Reviewer(s): Aireona (the sugar-lover)
Brand: Copper Star has a house chai!
Flavor: You can’t get this chai anywhere else, because the lovely people at Copper Star have a house chai! Even as much as I love Maya, there is something wonderful and unbeatable about a chai that you can’t get anywhere else. Luckily for me, since I love the sweet, fakey chai that’s all over the US, this is a nice sugary latte. But Copper Star’s tea has a very nice balance of spice to help counteract the sweetness. While not quite as spicy as Maya, I really enjoy the smooth flavor of this chai, and on top of it, I think it has a complex of spices that really make it interesting and enjoyable.
Location: 4220 7th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85013
WIFI: Free wifi provided!
Atmosphere: Copper Star Coffee is situated in a repurposed gas station. I think this is pretty awesome, because there are few mundane things more sad than an abandoned building. The inside of their shop has a rustic warehouse feel, with original art work, and a few long tables for work. There is also a nice patio to enjoy the awesome Arizona weather in the spring and fall. Parking is a bit scarce, but there is a little dirt lot behind the psychic that the coffee shop shares with them. There is also street parking that you might be able to snake into. No worries if there aren’t any spots though, they have a sweet drive through so that you can enjoy their rendition of chai at home or on the road.
The Best of Copper Star
Staff: The people at Copper Star are wonderful. They can get pretty busy there. This is quite the popular spot, but they work as fast as they can crafting your delicious drinks. Busy or not, they are friendly, and seem very genuine to me. This isn’t an equation for friendly baristas that we see at Dutch Bros and Starbucks. These are cool people at a legitimately unique spot in our little suburban expanse.
Pros: Copper Star is one of the few places with original chai tea in Phoenix. I love visiting for the taste I can’t get anywhere else. On top of that, they also have a great assortment of pastries (cupcakes, pie, lemon squares and the like) and lunch food. I have yet to try their lunch food due to my schedule, but I love their desserts.
Cons: There is a lack of parking that I think could be a problem at times. The coffee shop is also a little cramped and a bit loud when it is busy. I find it a little distracting as a place to work, but I like hanging out with friends there.
The Travel! (In a Book)
Volcano in Paradise by Phil Davison is more of a journalistic take on the recent history of the years of eruptions from the Soufrière Hills volcano. For people who haven’t yet visited Montserrat, this is a comprehensive (if removed) look at what happened, and how various leaders in the community tried to deal with an incomprehensible tragedy of nature’s hand.
Volcano in Paradise tells the historic story of the Soufrière Hills eruptions and the waves of loss that the volcano’s continued activities have had on the community of Montserrat. It begins by describing the island as it once was, before the volcano awoke, and it gives readers a glimpse at the place and the lives connected to Montserrat before. Then, following the stories of community and governmental leaders, it very adeptly melds personal narratives with the analytic storytelling of a journalist. Readers follow along as first one pyroclastic flow and then another belch out from the mountain- in places no one but volcanic experts would have expected. Initially, there is hope that the Earth will quiet down, and people who evacuated from the island’s capital in 1995 and the many villages of the south could return home. But as time drags on, the mountain wears on everything. It doesn’t quiet down. It just slowly consumes more and more- taking beautiful Plymouth, the little gems of St. Patricks and Harris, the airport, the forests, the plants and animals… and even friends and family that everyone on the island loved and knew. It’s a heartbreaking story, but one which connects the plight of Montserrat with the vast network of volcanoes around the world which both threaten as amaze us, and create even as they destroy.
With many points of views and details from various experts, decision-makers, scientists, and local residents, I found this book to be the most elucidating of the three books that I have read on Montserrat so far, but not in the personal way that Volcano and Through My Lens both do. While there was a focus on a few key players, none of them were telling the story, and so, while there were very emotional moments in the book, overall it had a more clinical feel. That being said, it was never boring. And if I didn’t know anything at all about Montserrat, this would be the best of the three books to introduce me to the history, because it starts from the beginning and walks through the chaos- tracking what seemed to be the most major events along the way. I also had to appreciate the tidbits of science and discussion about volcanoes elsewhere in the world; it puts Montserrat’s struggle into perspective, at times making you wonder about the conical mountains closer to home. For anyone with a love of history and/or natural disasters, I would highly suggest this read, it’s well written, fascinating, and just generally informative.