Demi Coffee Brings Experimentation and Local Flair Back to Phoenix Coffee

Categories: Grind

Heather Hoch
These drinks from Demi Coffee might look experimental-- and they are.
A lot of coffee shops in town seem poised to become chains, and that's fine. If you're doing it right and you've got your coffee game on lock, why not expand. However, over at Demi Coffee, the brand new spot that took over for Mud Dauber off 16th Street north of McDowell Road, it's more about trying new things than it is getting everything picture perfect, and, you know what, it's pretty fun to join them at ground level.

See also: Shine Coffee's Christiaan Blok on the Perfect Espresso Pull and Coffee Creativity

When Sam Clark decided to focus his coffee efforts on his in-venue Lo Fi Coffee shops at Nile Theatre and the newest Trunk Space location, he was set to sell Mud Dauber; but the original buyer fell through. That's when two of his regulars, Bobby Castañeda and Ali Campbell stepped in to keep their neighborhood coffee shop alive.

Heather Hoch
Demi Moore's image might make an appearance, but that's not why the shop is named Demi.
Changing the name to Demi Coffee (though the current Facebook page is still under Mud Dauber's name and there's even a Mud Dauber sign out front) the pair says the name refers to the beans their using as much as it does the Demi Moore sign out front and mural planned inside. That's because they're using half Cartel sourced beans and half Xanadu.

Heather Hoch
Ali Campbell and Bobby Castañeda went from regulars to owners last month.
Castañeda and Campbell use the more citrusy bright Cartel roasts for espresso, while the nuttier, chocolatey Xanadu beans go to the cold brew. It's interesting to note that the cold brew at Demi is cheaper than most competitors at $2.75 per 16 ounces. It has also been compared to "rocket fuel" by one of the shop's already regulars because it is likely more concentrated than you're used to getting.

Heather Hoch
Testing the "Improvised Foam" cold brew.
Covering the previous ruddy mustard yellow color to a bright, light and cool mint color, adding a custom-made steel bar, and hanging some of Castañeda's art is pretty much all of the décor the place has so far. A TV in the corner plays VHS tapes the pair has found at yard sales and thrift stores. Lord of the Rings and Star Trek were on deck when I visited, though the sound on the TV was off.

While Demi offers the basics, like cold brew and espresso drinks, the unique side of the new shop is in the owners' experimental nature. From a Da Vang-sourced Vietnamese coffee recipe to cans of Asian basil seed juice in place of soda, the offerings reflect the owners' tastes. In the future, they hope to offer Turkish style coffee, as well as an "Improvised Foam" cold brew that involves mixing cold brew coffee, cinnamon, and either agave or maple syrup in a shaker and shaking it until it has a thick, heady foam on top. Though it isn't on the menu yet, you should definitely keep an eye out for that drink.

Location Info


Demi Coffee

2222 N. 16th St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

Mud Dauber Coffee - CLOSED

2222 N. 16th St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

Lo-Fi Coffee

105 W. Main St., Mesa, AZ

Category: General

Nile Theater

105 W. Main St., Mesa, AZ

Category: Music

Trunk Space

1506 Grand Ave., Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

Da Vang

4538 N. 19th Ave., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

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I'm sorry, did Phoenix lose coffee and now Demi is bringing it back? Back from where? I can name a few spots that clearly do coffee well i.e. Cartel and Press. They roast, they hire and train properly and serve amazing drinks. Congrats to Demi, good to see a new place take a step towards showcasing good coffee. 

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