In the far northeast of England, in the border region once known as Northumbria, on the north bank of the river Tyne, sits the city of Newcastle. It dates to the second century and the Roman occupation of Britain, and its history includes ship-building, wool-making, engineering and manufacturing. But Newcastle is probably immortal throughout the English-speaking world for appearing in the phrase, “to carry coals to Newcastle.” That came from the fact that coal was once so plentiful in the area you would be foolish to try to sell it there.
Our local modern equivalent might be selling coffee in Scottsdale.
Yes, we have a Scottsdale coffee shop
If you Google “coffee in Scottsdale,” you get twice as many hits as the same search of Flagstaff, three times Glendale, 30 percent more than Mesa and nearly as many as the entire city of Tucson.
Scottsdaleans like their coffee.
We’re not complaining. Not at all. After all, one of those Google hits is our own Sip Coffee and Beer House, just south of Old Town. We’re just saying that coffee in Scottsdale is at least as common as coal was in Newcastle. And it’s not as hard on the environment, and it’s a lot safer to find. (Thanks, Scottsdale PD!)
If you’re one of those Scottsdaleans — we don’t know if you like being called that or not, BTW, and we may have just made it up — or if you visit/drive through often enough to feel like you are, think about it: If you were in the area and just had to have a cuppa java, where would you go? And if that place was closed, what’s plan B? And C? Etc. You could probably plan a route all the way through town based just on coffee shops.
Scottsdale, it seems, runs on coffee.
But it’s not just Scottsdale
Of course, you could say New York City runs on coffee, too, and you’d be right. But it’s a different kind of “running on” than Scottsdale. For instance, think about one of those cop shows set in New York. There’s been some kind of crime on some street in Manhattan, and a hard-bitten, world-weary detective pulls up, gets out of a gray sedan, throws down his cigarette (these HBWW detectives are nearly always men), stands with his hands on his hips and surveys the scene. Another detective walks up from behind him, hands him a coffee, and says, “This one’s gonna be a [insert ominous noun].”
The coffee offered by Detective B has to be in an Anthora. That’s how you know they’re in New York. And he would have said “…[expletive ominous noun],” and Detective A never says “Thanks for the coffee, B,” and the crime was probably really grisly because that’s how you know they’re in New York.
OK, you’re right. That was judgy. But it’s just a show. (Although the Scottsdale PD would have said “Thank you.” Just sayin’.) Still, you know that scene, right?
Is that how you want your coffee?
Coffee in Scottsdale is different
In Scottsdale, coffee isn’t something people grab just to keep their pulse rate up as they as they rush off to
a crime scene somewhere else. Scottsdale coffee is something people take time to appreciate. Coffee in Scottsdale is like tea in Britain: Something you might offer to someone to be polite, not because you’re both dreading what comes next. Something you look forward to savoring at particular times of day. (Not like tea in Japan, though. At least, not like that tea ceremony. Beautiful, yes, but we don’t have that much time.)
One way you can tell that Scottsdale thinks differently about its coffee is to Google “Scottsdale coffee roasters.” We have a bunch of those, too. We’re not talking coals and Newcastle again, but there’s a bunch — the best of them, of course, being our friends at Cartel Coffee Lab. They take their time and do things right so, if you really only have time to stop in, grab and go, you know somebody wasn’t rushing your coffee before it got to you.
But for those times when you’re not in a rush, when you’re looking for a Scottsdale coffee shop at which you can sit and savor and chat with the native Scottsdaleans and smile at their lovely accents …. Wait, that was Newcastle again.
Anyway, when you have time to stop in, stop in. Because when you’re taking time to appreciate coffee just for what it is, you might also want to take time to appreciate a Breakfast Burrito or a Garage Breakfast Sandwich. We have those, too. And you won’t find those in Newcastle.