Monday, August 20, 2018

Talking Irons Coffee Saloon

Subject: Talking Irons Coffee Saloon
Location: Pearce, AZ
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

While most excellent coffeehouses reside in cities and heavily-populated regions, occasionally there exists outstanding coffee a little off the beaten path. I found myself in one such instance as I was driving through Arizona, from the storied Tombstone streets to the old mining boomtown of Pearce. Heading northeast, my journey began typically enough on a rural road through the desert, until I found myself being directed by Google Maps onto a road called Ghost Town Trail through Dead Mexican Canyon. After making the turn I soon realized the word "trail" was not just a linguistic flourish, as the empty dirt road seemed better fit for a wagon (or at least a four-wheel drive truck) than my tiny sedan. Nonetheless, I persisted for a solid half hour, watching torrential storms a mile to the right and every mile or so, a road sign warning that the trail floods heavily in rain.

Finally, after what seemed like an epoch, I made it to the sister towns of Pearce and Sunsites. There wasn't much in the area except old Pearce buildings, a newer (1960s) housing development and a small boardwalk of stores that looked like an Old West strip mall. Stopping at the shops, my map told me there was a coffee saloon in town, a prospect that initially didn't really raise my hopes as I pictured a cafe with a tired coffee maker and toaster oven. My first visual of the saloon exterior did not raise my expectations either: the lackluster, one-story shack possessed no visible markings, only a distant blackboard saying "Coffee, Sandwich, etc. etc."

But much like an unassuming back alley bequeaths a beautiful speakeasy, things turned drastically for the better when I opened the front door. Inside I found a delightfully cozy interior, complete with vibrant wallpaper, great lighting, upcycled shiplap and a bustling back bar. I approached the bar and found they had extremely enticing offerings, with Exo Roast Co out of Tucson and a variety of food options that both looked and smelled delicious.

Still needing liquid proof that I was not walking through a mirage, I ordered an espresso and a pour over of Exo's Nicaragua Nueva Segovia Finca Los Pinos. The espresso, pulled short/medium with brown crema, smacked of lemon, fresh corn, raspberry, chocolate, ginger, cascara and a little arugula, delivering a bright and superbly delicious infusion. The pour over also proved tasty, with notes of milk, apple, corn, cola, raw sugar, biscuits and a little bran in a smooth, medium body.

After polishing off my drinks, I stayed a good deal longer, not wanting to leave this delightful desert flower. I spent my time chatting with the baristas/owners and other locals, all the while snacking on some of the other menu items, including an excellent ricotta berry scone and one of the best gazpachos I've slurped in awhile. Needless to say, if you're anywhere near Sunsites and Pearce, you absolutely need to stop into the Talking Irons Coffee Saloon for one of the most uniquely amazing coffee experiences America has to offer, though you do not need to take Ghost Town Trail to get there.

These wonderful folks made this visit possible in part. Make sure to check them out!

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