Azukar Coffee Opens in South Phoenix and You’ll be in Mexican Heaven
Sandra Flores considers herself an “inbetweener.” By this she means that she’s Latin American and this makes her look for places that speak to both sides of her identity. That’s why, when she thought of opening a coffee shop, she wanted to make sure it did exactly that. She wanted a place that was modern but also traditional; somewhere that provides a home feel.
Her love for coffee houses grew when she was in college and she would spend hours on end studying or doing school work at coffee shops. She sees coffee as something that creates unity since it prevails across cultures and people come together to drink it.
When you walk into Azukar you’re greeted by the music of Manu Chao or Jarabe de Palo. If you stay long enough, you’ll hear the B-Side Players and Boca Floja…wut wut! As soon as you take a sip of one of their drinks, you’re transported to a childhood moment, if you grew up Mexican. If you didn’t then you remember the last time you ate at a Mexican joint or went to your friend’s grandma’s house (you know you have a mexa friend!).
Right now the place has a signature Horchata Cold Brew that is motha-effin lit! You know that polvito you feel in the back of your throat when you drink horchata with your tacos? Azukar’s cold brew has it, and combined with that delicious coffee kick, it’s golden. And by the way, it came before the big chain came up with their appropriation blend.
They also have what we at LaPhoenikera.com call a mangonada in a cup. You know what I’m talking about. It has the mango, it has the chamoy, even the chunk of tamarindo floating in it, but this one you can sip. Yeah…think about it…are you salivating yet?
Sandra is hoping to bust out her signature café de olla for the winter and I can’t tell you how much we’re crossing our fingers and toes for it. For those of you not familiar with it, café de olla is a traditional Mexican coffee prepared with cinnamon and piloncillo (unrefined brown sugar). The preparation process is where it’s at though, so you really have to be a pro to make a good one.
Sandra was born and raised in South Phoenix, around 19th Avenue and Southern. She and her husband own a home on the same street where they grew up. “That block holds my mom’s house, my husband’s parents and grandparents’ house, our comadre’s house, so we’re pretty invested in this community,” she says unable to hold a laugh.
Now that their coffee shop is open on Central just south of Southern, Sandra says they’re in the process of introducing themselves to the community and learning from it because it is something relatively new to the area. “People are trying to figure us out and we’re trying to build a relationship with them. We’re figuring out what the needs of the community are and how we can meet them and bring people together.”
One of the needs Sandra has identified is youth mentorship and they hope Azukar can play a role in creating that. They want to show youth that being from South Phoenix they can build something meaningful for their community. Eventually, as their business grows, they also want to create jobs for young people.
They also hope to become a space where the community to come together. They understand that Latinxs are family driven and they want to be a place where families can show up together and have a good time. To make that easier they even set up a place inside the coffee shop where kids can play. Sandra recounts a time when a guy came in to get coffee for his wife and kids but then called them all in to hang out. What was supposed to be a quick stop, turned into an hour of family time.
This Saturday, Azukar is having their grand opening (they’ve been open for a bit but haven’t been too public about it). If you have a chance to stop by, you should. Also, next time you’re driving down the South Side and you need your daily fix, think beyond the big chains and support this local spot. While you’re there, tell them you read about them in LaPhoenikera.com.
Grand Opening Details
WHEN: Saturday, August 19 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
LOCATION: Azukar is located at 7246 S. Central Ave. Phoenix
WHAT TO EXPECT: Music by DJ Vicious and Eclecto Fenix, performances by Primavera Folklórico Dance Company and botanas