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  • Writer's picturePenny Hieb

Union Coffee Co

When I first profiled Union Coffee Co for The Phoenix Bean in 2018, the Peoria area coffee shop was barely a year into operation and already receiving plenty of accolades in the local press. An outlier on the west side, it had all the measures of a true artisanal third wave coffee destination: precise scales, beautiful brewing equipment, its own self contained roastery, and best of all, a passionate staff of dedicated baristas. I was new to the cafe, but it instantly won me over with its flavorful roasts and welcoming atmosphere.

Founded in 2017 with the mission of connecting people "with good coffee and good company", Union Coffee has certainly lived up to its desire to foster community in its spacious industrial chic inspired cafe. There are plenty of tables where students hunch over laptops, friends catch up over a cup of their favorite brew, and a large collaborative space for group think and projects. The cafe's aesthetic is spare, the walls are gallergy white, save for a recent mural depicting saguaro cacti, jagged mountains, and a bold rising sun emblazoned with the Union logo. Between the colorfully painted mountains is a highway of coffee leading to an awaiting coffee cup. There is exposed duct work and pendant lights overhead. The beautiful coffee bar is framed by white subway tile. The shop sells handsomely designed bags of its freshly roasted coffee, Union Coffee mugs, and an assortment of Arizona centric merchandise.

Having the great fortune of working nearby, I have now become one of the shop's "regulars" and frequent it often. I recently stopped in to try their Guatemalan pour over, a roast replete with crisp notes of orange, chocolate, and honey. Levi, one of the shop's long serving baristas, precisely measured the freshly ground coffee and placed a carafe and stainless steel dripper onto a scale. He then carefully saturated the grounds in slow, concentric circles over the course of several minutes. The resulting cup was lively and full of many subtle nuances. A barista for about two and a half years, Levi left a job at the Costco bakery after some friends introduced him to coffee that, as he put it, "blew his mind". He then started making craft coffee recipes at home. Shortly after, he sought out work as a full time barista.

It is not just proximity that makes Union Coffee such an amazing place to return to at least once every week: it is the devoted baristas and high quality, fresh roasted coffee that keep me coming back time and time again. If you are looking for a delicious pour over, latte, or some great coffee education, stop by Union Coffee at 6750 W. Thunderbird Rd. The friendly and welcoming staff will be happy to share the magic with you!

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