Coffee in Phoenix is popping right now. With a blend of old school stalwarts like Cartel Coffee Lab and newer spots including Peixoto, Futuro, and Pair Cupworks, there has never been a better time to be a coffee lover in Phoenix than right now. And to add to that list of new-ish coffee hot spots is Moxie Coffee Co.
Opened in May of 2021 after a COVID hiatus, Moxie has been serving the denizens of Uptown Phoenix for nearly two years now, offering of a mix of “uncommon coffees” and a rotating menu of seasonal beverages. And their cafe and roastery space is absolutely gorgeous (no surprise from the design-minded company whose minimalist bag design we recently featured). To learn more about the company, we spoke with owner and founder Matt Heltzel to see how Moxie got to where they are.
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As told to Sprudge by Matt Heltzel
Introduce yourself to our readers—tell us about your cafe!
Our roastery and cafe opened in May 2021 in Uptown Phoenix. We signed the lease for our space in 2019, a few months before COVID. The process to getting open was a bit scary and overwhelming, but we made it! The support from the people in Phoenix has been overwhelming. Even though our shop is relatively new, our team has many years of combined experience in specialty coffee. We try our best to serve incredible beverages, while also being approachable to those who are new to specialty coffee. On a lot of our packaging and signage, you’ll see the phrase “uncommon coffee.” We love this tagline because we love crafting uncommon experiences for our guests. Whether it’s an award-winning natural anaerobic Gesha or our rotating specialty drinks made with rare ingredients such as Whistlepig’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup, you’re likely to have an uncommon discovery at our cafe. We also get pastries from local providers like James Beard nominees Mark Chacon and JL Patisserie along with Vegan Pastries by Gabrielle. In terms of our coffee program, we’re big believers in relationship coffee, meaning that we intend to develop long term relationships with producers who are committed to sustainable growing practices and community development projects. This is an area we’re learning a lot about and are excited to improve on in the coming years.
What equipment do you use in your shop?
The first thing you’ll see when you walk in the door is our Diedrich IR-12. All the coffees we serve are roasted in house and are sourced meticulously with importers and producers who provide us with real transparency about pricing and how our coffee buying practices impact the coffee growers and their communities/co-ops. Our owner Matt started roasting coffee on a vintage popcorn popper in 2011 and has since roasted a few million pounds of coffee in the last 10 years. With previous companies, he’s traveled to Honduras, Sumatra, and Guatemala, and we’ve continued some of those relationships here at Moxie. We try to roast juicy, sweet, balanced coffees that excite any specialty coffee consumer but are approachable enough for those new to specialty coffee. We have a Synesso MVP Hydra and we offer two single origin coffees and a Colombia Sugarcane EA Tabi Decaf coffee every day. For most milk-based drinks, we serve a Guatemala coffee from the Codech Co-op in Huehuetenango. The other espresso is also a single-origin coffee that rotates weekly and is usually a bit more vibrant and fruit-forward. We offer five to six single-origin coffees on filter, brewed on a Marco SP9, and have usually around five rotating specialty drinks.
Which roaster or roasters do you serve?
Currently, we only serve coffees that we roast in house. As a staff, we’re constantly tasting other coffees from roasters around the world and we’re always learning and improving our roasting. We offer 8oz and 2lb beans for sale in store (buy 10, get 1 free) and online.
What is the neighborhood like where you’re located? What’s some other cool stuff nearby?
We’re located in Uptown at the base of the Art on Highland apartments. One of the best parts about this location is that it’s so central to Phoenix and most people can get here in 20-30 minutes, regardless of where they’re at in the Valley. It’s only a 10-minute drive from the airport, so we also get a lot of people who are in from out of town or on layovers and want some good coffee.
There’s plenty of good food and drinks nearby. When we’re not hanging at the shop, we’re usually drinking some good natural wine and coffee at local spots like Valentine. There’s other fantastic places to eat just around the corner like Pizzeria Bianco and Noble Bread, too.
What’s something cool or unique about your cafe you want folks to know?
Moxie is especially unique in that our shop is really a reflection of the community we reside in. There’s a wide range of people who come through our doors, and who feel at home and welcome. That’s something we pride ourselves in. Our coffee might not be perfect every time, we’re human and we make mistakes, but we always do everything we can to make people feel like they belong and are a part of our community. We care so much about people’s experience at our shop, and that’s something that, no matter what happens with Moxie in the future, we’ll always be extremely proud of.
Photos by Moxie Coffee, used with permission