I first visited Peixoto in August of 2015. I had moved to Los Angeles five years earlier but would still go back to Arizona occasionally, for commercial photoshoots.
Seeing as I grew up in Arizona and had lived in Downtown Phoenix in the early to mid-2000s and watched as specialty coffee slowly made an introduction to the downtown arts district, I was a bit taken aback when I heard about this coffee shop in the east valley - where I grew up - that I was told I needed to check out.
I remember walking in and immediately falling in love with the place. I loved the color tones, the layout, and pretty much everything about it.
And then I met Julia Peixoxo Peters and her husband Jeff, and that solidified it. This shop was special. And I wanted to know why. Little did I know that an outline of Brazil painted on a wall within their shop would be the clue.
See, Julia comes from a family of coffee farmers spanning back over a 100 years. The beans that are roasted and served at their shop come from her families farm in Brazil. A farm that she and her husband/business partner Jeff Peters visit and work on annually.
It's been a while since I first met Julia and I've wanted to feature Peixoto for just as long. Not only because of the shop and their ties to the family coffee farm. Mainly because they chose to open in the neighborhood where they "live, work and play" and not in a location where coffee nerds like myself would see as more welcoming of specialty coffee.
Thankfully, I was wrong.
To find out more about Peixoto, read my interview with julia below.
Q: When did you open your shop
A: We opened the shop to the public on Jan 31, 2015 but the dreaming and creation process started a few years prior…I grew up watching my family farm coffee in Brazil and when it was time to sell it they were at the mercy of the ups and downs of the commodities market. I did not know why farmers were rarely paid for what their coffee was worth, but I knew deep inside me that there had to be a better way. When I was in my mid 30s already living in the US, married to my husband Jeff and 2 kids, pursuing a very different and cushy career, I received this calling that I had to change the coffee game for my family and the communities around us. Call it divine intervention, a spark of inspiration, or whatever name you think is appropriate, I could not dismiss this calling. I committed to my dream to start Peixoto Coffee, to do better for our family and coffee farmers from my region in Brazil, while bringing our family coffee directly to our communities in the US.
Q: How often are you going back to your family farm
A: It has been part of our business plan from the beginning that Jeff (my partner in life & coffee), kids and I would leave to Brazil once a year and spend the harvest season at our family farm, getting our hands dirty in coffee harvesting, processing, and preparing our coffee for its journey from our farm to our shop in the US. We have been able to go every year for the last 5 years and this year we brought our roaster with us for his first-ever experience in coffee farming. We stayed 2 months this year and we used every single minute of our time there to work on our coffees. There is always something to do at the farm, we feel it is not only our option to be there during harvest, it is a necessity if we will keep pushing our coffees in the direction we want for them.
Q: As someone who is involved in all aspects of your coffee - from farm to table. How does it feel when you look out into your shop and see people enjoying your coffee among friends, that your family has produced for generations?
A: I think any business owner who starts a business from a place of passion wants customers to feel welcome, comfortable, in alignment with your business values. Beyond that, I wanted people to feel connected to one another here, to the people who work here and whom we call Familia, to the source of our coffee, to the people who touch their coffee, to the legacy of coffee farming of my family. I was intentional in creating that vision but I did not know was the depth and the extent to which our coffee would indeed impact people’s lives. I did not know the coffee coming from my family would become a part of people’s daily lives. It feels incredibly inspiring to be inspiring others!
Q: What is one of your more proud moments that you’ve been able to share with your children along your journey of owning and operating a coffee shop
A: Being able to show my kids that there can be an alignment between passion and how we make a living is one of my top priorities as a mother in life. When I see my kids growing up around the farm, just like I did as a child, seeing them doing cartwheels on coffee cherries drying on patio, caring for “their own” lots of coffee, hearing them telling their friends with pride, “Peixoto Coffee” comes from my grandfather’s farm… I feel at ease that I am doing my job to keep our legacy in coffee alive!
Q: What was the thinking behind opening a shop like Peixoto in Old Town Chandler. A part of town that wasn’t - at the time of your opening - thought to be forward-thinking in the sense of third wave coffee?
A: For us it was more about bringing to the community where we call home (we live, work and play in downtown Chandler!) an experience which did not exist before. We wanted to connect our home with the communities where our coffee comes from. So unlike other cities like LA, Portland where you have a congregation of specialty coffee shops in one particular area, what drove us to be here in historic Downtown Chandler was the desire to bring in specialty coffee to the community we call home. Like connecting my two homes with our coffee!
Q: From reading your social media posts to visiting your shop, it seems like you have cultivated a sense of family as a through-line, how important is that for you as a wife, mother and business owner
A: We believe we can do specialty and be “familial” at the same time. We decided at very early stages of our journey that we would serve our cause more (of honoring our farmers and the story behind our coffee) by being friendly and accessible to all than permeating a culture of exclusivity and elitism. We want to reach as many people as possible with our message of integrity, sustainability, and transparency and we do so by fostering a genuine connection to one another in our team, to our customers and community.