also serves fresh muffins from Village Bake House, bagels from a local wholesale bakery, and energy bars from Tucson-based R Bar.

Coffee for a cause

In addition brewing coffee, the drive-thru proudly partners with local charities and organizations by donating both money and coffee to different causes and events.

Each quarter, the community is invited to select an organization to support via the Coffee Times website. Then, Coffee Times matches 50 cents from every transaction and submits a donation on the first Monday of every month to the selected cause.

“Tucson has been really good to my family and me,” said Cripps. “So we want to give back. We have quarterly distributions that we do every three months, and when a charity comes to us, we donate coffee for events.”

“Our family and our extended family have always been really involved in the community,” he continued, “and so we’d like to carry on that tradition.”

Menu items to try

Coffee Times features both year-round menu items and seasonal specialties and has recently made an effort to provide healthier fare and vegan options in conjunction with the more indulgent coffee offerings. Alternative milk such as soy, oat, almond, and coconut are available for an upcharge of 75 cents.

Oat Milk Iced Latte at Coffee Times

Oat Milk Iced Latte at Coffee Times (Credit: Brielle Farmer)

Some of the more popular menu items, according to Cripps, include:

  • Prickly Pear Limeade from Prest – Available for a limited time, this pleasantly tart and sweet (but not too sweet) pink drink was the result of a partnership with Prest—a local coffee shop owned by a former Coffee Times employee.
  • Caramel Macchiato – A fan favorite, Cripps maintains that this classic espresso drink is “at least ten times better than the one from Starbucks.”
  • Protein Power Pak Smoothie – Cripps noted that this popular blended drink features high-quality ingredients like Ghirardelli’s cocoa, powdered peanut butter, whey protein, banana, and almond milk topped off with a jolt of caffeine from a single espresso shot.
  • Sriracha Hummus Wrap – Made fresh in-house, this vegan-friendly lunchtime favorite features sriracha, chickpeas, tahini, romaine, fresh garlic, cucumbers, and tomatoes.
Coffee Times Drive-thru

Coffee Times Drive-thru (Credit: Brielle Farmer)

Location and hours

Coffee Times is located at 3401 E. Speedway Blvd. Operating hours are 4:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.Monday to Saturday and from 5:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Sunday.

For more information, visit coffeetimestucson.com.

Dana Sullivan is a content writer and editor with a passion for food, fitness, and fashion. Originally from the East Coast, she's currently exploring/eating her way through Tucson one restaurant at a time.

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