Wanting to do better for her coffee farming-family and farmers from her region in Southern Brazil, Julia Peixoto and her husband, Jeff, left their corporate careers in 2015 to start Peixoto Coffee in Arizona. Today they produce, import, roast, and bring to market coffees grown on their own family farm and beyond while putting more money in the hands of producers and higher-quality coffee in the hands of consumers. We sat down with Peixoto to see just how they do it.
How did you choose your name?
Our name, Peixoto, is pronounced “PAY - SHŌ - TOW.” It is our owner, Julia’s, Portuguese surname and a tribute to her coffee farming family in Brazil. The name loosely translates to “fisherman,” but the only thing we fish for are coffee cherries!
What is Peixoto's approach to sourcing?
Owning our own farm means that our sourcing and green coffee program is much different than the average roaster. Most of our coffee supply arrives once a year following our annual harvest in Brazil. Then, throughout the year, we are working to find unique coffees from other origins that are different from our family coffees. For these additional coffees, we pick partners with whom we can have a long-term, supportive relationship.
Tell us about your family farm.
Our family farm is in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, in a small city called Ibirací. It has been in the Peixoto family for over 100 years. Julia, the owner of Peixoto, grew up seeing her father work on the farm and appreciated how important it was to the family legacy.
Fast forward to 2014, Julia was living in the US with a husband, two kids, and an established successful career. She realized, though, that the family legacy was at risk. Nobody in her family was in a position to take over for her father after he retired from farm work. She knew she must do something; she could not let this part of her family legacy disappear. She decided to open a roastery and import coffee from her family farm, giving her the ability to learn the coffee business and put her and her husband, Jeff, in a position to take over the farm. Today, we produce, mill, import, roast, and serve our family coffee in our coffee shop in Chandler, Arizona. The legacy has been preserved.
Everything we learn from our customers, our producer partnerships, and roasting impacts the coffee. We go to the farm every year around June or July during the harvest season, and when we go, we have plans to introduce new processes to create flavor profiles that our customers have been asking for. While we are down there, we get to see firsthand how the coffees are processed, milled, and stored to ensure the best practices are taking place. This gives us insight into how to potentially roast the coffee and allows us to tell the stories of the people and coffees on our farm. Once we serve the coffees, we get feedback from our customers, which informs us what to do the following year.
How did your Transparency Report come to be?
It is important that we are accountable to our employees and to the community. We at Peixoto Coffee are proud of what we have collectively created: A passionate community united by the coffee coming directly from our family farm in Brazil.
We have chosen to challenge the practices in our industry that threaten the sustainability of the coffee industry and, instead, pave a new path forward based on sustainability, relationships, and quality. The openness of our transparency report allows the community to be engaged with our mission of sustainability.
What are you most excited about right now?
We are thrilled Julia can be in Brazil this year for our coffee harvest! The year that was 2020 prevented our usual trip to the Peixoto family farm, but we are so grateful nothing could prevent the annual trip this year. Julia will be able to see her family, be on the farm (her paradise), and evaluate this year’s crop.
We are also ecstatic about our second location, coming in Spring 2022! Peixoto Coffee has always taken the approach to grow organically. As we grew and learned along the way, the stars aligned for the creation of a coffee shop sibling. The new shop will be part of the Epicenter project in Gilbert, Arizona. We can’t wait to share the new space with our loyal customers and introduce ourselves to some new ones.
Tell us about the local Chandler coffee scene
The general Phoenix area is spread out; each of the cities having their own little ecosystem. When we started, Chandler had not yet been introduced to specialty coffee like many of the bigger cities surrounding us had at that point. In the early days, we were spreading the gospel of specialty coffee to people that had never heard of it.
Chandler has since grown, and the community has taken to the craft. Our community now jumps on all the experimental drinks and coffees we put out. We are inspired by the passion our city has for specialty coffee.
What's your favorite drink to serve in the café?
We love to let our culinary intrigue run wild with our rotating seasonal menus. Over the past year, we have featured drinks like Pandan Matcha, Persian Tea Latte, Provencal Latte, and Lychee Caramel Latte to name a few.
Our favorite drink to serve might be our Coconut Cold Brew. This drink yields extreme fanfare. Year after year, it is the only drink to repeat on our seasonal menus, and our customer base goes cuckoo for coconuts!
To make this delightful concoction, we start with our delicious smooth, chocolaty cold brew and add sweetened condensed milk and coconut cream. Take a sip, and you are immediately reminded of memories at the beach!