Phoenix is to home hundreds of quaint local cafes serving up top-notch delicacies. But for most people when considering a cup of joe, too often does a quick run to the nearest Starbucks for a bitter espresso or a watered-down iced coffee come to mind.
That’s where Perry Czopp comes in. Whether you need a morning fix or an afternoon pick-me-up, Czopp, also know as “The Coffee Chop,” is dedicated to changing how people approach the coffee experience.
Czopp is somewhat of a celebrity in Phoenix’s gourmet coffee scene. At just 25 years old, he has won his fair share of local and national competitions with his elegant pours. His brand, “The Coffee Chop,” specializes in delivering quality coffee education and catering services.
But there is more to Czopp than just serving up impeccably brilliant latte art. He has big ideas to transform Phoenix’s coffee scene. He recently sat down with Local ReVibe to talk about his passion for all things craft coffee, latte art competitions and a recent life-changing trip to Costa Rica.
Czopp hasn’t always been the coffee fanatic that he is today—In fact, his barista career launched a bit unconventionally. Like many young adults looking for a job, Czopp found himself working for Starbucks before deciding the restaurant industry wasn’t for him. But after the economic downturn, he found himself back in a coffee shop…but this time he was in charge.
While managing Urban Beans in downtown Phoenix he fell in love with coffee. Having been promoted shortly after getting the job, Czopp soon realized it was time that he start getting serious about coffee. He splurged on an espresso machine and started producing coffee as an art form.
“The cafe I worked for had such a different clientele compared to the people who would come into the Starbucks I worked at in north Scottsdale,” Czopp says. “All of a sudden I am falling in love with coffee and this industry that I had absolutely hated a few years earlier.”
To him, there’s more to coffee than a good tasting espresso. He’s created a persona dedicated to helping others become passionate about the entire experience.
“The Coffee Chop is my alter ego in the coffee industry,” Czopp says. “There’s just something so romantic and peaceful about going to a cafe; they’re the center of a community. If you go to any independent coffee shop you can ask a barista about concerts, restaurants or things to do. I’ll open my own at the right time in my life. I don know if Phoenix is ready for something I’m trying to do.”
When he’s not consulting cafes or catering events, Czopp is dedicated to learning more—at least when it comes to coffee. After having only dreamed of visiting a coffee plantation he was finally able to make it a reality.
Last year, Czopp was looking for a coffee to compete with in a regional barista championship. He reached out to a colleague who put him in touch with brothers Carlos and Manuel Montero who are coffee farmers in Costa Rica. From there, plans quickly fell into place.
“Going to Costa Rica was far beyond anything I could’ve ever imagined,” Czopp says. “Carlos and I had talked a lot about the competitions I have done. One day he brought me to a field and asked me to compete with the coffee in it. It was a very serene moment.”
He spent five weeks learning about how coffee goes from seed to cup. Despite originally being skeptical about how his days would be spent, he soon realized producing coffee requires a lot hard work and dedication and he got first-hand experience growing and processing coffee cherries.
One of the most valuable payoffs of the trip was discovering a newfound inspiration. He recently hit the road to expose the coffee experience in other cities across the United States. He hopes to pass on what he’ll learn to other people.
“One of my goals while in Costa Rica was to meditate about what my next plan is,” Czopp says. “I decided on creating a show based around coffee. My first stop will probably be Denver. We will also go to Kansas City, St. Louis, Louisville, Columbus, Washington D.C., New York and Boston, including some other stops along the way.”