Drink coffee. Do good.

20121128-171520.jpgHaving been open for only 15 weeks, 8th Day Coffee & Culture has already rounded up a group of regulars with more coming in every week. The coffee shop is located in downtown Phoenix at Second and Roosevelt. Eighth day is a term that the owner and his wife came up with to signify their desire to create a “third place” for people, according to manager Bruce Thurman. A place of light, community and art. You can go to their website by clicking here: http://8thdaycoffee.com/.

“The picture of 8th Day is a type of space where people feel the community and feel a positive vibe,” Thurman said. “A lot of art or coffee spaces have a dark, nihilistic feel to them but our desire is to create a space that has a positive and artistic ambiance to it.”

20121128-165606.jpg

What’s the idea behind the coffee shop’s motto, “Drink Coffee. Do Good.”? According to their website, when you drink coffee at 8th Day, you are “directly engaging in justice and bringing hope to the Rwandan farmers.” Thurman went further into detail, discussing the history of the farmers’ struggle in Rwanda and said that it is a phrase they’ve borrowed from their coffee purveyor, Land of a Thousand Hills.

“Land of a Thousand Hills took fair trade to the next step,” he explained. “Fair trade means minimum wage and it’s a wonderful guarantee, but this company developed something called the ‘Do Good’ project in which they pay up to twice the fair trade price of coffee from farmers in Rwanda and now farmers in Haiti and Thailand too. They know the needs of those farmers, so they want to make sure their money is going towards something good.”

The cafe offers fair trade teas, iced lattes, cappuccinos, other coffee and frozen drinks, as well as pastries, toast and fresh fruit. They purchase all their food items from local companies and chefs.

“We have the world’s best coffee, and I say that unashamedly,” Thurman expressed. “We sell it the world’s best way too. Each cup of coffee that we sell is individually crafted and it may take a minute or two or three longer, but it’s worth it for the customer.”

20121128-165109.jpg

I purchased a delicious mocha latte served in a mason jar, and worked on homework at one of their various tables suited for customers who need a lot of space for their materials.

Speaking of customers, people of all ages come to check out 8th Day and enjoy their free WiFi, art gallery, conference room and live music shows.

“Our customer base started out with our friends who then told their friends about it,” Thurman said. “Then it was the neighbors, people walking their dog or going from their apartments to work and school. Now people are coming in because they’ve seen us open on First Friday or they know about our art gallery. Word of mouth has become prevalent.”

Although 8th Day’s usual hours are Monday through Friday, 7 am to 7 pm and Saturdays from 7 am to 2 pm, they are open later on First Fridays. They are also closed Sundays.

“First Friday is a demarcation mark for us,” Thurman explained. “That’s when we have local artists performing in the evening and it’s also the premiere for that month’s art show. We are typically open until 11 pm at that time but if the place it still hoppin’, we will stay open until later.”

The gallery that opens every First Friday showcases art that stands for 30 days. About 90% of fresh art comes in for every premiere.

“Art is man’s expression of truth,” Thurman said. “And we feel that it’s very important to give artists the opportunity to share their world view. So many people today are wanting to help a small business and want to help their neighbors, so we are just trying to do good for our local artists.”

20121128-170559.jpg

There are numerous pieces of artwork displayed around the cafe.

When asked about his favorite part of working at the cafe, Thurman said it all revolves around the people, from his staff to his customers.

“When you go into a store, quite often you get greeted with ‘what do you need’ and then ‘ok bye,'” Thurman expressed. “What we try to develop here is a staff that is concerned with the individual that walks through the door. We want to find out who that person is, not just what they want from the menu. We try to develop a relationship with them, which has been successful with the development of a lot of regulars that come to us. This has become their ‘third place.'”

To stay up to date with events and the coffee shop in general, you can follow 8th Day’s social media.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EighthDayCoffeeAndCulture?fref=ts
&
Twitter: https://twitter.com/eighthdaycoffee

Advertisements

Locals flock to Songbird Coffee & Tea House

20121119-145535.jpg

Songbird Coffee & Tea House, located on Roosevelt Row inside the MonOrchird.

