The distance between Finland and Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula is nearly 6,000 miles, and neither place is particularly close to Phoenix. In terms of culture and climate, the three locations are also about as different as possible. That doesn’t stop them all from coming together in the Monorchid building at the north end of downtown Phoenix. Kahvi, a new coffee house named for the Finnish word for “coffee”, brings together a Nordic concept of cafe culture; a tropical theme associated with the beaches of Tulum, Mexico; and the steady development of Roosevelt Row.
Kahvi is one of several new businesses to open since Monorchid changed ownership a few years ago. It replaces a previous coffee bar tenant in this spot three blocks east of the Roosevelt/Central light rail station. Bike racks are found outside the apartment entrance immediately to the east. While having coffee inside Monorchid is not new, the way in which Kahvi expands to fill the space does represent a transformation. The coffee house now fills much of the open space formerly used as a warehouse and more recently as a gallery.
A counter with an overhead drink menu greets customers as they enter from Roosevelt. Pastry is on display, and a small printed menu is visible on days when the complete selection of food is available, currently Wednesday through Sunday. There is some seating between the counter and the window facing the street; however, far more seating is found in the building’s interior. A small bar occupies the center of the room and tables extend back into the space behind. Hanging plants, colorful tile, and natural wood create the look of Marimekko meets Mexico.
Kahvi’s coffee theme features two daily brews, one a light roast from Ethiopia and other a darker coffee from Central America. These are offered hot or iced alongside classic espresso drinks and a nitro cold brew. Signature coffee drinks include an espresso tonic and a Nitro Fashioned, made with smooth nitrogen-infused coffee, orange bitters, and agave syrup. Tea offerings incorporate classics like Earl Grey, as well as green and black iced teas, chai, and matcha latte. Sparkling waters and fruity sodas extend the beverage offerings into decaffeinated territory.
Seasonal drinks featured on a sign near the counter have recently emphasized winter holiday flavors with creations incorporating cinnamon, maple, and pecan flavors. Pastry selections to accompany the coffee and tea drinks routinely include raspberry oat bars and miniature hazelnut cakes with an indulgent layer of Nutella on top. Cookies, muffins, croissants, scones, and bagels add variety to the baked goods displayed under glass domes at the counter. Croissants and baguettes are both offered in simple “Le Parisien” formats with ham and cheese.
More complex sandwiches are available when the kitchen is staffed. A basic grilled cheese on Noble bread is augmented with caramelized onions and coarse mustard and is accessorized with a cup of tomato basil soup. Another meatless option is an Italian-themed sandwich with pesto, mozzarella, and sliced tomato. A tuna melt is served on multigrain bread with walnuts and is accompanied by a small, refreshing cucumber salad. Kahvi’s avocado toast is enlivened with cotija cheese, red onion, diced tomato, and sliced radishes with the option to add an egg.
It took multiple tries to be able to sample the chicken couscous salad due to the Israeli pasta pearls frequently being out of stock, but the dish is worthwhile when available. A big bowl is filled with pulled chicken, Israeli couscous, walnuts, peppers, onion, citrus, and greens. The beet and goat cheese salad is equally hearty with copious chopped beets, crumbles of goat cheese, and abundant walnuts topped with a dressing that is both tangy and slightly sweet. A vegetarian protein bowl incorporates quinoa, brown rice, black beans, corn, and an egg.
In addition to its coffee, Kahvi has a liquor license. Since the shop is under the same ownership as the adjacent Pedal Haus, which is visible through the back windows, that brewery’s lineup is on tap. There is also a selection of wine by the glass or bottle and a small array of cocktails with some original creations like the Raspberry Marrita, a take on the margarita with the addition of lemonade with a spicy coating of Tajin seasoning on the rim of the glass. Kahvi may have influences from Finland, Mexico, and myriad countries, but it seems at home on Roosevelt Row.
214 E. Roosevelt St., Phoenix AZ 85004