Spce Coffee, a cafe near downtown Phoenix, serves up great strawberry chai

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With coffee served in a dreamy atmosphere of lavender, light pinks and blue hues, spiced coffee is his own special unicorn.

The cafe originated in a mall on McDowell Road near 18th Street, nestled between an Ethiopian restaurant and a nightclub. It exudes an artsy LA vibe with a bright, airy space and an inventive menu with drinks including a rose petal vanilla oat milk latte and a dark sugar smoked caramel latte.

But of all the possibilities served at the charming cafe, the Strawberry Chai stands out. Homemade strawberry syrup is blended with black tea, blended with oat milk, and served over ice with a cute pink heart-shaped straw.

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Spice up your order with a precisely dosed espresso.

Natasha Yee

It brings back memories of sipping on that little carton of strawberry milk from elementary school, only better. Hints of black tea and chai cut through the sweetness and the oat milk lends creamy goodness without being too heavy for a summer day. Pro tip: If you’re worried about the lack of buzz in this tea drink, order an espresso on the side.

Spce, despite its artistic ambitions and adventurous refreshments, had humble beginnings. It all started as a coffee cart serving brews from a groovy tent at the Gilbert Farmers Market in June 2020.

The tent, filled with a disco ball, bright pink crates and a scale to measure the precise dosage of espresso, gained traction.

In May 2021, Spce moved the wooden coffee cart to an indoor space across from the Farmer’s Market framed by pink shutters and a sign that read “Good things are coming.” A white sign with a black grid indicated the drinks menu, all in pink except for the green lettering for the matcha latte.

But Spce has also quickly outgrown the small indoor cafe. In early December 2021, the Phoenix location and its bright pink door greeted customers with speckled white and black counters and wooden tables and stools. Spce still runs the Saturday coffee cart at the Gilbert Farmers Market, so East Valley folks can always get their posh coffee fix.

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Spce Coffee’s pink door greets customers on McDowell Road.

Natasha Yee

A retail section at one end of the Phoenix store sells t-shirts, stickers, tea kettles and, of course, pink heart-shaped straws. In the cafe-bar, a pristine white La Marzocco espresso machine stands in front of a pink-tiled wall with matching ceramic cups. Blue and pink lanterns hang overhead, adorning the space with a more dreamlike vibe, while a tiny white and gold astronaut stands next to the register.

“We push the boundaries of physical coffee by stepping outside the four walls of a building and delivering a proper coffee experience that meets people where they are,” reads Spce Coffee’s website, and our visit was definitely an experience.

Spce sells cinnamon rolls from Chandler Sugarloaf Lane Bakery and fruit packets from Suss Pastries. The cafe also hosts community events like “Spce at Night,” a ramen, boba, and matcha event with plenty of Instagrammable opportunities. And popular drinks like Strawberry Chai, Classic Oaty, a vanilla oat milk latte, and Rosie Girl, the aforementioned rose petal-infused latte, are sometimes offered in glass bottles via “Spce 2. Go”.

Head to Spce Coffee to arrive in another galaxy, one with fantastic colors and fancy drinks, namely Strawberry Chai. And if for no other reason, do it for the gram.

spiced coffee

1736 McDowell Road East
www.spce.coffee
Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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