Back in 1979, Ric and Judy Brecheisen traveled to Europe and drove around in a Volkswagen bus with their children, stopping at coffeehouses across the continent to try new brews. That flavorful family vacation led to a family-run business when the joe-inspired Brecheisens returned to the Valley and founded Passport Coffee & Tea in Scottsdale in 1983.
Purported to be the oldest continuously operating roasting company in the Valley, Passport Coffee & Tea – named after the documents that facilitated the family’s java-enlightening travels – now carries more than 50 blends of coffees, and also sells tea and roasting equipment to businesses around the country and the Valley, including Pita Jungle, True Food Kitchen and Chloe’s Corner.
Siblings Ann, Tres, TJ and David all work together at Passport, along with their parents. “Our family united over a cup of coffee,” Ann says. “Coffee brings people together in a unique way.”
Tres says when they first started, there wasn’t really a market for coffee in Phoenix, and learning how to run a roastery was an imprecise science. “Looking back, it was a good thing we didn’t do a lot of market research, because there wasn’t really anything done at that point. It was new to everyone,” Tres says.
Ric and Judy Brecheisen still have coffee at the same table (pictured above) every morning, Tres adds. “Our family still hasn’t lost our passion for coffee.”
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