Although it just opened four months ago inside the MonOrchid Building, Songbird Coffee & Tea House has proved to be a real hot spot in downtown Phoenix. My friends and I often pass the cafe located at 214 E. Roosevelt St. on First Friday or when we’re driving out of downtown; however, we never went inside until about a week ago. This probably goes without saying, but I loved it. I also got to sit down with one of the owners and learn all about the cafe on Monday.

Erin Carroll, 30, and her husband are the founders and managers of Songbird. Carroll had always dreamed of owning a cafe.

“I love coffee houses,” she explained. “I was in a job that I didn’t like and then my husband lost his job, so it made sense to start our own business. It took a lot of planning though, and it was over a couple of years in the works.”

Songbird features locally roasted coffee and pastries, tea from Tucson and a local burrito chef. They also offer a handful of vegan options and specialty drinks such as an espresso spritzer, which is kind of like a carbonated coffee drink. Their full menu can be found online at songbirdcoffeehouse.com.

20121119-145100.jpg

Songbird’s bright menu made of Scrabble letters adds to the arty vibe of the coffeehouse.

“We like having that connection to our products because we want to know who it’s coming from and have a relationship with them,” she said. “We also think supporting local products is a good thing to do.”

The coffee shop also strives to provide a comfortable atmosphere for its customers, according to Carroll who said she and her husband want people to stay and socialize, not just grab something and run out the door.

“We want to be a part of the community and offer a space for somebody to just come and get some work done or meet up with people over a cup of coffee,” she added.

The variety of free events they host and the art they showcase helps Songbird integrate itself into the community and is perfectly positioned on Roosevelt Row Arts District.

“We’ve done poetry readings, acoustic shows, storytelling and we even had a live rock concert last weekend,” she said.

“We want to give artists a place to show off their work and it’s nice to have rotating art in here,” Carroll said about the art on the wall that’s up for sale. “I think it’s important to keep art alive in the community because it gives people a purpose. And it’s a good way to connect to people.”

20121119-145110.jpg

One of the walls of the coffeehouse dedicated to showcasing and selling local artists’ work.

Since they are closed on Sundays and their hours are usually from 7 am to 7 pm, the majority of Songbird’s customers are young professionals and independent workers, but they are hoping to appeal to a wider range of people as well.

“There are a lot of really good cafes downtown, but what sets us apart is the relationships that we build with people since we’re so small,” Carroll said. “We also offer free Wi-Fi and would love for more students to come visit.”

Sophomore Regina Fanty, a student at Arizona State University, saw the cafe’s sign while they were still working on it and was intrigued by it, so she made sure to stop by once they opened.

“I love a good coffee shop,” Fanty explained. “It’s very quaint, and I love all the colors and the set up.”

Although there are many things that Fanty says attracted her to the cafe, she is a big fan of the “eclectic collection of books they have lining the walls for customers to read” and the menu made out of scrabble letters.

20121119-145524.jpg

Two shots of the cafe’s bookcase, featuring a tribute to ASU. Go Sun Devils!

“I would definitely recommend it to other college kids,” she said. “Their coffee was delicious, it was also relatively quiet and easy to focus.”

While she hasn’t attended one of their events yet, she “most certainly” would like to go to one in the future. Fanty also expressed her appreciation for the art on the wall, saying she loves discovering new artists and Songbird is “a great place to do so.”

In order to better connect with people, Songbird is very active on Twitter and Facebook as well. They constantly post information about upcoming events and tons of discounts, like 75 cents off a drink or a dollar off burritos.

“I had no idea they posted deals to their Twitter,” Fanty said. “I am going to follow them right this second!”
20121119-144938.jpg

Songbird offers a quaint environment for studying, conversing, admiring art or just purchasing a great cup of coffee and pastry.