East Valley residents: you've got a new option for specialty beans. Peixoto Coffee opened this week, serving offerings from the owners' family farm in Brazil (and a few other places as well.) We headed out to Peixoto's Chandler location to try it for ourselves.
Located at the intersection of Arizona Avenue and Boston Street, Peixoto has joined other Chandler businesses in cultivating a unique identity for this particular stretch of the suburb. Boston Street is lined with historic mission-style buildings, that are quaint and western without being disingenuous. After passing a less charming mission-style Denny's, Jack-in-the-Box, and Circle K whilst en route to Peixoto, it was refreshing to come upon a street lined with vintage charm and local industry that we can only hope will eventually overtake the rest of the town.
The cafe itself is lofty and open, but still cozy. Each of the walls are painted black, with patches of exposed brick throughout; mis-matched charcoal grey chairs and tables provide ample seating. Chalkboard signage, burlap coffee sack throw pillows, and dangling Edison bulbs tie the space together.
Julia Peixoto Peters and her husband, Jeff Peters, founded Peixoto Coffee. Julia's father, Jose Augusto Peixoto, and his father before him, have been growing coffee in Brazil for nearly a century. Their farm, Fazenda Sao Jose da Boa Vista, is located in Minas Gerais in Southeastern Brazil, roughly five hours north of Sao Paolo. Jeff Peters is Peixoto Coffee's primary roaster, and works his magic on the beans in plain sight in the back corner of the cafe.
With scones, sables, cakes and sweets from Pistol Whipped Pastries, and an array of empanadas from AZ Food Crafters, Peixoto has your snacking needs met. They tie everything back to Julia's cultural roots coffee by serving Pao de Queijo, a type of Portuguese cheese bread popular in Brazil.
The service at Peixoto is friendly, informative, and attentive. We love any counter-service establishment that checks in on guests in a full-service fashion. Peixoto staff was present without being overbearing. The space was clean without being sterile. Dirty dishes were continually collected by staff rather than being permitted to sit idly on empty tables or fester in over-crowded bus tubs, a huge plus at any coffee shop.
As far as the coffee goes: Peixoto wants to bring a quality coffee experience to Chandler. Their menu is clean and simple: no flavored syrups, no blenders, just various permutations of coffee, milk, and water. Sugar is available to those who prefer things on the sweeter side.
Peixoto also offers cascara, meaning "shell," which is a type of tea made from the dried fruit of coffee cherries. Cascara has a dry, slightly tart, raisin-like flavor, and is a great option for the coffee-averse. The cafe serves both hot and cold brewed versions of the drink.
At present, Peixoto offers pour-over coffees prepared on Hario V60, Kalita Wave, and Chemex brewers. At present, Peixoto offers coffees from Costa Rica, Ethiopia, and of course, Brazil. We tried the house blend from the Peixoto family farm brewed by V60. The house blend was somewhat under extracted and fairy astringent, but the coffee did possess some nice, dark chocolate and red-berry sweetness. If you are a fan of coffees with a huge body, this might be the cup for you, but we feel that allowing for a bit more extraction might have lent itself to a cleaner, more balanced and articulate cup.
We also tried the latte and cortado. Each of these drinks has the same ingredients: espresso and milk, but in differing proportions.
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The latte was sweet and harmonious; the espresso's milk chocolate and toasted nut notes were clearly articulated, but blended softly into sweet, buttery organic milk. A rosetta poured on top was somewhat lopsided, but were a promising indication of future mastery by Peixoto's still quite new staff.
Cortados are one of our favorite espresso drinks, and generally serve as a fair indicator of a barista's talents on bar. The drink must strike a medium between being warm but not hot and being espresso-forward but still harmonious in order to be successful. With just five tiny ounces to work with, finding this happy medium can be a pretty tall order for any barista. The Peixoto cortado was good, but a touch on the bitter side. The temperature was cool enough to drink quickly, the texture was smooth and creamy, and a really nice blueberry syrup quality in the espresso shone through the milk.
Overall the coffee was a bit aggressive, flavor-wise. Seasoned drinkers of brewed specialty coffee, who may be accustomed to more balanced, delicate profiles, might be put off by this heavy-handedness. But for Chandler folks looking to make the switch from Starbucks to the local stuff, or to learn about what it takes to get a coffee from crop to cup, Peixoto is a great place to start.