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  • Penny Hieb

Cultivate Coffee

In the thriving coffee metropolis of Phoenix, it is easy to focus one's zest for the perfect cup on the central neighborhoods of Melrose, Coronado, or Roosevelt Row. Often overlooked, but not to be disregarded, is the well established and quirky enclave of Sunnyslope. Once the destination of health seekers recovering from tuberculosis and pneumonia, Sunnyslope is now a diverse socioeconomic neighborhood ripe with local small businesses and creative endeavors. Among the most notable of the Sunnyslope coffee offerings is Cultivate Coffee at 505 W. Dunlap Ave, Suite E.

Tucked into a low slung 1960's era brick shopping strip, Cultivate Coffee neighbors an alteration shop, a unisex barber shop, and a Mexican restaurant. The outside window is emblazoned with the words "coffee, culture, community." And that is exactly what the founders, Chris and Bethany Priebe, intended their coffee shop to embody in a community where many live on the economic edge. Cultivate Coffee is run as a local non profit, proceeds from the cafe benefit disadvantaged youth such as recent refugees and those in the foster care system.

Open since August 2019, Cultivate Coffee proprietor, Chris Priebe, roasts the shop's coffee within their four walls. The beans are sourced from small farms in Brazil, Ethiopia, Columbia, and Mexico. Among the menu offerings are the classic drip coffee, the pour over, and a very luscious latte, which I sampled today. The shop is also known for its KentuckyJoe cold brew, which is infused with beans soaked in brown sugar and bourbon. The accompanying noshes include gluten free baked goods and scrumptious looking chocolate chip cookies.

The aesthetic of Cultivate Coffee is cozy and inviting. Teal, orange, and white painted brick adorn the walls inside. There is an homage to the neighborhood behind the coffee bar: a large black and white photograph featuring the "S" logo on the nearby mountainside. The shop promotes local crafters and artists. on the spare walls hang prints of western landscapes done by an artist identified as "Elyse". A metal cart features handmade soaps and wooden figures available for purchase. A cheerful corner of the cafe offers a bright blue chesterfield sofa, a coffee table, and a well worn leather armchair. A perfect place to enjoy a bold espresso and some lively conversation. There are tables and work spaces equipped with Wifi for study, collaboration, and productive meetings. While I was there, social workers sat together and planned future interventions for at risk youth.

The Sunnyslope coffee scene is coming into its own and will continue to grow and thrive in the 2020's. It's time to check it out now. Head out first to this socially responsible cafe and impeccably astute roaster, you will not be disappointed.

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