Driftwood Coffee Co.

My espresso, an Ethiopian Guji from Horizon Line Coffee, served in a glass at Driftwood Coffee Co. in Peoria.Although this is my sixth visit to Phoenix in under four years, I’ve always stayed in northeast Phoenix or Scottsdale, my speciality coffee focus generally turned towards the centre and the cities to the southeast, such as Tempe and Chandler. However, Peoria’s Driftwood Coffee Co. has been on my radar since it opened in 2017, so when work finished unexpectedly early one afternoon, I took my chance and drove over to pay it a visit.

Driftwood is on the edge of Old Town Peoria, just off Highway 60, which runs northwest out of central Phoenix. Occupying a compact space at the end of a warehouse-like building, Driftwood has a generous outside seating area and a simple, high-ceilinged interior. A true multi-roaster, Driftwood aims to offer at least one Arizona-based roaster and one from elsewhere in America. While I was there, there were two local options, Mythical Coffee (which I’d visited earlier in the week) and Tucson’s Yellow Brick Coffee (which I’d previously enjoyed at Maverick Coffee), while the national offering was from Horizon Line Coffee in Des Moines, Iowa. There’s a concise espresso-based menu, batch brew (for those in a hurry) or a slow bar, offering cafetiere, Chemex or V60.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Driftwood Coffee Co. in Peoria, as seen from across 83rd Avenue.
  • It stands on the corner of West Jefferson Street, which is the building's main address.
  • Driftwood does have a door on Jefferson St, but even so, I'm not calling it the front door.
  • This is the front, where you'll find the outside seating, front door and a takeaway hatch.
  • The outside seating, as seen looking along 83rd Avenue from Jefferson.
  • And the view from the other side, with Driftwood behind us.
  • Check out the neat roof.
  • There are four tables, arranged in a square...
  • ... seen here from the other corner. Meanwhile, along the front and down the right-hand...
  • ... side are a pair of narrow bars, each with three tall stools.
  • There's also a bench against the front wall, to the left of the two windows...
  • ... which in turn are to the left of the door.
  • Finally, off to the right, there's a takeout hatch with some handy directions on the wall.
  • The takeaway hatch, complete with its own menu, so you never have to go inside.
  • The door, meanwhile, has the opening hours. I love a coffee shop that stays open late.
  • The view from just inside the door, looking over to the counter on the right.
  • Directly ahead is a seven-person communal table in the centre of the room...
  • ... while beyond that are two, tall, four-person tables by a mural on the back wall.
  • Another view of the two tables against the back wall.
  • And here's the view from the two tables, looking towards the front, left-hand corner.
  • There's more seating on the left-hand side, starting with the ever-popular sofa!
  • Beyond this is the door in the left-hand wall, which leads onto Jefferson Street.
  • There are two low, four-person tables against a bench along the front wall...
  • ... next to which is a two-person window bar.
  • And then we're back to the door, which is where we started.
  • I'll conclude the tour with a panoramic view from just inside the other door...
  • ... and with one final look at the Magnificent Seven (the round communal table).
  • Driftwood is brightened by its artwork, led by this mural on the back wall.
  • There are also framed drawings by artist Elizabeth Brambert, who is a barista at Driftwood.
  • You can buy prints of any of the works.
  • There's a set of retail shelves on the back walll...
  • ... with the usual retail bags of coffee for sale...
  • ... along with various curios (and the aforementioned prints).
  • Next to this is a small selection of merchandising, including clothing.
  • Down to business and a view of the counter as you come in through the door.
  • The view from the other end, with the takeout hatch clearly visible at the far end.
  • The menu, meanwhile, is handily placed on the wall to the right of the door.
  • The till, naturally enough, is at this end of the counter too, along with more retail bags.
  • The espresso machine takes centre stage on the counter, with the pour-over on the wall...
  • ... behind, where you'll also find the choice of beans and the batch brewer.
  • Finally, there's a small selection of burritos, plus oatmeal, bagels and pastries.
  • See, I told you there were bagels.
  • And doughnuts! With a solitary pastry hiding at the front.
  • Turning to coffee, I decided to have an espresso, served with a glass of sparkling water.
  • I'll leave you with a shot of my coffee, looking very fine in its glass.
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Driftwood’s address is Jefferson Street, where there is plenty of on-street parking on either side of the street. Standing on Jefferson, Driftwood occupies a small unit at the far, right-hand end of a long, warehouse building which runs along the southern side of Jefferson, ending at the corner with 83rd Avenue. In my mind, this is the front of Driftwood, despite the address. There’s an outdoor seating area here, plus another four parking spaces to the right, while if you do want to come straight in front Jefferson, there’s a door here as well.

