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Tucson has a thriving local coffee culture supported by a talented group of enthusiastic roasters. Presta Coffee is a relative newcomer to the scene, having started as a coffee cart called Stella Java in the lobby of a local hospital. From there, Presta moved to a more permanent setup in the open air market Mercado San Augustin. As owner Curtis Zimmerman became more involved in the coffee community, he began roasting his own beans and opened a minimalistic yet impressive coffee shop on First Ave.
Though Presta is easily overlooked as it sits back from the street and is identifiable only by the wooden sandwich board stationed outside, it is well worth a visit. After entering through a small courtyard, the cool interior space comes into focus. Big windows, steel beams, wood-accented walls, a big garage door, and metal fencing give the shop an industrial farmhouse flair. The owner's interest in cycling is obvious throughout, with bikes and art depicting bicyclists lining the walls.
Communal tables plus smaller areas mean there are seating options for solo workers as well as groups for larger social gatherings. Drinks are served in hefty stoneware mugs. The roaster that was integral to making the drink in your hand sits in the corner, waiting for Mondays when the shop closes to roast Presta's full-flavored coffee beans.
Friendly service, a laid back vibe, and variety of music coming from the built-in turntable all make Presta Coffee a great place to enjoy a great cup of java. All beans are roasted on premises and bagged by hand. Coffee cupping, where customers can sample coffees in a process similar to a wine tasting, happens frequently with times announced through social media. To get the best shot here, juxtapose the jute bags surrounding the cobalt blue roaster, frame the sleek racing bikes against the wood walls, or do an "outside-looking in" photo from the patio or garage door.
Cover photo credit: prestacoffee via Instagram.