Peixoto Coffee: Crop-to-Cup in Chandler, AZ
Posted on February 27, 2017 11:00 AM
There’s a reason you don’t hear much about crop-to-cup coffee shops, according to Julia Peixoto Peters—only a handful exist in the United States, and Peixoto Coffee in Downtown Chandler is one of them. Not only does Peixoto Coffee, pronounced “Pay-sho-tow,” roast and brew its own beans but it sources them directly from the farm, something very few coffee shops are able to do.
“Some people say they are crop-to-cup, but they only do two of the three things—source, roast, brew,” she explains. “We’re one of the few that does all three.”
Peters admits she does have a bit of an advantage, though—the beans come from her family farm in Brazil.
“Coffee has been in my family for the last four generations, at least 150 years,” she says, adding it almost ended with her parents, who wanted her and her siblings to pursue well-paying, professional jobs. After watching her parents struggle with the fluctuations in the coffee market, it didn’t take much convincing.
She accepted a scholarship to study law at the University of Arizona in Tucson, graduated in 2002, and went to work as an attorney for DHL in Phoenix, always intending to return to Brazil at some point to practice there. Then, she met and married Jeff Peters, and returning was out of the question, especially after they had two children.
Occasionally, her thoughts turned to the family farm, though. She realized unless she acted, the Peixoto legacy was in jeopardy after her father retired because her siblings weren’t interested. Even so, she had no definitive plans to get involved with the family business until her grandfather died. Then, she says she had her “ah-ha” moment.
Spurred into action, she and Jeff began acting as distributors of the family’s coffee beans, selling them green to roasters in the United States. But, they quickly realized it didn’t make financial sense to just distribute the beans. Jeff had already been experimenting with roasting the beans they brought home from family visits to Brazil. Why not roast the beans themselves first, then distribute them?
From that point, it only seemed natural to open their own coffee shop. Peixoto Coffee served its first cup in January 2015.
“The more we looked into it, the more we were sucked into the whole process of crop to cup,” she says.
Look closely when you visit, and you’ll find reminders of the family farm and crop-to-cup concept throughout the shop. Hanging above rustic shelves of bagged coffee for purchase near the entrance, a sign reads, in part, “Our Peixoto coffee is grown with over 100 years of family tradition.” On the opposite wall, a white outline of North and South Americas is painted on bricks; small placards reading “crop” and “cup” represent the location of the family farm and the coffee shop.
The vibe here also reflects life on the Peixoto farm. Although people do order coffee to go, most choose to linger, spending time with family and friends at tables inside the coffee shop or on the patio just as the Peixoto family gathers with loved ones over fresh cups on the farm.
“It took me many years to realize what we had in Brazil was very special,” Peters says. Behind her, business associates hash out ideas, moms with strollers exchange parenting tips, and a couple on a date hold hands in the coffee shop.
Whether at the family farm in Brazil or Peixoto Coffee in Chandler, coffee brings people to the table. The coffee served matters, though. Peters grew up drinking a brew made simply from hot water poured over the ground beans without sugar. When she came to Tucson to study, she was astonished by how Americans drank their coffee—loaded with artificially flavors, sweetened to dessert intensity, and often topped with a thick cap of whipped cream.
Instead, Peixoto Coffee serves coffee-forward drinks, so while you can still get a cappuccino or latte, you won’t find iced caramel macchiatos or white chocolate mochas on the menu. That’s not to say Peters doesn’t like to get creative. Peixoto Coffee’s seasonal menu includes options such as Cascara Cider, a spiced dried coffee cherry tea with fruit juices, and an Espresso Tonic, a shot of expresso poured over the house-made tonic.
The coffee shop was also the first in the Valley to offer nitro coffee, fresh brew dispensed from a tap like a beer. With its rich, creamy mouthfeel, it’s reminiscent of a Guinness beer but without the hops or alcohol.
Everything at Peixoto is made from scratch and sourced locally, Peters says. The half and half comes from a local dairy, and they make their own syrups, such as vanilla and toasted coconut, instead of using the bottled stuff you find behind the counter at other shops. And, of course, the coffee beans are roasted in house.
The concept of local and fresh carries over to the food they serve. All baked goods are brought in daily from local providers, including Phoenix Public Market, Welcome Chicken + Donuts, La Dolce Vita Biscotti, Bubby Goober’s Baked Goods, and Tracy Dempsey Originals. What doesn’t sell is removed from the case at the end of the day—Peixoto Coffee never holds product to resell the next day, and it never freezes leftovers to sell later.
On Sunday mornings, from 8 a.m. until noon, pop-ups in the back of the shop offer more substantial fare like fresh egg dishes and pancakes. Past pop-ups have included Curbside Crepes, Casa Reynoso, and Honey Sugar Bakery dishing up a Brazilian breakfast. (Check out Peixoto Coffee’s Facebook page to learn which pop-up will be there next Sunday.)
In addition to the pop-up Sunday breakfasts, the coffee shop also holds classes on what goes into making a cup of coffee, how to appreciate quality coffee, and how to make your own drinks. (Check Facebook for the next class.)
Peters believes the class is one of the best ways to truly appreciate the crop-to-cup experience at Peixoto Coffee, but you’ll taste the difference even if you only have the time to grab a cup and go while visiting Downtown Chandler.