Driftwood is in a pretty quiet neighbourhood, so there’s not too much traffic. The outdoor seating area is a self-enclosed square, with a lattice roof which is open to the left and at the back (as you face Driftwood). The other two sides are occupied by an L-shaped bar runs around the front and right-hand sides, seating provided by six stools, three for each bar. Inside, four round, four-person tables are arranged in a square, while off to the left, at the front, is a large trough with continuous running water, presumably for pets and passing horses.

Driftwood has a single glass door in the middle of the front wall, with two tall windows to its left. To the left of these is a narrow bench against the front wall, while off to the right is a small to-go window, so you don’t even have to go inside to get your coffee. However, if you do go in, you’ll find yourself in a rectangular, high-ceilinged space, maybe twice as wide as it is deep, open to a lattice-work of rafters. The counter is to your right, while the seating is ahead of you and to your left, where you’ll also find the second door, in the middle of the left-hand wall, providing a convenient shortcut to/from Jefferson.

Starting to the left of the door, there’s a two-person window-bar, followed by two four-person tables against a low bench which runs along the front wall. There’s a round, seven-person communal table in the middle of the space, while against the back wall are two high, four-person tables with tall stools. These are opposite the door/windows, beyond the communal table and have a large, colourful mural as a backdrop. Finally, to the left, opposite the bench/tables on the front wall, is a long, low sofa with a coffee table and two low-slung plastic chairs.

Overall, Driftwood occupies a clean, bright space, with light from the windows/door at the front, plus the glass door in the left-hand wall, which also has a small window next to it. The walls are whitewashed, other than the left-hand wall, which has been left as exposed breezeblock. Along with the mural, there are black and white prints hanging on the wall. Finally, to the right of the mural, are several retail shelves, which sell various artworks, craft items and the obligatory retail bags of coffee.

The coffee on offer changes every two to three months, depending on how quickly Driftwood gets through its stock. I was tempted by the Honduras single-origin from Mythical Coffee (on the slow bar) but I wanted to try Horizon Line Coffee, a roaster that I’d not seen before. Horizon had an Ethiopian Guji on espresso, plus a Guatemalan on the slow bar (where the third option was from Yellow Brick). Not having had one all week, I opted for an espresso, and was rewarded with a lovely, rich, fruity shot, served in a glass with a glass of sparkling water, the perfect end to my stay.

December 2020: Driftwood Coffee Co. was a runner-up for the 2020 Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot Award.

www.driftwoodaz.com +1 623-282-2827
Monday 07:00 – 21:00 Roaster Guests (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 07:00 – 21:00 Seating Tables, Window-bar; Tables (outside)
Wednesday 07:00 – 21:00 Food Bagels, Burritos, Cakes
Thursday 07:00 – 21:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 07:00 – 21:00 Payment Cash + Cards
Saturday 08:00 – 21:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 08:00 – 21:00 Power No
Chain No Visits 16th January 2020

If you enjoyed this Coffee Spot, then take a look at the rest of Phoenix’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to Phoenix.

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3 thoughts on “Driftwood Coffee Co.

  1. Pingback: 2020 Awards – Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot | Brian's Coffee Spot

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