One of our Sip team members — let’s call them “Buzz” — told us a while back, “Last night I googled ‘coffee AZ.’ Guess what I found out.”
Actually the first thing we tried to guess was why Buzz felt the need to be googling “coffee AZ” to begin with. But we like our team members to be inquisitive types, always seeking, always learning. So long as it’s not on the clock. Also, we know that this particular team member has a fondness for multiple espresso shots, even late at night, which is how they earned the name “Buzz.” (It’s OK, though. Buzz always designates a sleeper.)
It turns out, Buzz was trying to find out how many coffee shops there are in this wonderful state number 48. And they might have given us the answer, but things got busy, and then there was a bit of a lull between the morning rush and lunch and the next time we saw Buzz was on the floor of the storeroom, leaning back on a bag of freshly roasted Banco Gotete and snoring.
But now we were curious, also being the inquisitive, always seeking etc. types. And we knew if we were going to get an answer we would need to do a little googlevestigating ourselves.
“Coffee AZ” + enter = Wow
Unless there really are 604 million coffee shops in Arizona, “coffee AZ” apparently isn’t the right keyword string to be searching. We probably could have left Buzz in the store all night with a laptop and the keys to the La Pavoni and set them to work looking through all those search results and counting the good hits, but first we thought we might try tightening up those parameters a bit. So we typed, “How many coffee shops in Arizona?” Clever, huh?
166 million hits.
While it does seem these days that anybody with a couple of pour-overs and a second-hand burr grinder thinks they’re ready to order some custom cup sleeves and hang an “Open” sign on the door, 166M still seemed a mite high. But a little ways down on page 1 we ran across a link that reminded us of something helpful and really interesting:
“Arizona Coffee” isn’t the same as “coffee AZ”
Chris Tingom lives in Scottsdale, and exists … somewhere between Buzz and the rest of us at Sip. He loves coffee. He’s inquisitive and all that, but he keeps a tight enough leash on his curiosity, and his cravings, to avoid getting stuck in the world wide web with fingers shaking too bad to type. Instead, in 2005 he created a website to help others with a java jones: Arizona Coffee.
Now, Chris doesn’t claim he has every coffee shop and espresso bar you would expect to find if you searched “coffee AZ.” Instead, he says, “This site documents the best places to get coffee in Phoenix and all around the state of Arizona.” And how many of those phantom 166 million does Chris consider the best?
Sip is on there — natch — both locations, the House and the Garage. Also there are our wonderful friends at our wonderful roastery, Cartel, because Chris also recommends the best places to find your beans if you’d rather DIY.
One thing Chris doesn’t offer is rankings. At least, not yet. He says, “I’d like to come up with something to award prizes to certain coffee houses for ‘Best’ in a category.” But he probably doesn’t have time. He’s busy enough visiting a lot of us (even during the pandemic), and he’s also become kind-of an on-call authority, with appearances in or on The Arizona Republic, Phoenix New Times, Barista Magazine, The Scottsdale Times, Images AZ magazine, Phoenix Magazine, and KFYI radio.
A nice place to visit
And that’s why we like Chris’ site. It’s not so much about opinion, though he certainly has some, and he’ll tell you what he likes and what he doesn’t. (“Too much foam!”) But he knows coffee is about taste, and everybody’s is different. So what he’s created is what we like to think of as the online version of our favorite things about Sip: It’s a place for people to come together around their love of coffee, and share.
(Of course, we also have beer, cocktails and food, Chris. Come back anytime you need something else to blog about!)