By Lauren Wong
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214 E Roosevelt St, Phoenix

Part Tulum, Mexico, part Scandinavian, Kahvi is the byproduct of inspiration from both. These two cultures came together from partners Jordan Taylor and Julian Wright, and inspired this relaxed approach to coffee that opened in July of 2021. (Jordan, paying homage to his Scandinavian heritage, and Julian showcasing his love of Tulum, Mexico). 

Samia Kohler, Operating Partner and Event Sales, dives deeper into the origin and aesthetic of this unique cafe that sits nestled in downtown Phoenix.

Q&A with Samia Kohler

Q: How would you describe the cafe?

A: Julian and I tried to build something that has two very opposing concepts. One is the Tulum vibe from Mexico, and the second one is Scandinavian, so something that’s very simple with a woody style. 

In terms of food and drinks, we’re trying to sell something with a European style. We have french pastries, healthy options, avocado toast, ect. We kind of have a mix of a lot of stuff.

Q: What gave you the idea and passion to open up Kahvi? 

A:  MonOrchid building, where we have Kahvi, is a very old, historical building. It’s been there for many years. When they originally built that space it was supposed to be a factory, and then it became a kind of loft with sharing offices, and then it became a photography space, event space, and then Julian had this idea to create different concepts in one building. So, we have Kahvi, which is on the front of MonOrchid, we have Sake Haus, which is on the side, and Pedal Haus Brewery, which is in the back. We kept this unique event space in the middle, which is shared with Kahvi, but the idea is to keep this historical building alive and allow people to enjoy the space while creating a unique experience.

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Q: What are your short and long-term goals for Kahvi? 

A: I really want Kahvi to be the spot for everyone who wants to enjoy coffee and some healthy food. We don’t have a bunch of options on Roosevelt St, and I want it to be one of those spots that people come to enjoy the vibe and whole experience. 

In the long term, I just wish to continue to have private events in this space. I want to improve our bar, we have an amazing bar inside. We’re having a bit of a hard time pushing the bar because everyone’s seeing it as a coffee shop, but it’s not just a coffee shop, it’s more than that. 

We serve cocktails and wine, but because the brand is Kahvi Coffee & Cafe, people automatically go to “oh, I’m just going to go there for a cup of coffee.” So that’s one thing I really want to work on in the long term.

Q: What’s something special that stands out about your cafe? 

A: In terms of coffee, we have a partnership with Peixoto, a local brand that imports their beans from Brazil. They have amazing products at their small, family business, so we love to work with them, pushing local businesses. 

The space and how we use it [is special]. We’re more than a coffee shop, we also use the space to bring back the drive in the community. We have a Drag Disco Brunch every last Saturday of the month which is very unique. We’re very proud of it because we’re supporting our drag queen community. It’s very important in the district, because it was there for so many years, and it started to die, so we brought it back.

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Q: What do you hope your guests walk away feeling after visiting Kahvi? 

A: I want them to feel they got something unique. From the whole experience, like when they came in, they loved the design, they loved the space, they felt kind of surprised like “oh, this is huge, this is amazing, this is very special.” I also want them to get a good, good experience with the food and beverages, because we work hard to make sure we provide quality, unique products.

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Q: Is there anything else that you’d like to add? 

A: I’m very proud of that place, I built it with Julian from almost nothing. We still have a lot to improve, but we’re working on it, especially after Covid. 

I’ve been in the states now for over two years, coming from Asia. I was living in Shanghai and Hong Kong which are very big cities, and the pace is very, very different. Here in Phoenix it’s a different pace for me, it’s very slow, it takes a little bit of time, but I hope at one point we reach that level in Phoenix. A level where we have multiple, unique spaces to go and hang out with friends and family.

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In addition to their coffee, Kahvi also offers yoga classes. They’re donation-based meaning that there’s no specific set price for the class, they just ask that you donate any amount you can! Weekly Sunday classes take place at 10:30 a.m. in the heart of Downtown Phoenix in the Roosevelt Row Arts District.

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For more information, and to see their full event schedule, visit their website.