There are very few pleasures that rival finding the perfect coffee shop—whether that’s to read, write, convene with pals, or just sip on your favorite order, finding your coffee spot is one of life’s small-but-mighty pleasures. But in my experience, despite having a favorite go-to coffee stop, the place where I want to crack open a new book or thumb through some well-worn pages changes depending on my mood. And you know what, guys? That is okay. So for those of you who are itching to find new spots to read your favorite book, I’ve put together a comprehensive list of the 5 most readable coffee shops in the East Valley. Oh, and don’t worry; I’ve personally tested them all. What can I say? It’s just part of the job.
King Coffee, Tempe, AZ. Located just off of Mill Avenue and University, King Coffee is the perfect spot for those who want to stay close to ASU. Complete with cozy study nooks and tons of seating, you’ll feel right at home as soon as you walk through the bright orange door. And did I mention the coffee? Phe-nom-e-nal. Positively. While everything there is so (so) good, I personally recommend their almond milk lattes. Open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, King Coffee is a must-try; I guarantee it’ll become a household name.
Sozo Coffeehouse, Chandler, AZ. With cozy couches, table seating, crazy-good-coffee, and live music/events scattered throughout the week, Sozo Coffeehouse is an absolute gem of a coffee shop in the Valley. Whether you’re looking to curl up in an armchair with an Agatha Christie detective novel or gather your book club together, Sozo is a most quiet, calming, and inspiring environment. Open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m.-10 p.m., it’s the perfect spot for connecting with a good read or with good friends. You can check out their calendar here for a list of their upcoming events that support local artists.
Royal Coffee Bar, Tempe, AZ. Royal Coffee Bar packs a powerful punch in a bite-sized space. Located just off of ASU’s Tempe campus, it’s a great place to grab a dirty chai between classes while you read those textbooks. Or fun books. Or both, because life is all about balance. Geared towards busy college students, there are plenty of outlets along the coffee bar and even outdoor seating for when the weather isn’t sweltering. They serve their signature European style coffee from 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m.-noon on Saturdays. Family owned and absolutely charming, Royal Coffee Bar will make for an unforgettable coffee experience.
Cartel Coffee Lab, Tempe, AZ. Boasting some truly industrial (and good) vibes, Cartel Coffee Lab’s Tempe location is a mere 10 minute walk from ASU’s campus. Their signature coffee roast delivers a bitter and smooth flavor, making their drinks a lively addition to any current read you bring along. Deceivingly small at first, Cartel’s versatile seating wraps around behind their coffee bar with tables, benches, and just about everything in between. With an effortlessly cool atmosphere, all of you bookworms will feel right at home turning on your headphones and diving headfirst into a good book. Open daily from 7 a.m.-10 p.m., Cartel will become your new favorite hangout.
Black Rock Coffee Bar, AZ. Clocking in at multiple locations around the valley (my personal favorite being Power and Ray!), Black Rock Coffee Bar strikes the perfect balance between edgy and insanely inviting. With strong and smooth coffee that is roasted in-house, everything from their Americanos to their signature Caramel Truffle is truly magnificent. Not only that, but each location offers a great amount of seating at both gorgeous wood tables or comfy leather chairs and couches. Harboring down-to-earth employees and killer playlists, Black Rock is the perfect place to read, study, or make new friends. Each location is open 5 a.m.-9 p.m., so, whether you’re an early riser or an up-all-nighter, Black Rock will never disappoint.