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  • Penny Hieb

Driftwood Coffee Co.

When you pull up to Driftwood Coffee's sleek white exterior in Old Town Peoria, you are greeted by a blinking neon sign that reads, "you need coffee". To be more precise, however, the sign should read, "you need THIS coffee". Those were my exact thoughts when I sat down and tried Luke Bentley's freshly crafted latte on a recent Thursday afternoon. Savoring the gorgeous latte art embellished beverage was something of a religious experience in those following moments: mellow, soothing, frothy, and a touch transcendental.

I had tried Driftwood Coffee at least a handful of times in the past and each time, I always came away from the experience thinking, "this coffee is a touch above everything else I've tasted", but I couldn't put my finger on what the secret to their amazing coffee was. That secret "it" factor was finally revealed when I had the opportunity to chat with Bentley, Driftwood's co owner and resident coffee enthusiast,


at my most recent visit. Bentley shared with me that the shop only brews the top 1% of coffees, the so called "Q graded" variety.

The rigorous Q system sets the bar for specialty coffee, scoring Arabica beans on a 100 point scale. Coffees that score below 80 are labeled "commodity" coffees and not considered specialty grade. Bentley explained to me that Driftwood never uses commodity beans and treats customers to beautifully curated roasts which change monthly. While I was there, the shop was brewing Horizon Line Coffee from Des Moines, Iowa, and local roaster Mythical Coffee of Gilbert. The latte I sampled had fruitier notes, and a velvety mouth feel.

It isn't by accident that Driftwood creates such expertly crafted and compelling coffee drinks. The truth is, it is science, research, years of experience, and, let's face it: sheer passion. Bentley has been enamored with coffee for years. In childhood, he requested an espresso machine and began brewing recipes at home. A graduate of Centennial High School, Bentley worked in coffee for years in the Phoenix area and dreamed of opening a coffee shop in his hometown of Peoria. In February 2018, that dream became a reality with co owner Lance Linderman. Determined to "bring some life to downtown Peoria", the duo opened up their shop in the up and coming historic neighborhood, across the street from the Peoria Central School Museum.

Driftwood Coffee is housed in one of Peoria's oldest buildings at 8295 W. Jefferson St. The shop has a convenient walk up window and a simple indoor space with crisp white walls, exposed brick, and large, uncovered windows. There is a comfortable worn leather couch in one corner and industrial designed tables for a shared coffee experience or working solo on your laptop. Local art available for purchase hangs in the shop's interior. While I was there, Elizabeth Bramber's anatomical sketches were on display. For those beautiful Arizona winter days, there is a lovely outdoor space available in an adjacent courtyard with an overhead pergola and a flowing zen like fountain. There are several patio tables for enjoying your coffee al fresco.

Come to Peoria and experience the revitalization of this historic community. There are several quaint shops and innovative businesses ready to be discovered. And, it turns out, there's world class coffee right in the heart of Old Town.

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