Where Chiltepín Kisses the Toddy, with Street Art Along the Way
One of the best iced coffee drinks you will ever have is waiting for you at Exo. This Tucson micro-roastery has been voted as runner-up for best local coffee roaster in this desert city... but as you indulge in caffeination here, you'll agree that Exo plays second-fiddle to none.
In southern Arizona, it makes sense to take time to craft something iced for coffee aficionados, and the Chiltepín Toddy here is a revelation. A "toddy" is made from a slow, cold method that results in a low-acid brew. Add to this the complexity of Mexican chocolate, and then a surprising dash of chiltepín — the "mother" of all chile peppers that still grows wild in the highlands of Sonora, just across the border in Mexico. (It is thought to be the original species from which all other hot peppers have been derived.) The chile adds just enough of a warm tingle as it refreshes, and I dare you to find another iced-coffee that can cool you off with such sweet heat.
Exo is a few blocks north of Tucson's renascent downtown restaurant district. You'll pass by some vibrant street art as you walk up Sixth Avenue. The public mural tradition is strong here.
And in case you're wondering "why EXO?" The name comes from the "exothermic" chemical reaction that occurs during the roasting of these organic, shade-grown beans...which, while you sip, will probably be taking place in the vintage German gas-powered roaster that presides over the brick-and-wood space...
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Stellar Coffee at Stella in Tucson
Stella Java, located at Mercado San Agustin, is committed to its craft, and features locally roasted coffees from EXO Roast Company, with beans sourced from small, shade-grown farms. The vibe is hip and relaxed, so you can chill out while feeling good about your coffee's origins.