For most people, Arizona conjures up images of desert, cowboys, and cacti. With such a rugged heritage, it is little wonder the lion’s share of coffee shops here prefer to roast their own. But a strong micro-roaster scene also leaves room for committed cafes hawking out-of-state wares, and Giant Coffee in central Phoenix is standing tall in that gap.
Giant serves coffee from acclaimed San Francisco-based roaster Four Barrel. Long time readers of this blog know we’re big fans of Four Barrel’s approach to sourcing and roasting coffee, and I was pleased to see Giant was serving it with care and precision. I ordered a double espresso, but was informed by the barista that Giant doesn’t split shots so a double is actually a quadruple. After I changed my order to a single, I grabbed a seat at one of the long communal tables while the barista made sure the the espresso was dialed in.
Personally, I’m ready for the ristretto craze to die a swift death, but my shot of Friendo Blendo espresso was enjoyable. It had a nice balance of sweetness, acidity, and body. I have to admit, if every ristretto tasted like this one, I probably wouldn’t dislike them so much.
Giant Coffee Confirms Autodrip Suspicions
The highlight of my visit to Giant was definitely the autodrip: Guatemala, Los Canas Caturra brewed on Fetco. Caturra varieties are known for their vibrant acidity and this cup was no exception. A heavy, syrupy sweetness gave way to juicy notes of melon and berries as the cup cooled. By the time it reached room temperature it was chuggable. The experience confirmed for me that autodrip can be just as a delicious as a pour-over, it all hinges on execution.
The Giant Verdict
In all, Giant Coffee is a welcome addition to the Phoenix area’s coffee scene. Giant is conveniently located near The Phoenix Art Museum and the McDowell/Central light rail stop. Fashionistas will enjoy browsing the boutique that shares a space in Giant’s building. Foodies will be glad to know some of the city’s best tacos are near-by too.