12 Great Latinx-Owned Coffee Shops In LA

Cafecito, pan dulce, and homemade arepas.
12 Great Latinx-Owned Coffee Shops In LA image

photo credit: Cafe Tropical

Coffee and Latinx culture are intrinsically linked. Entire economies in Latin America are centered around this prized crop. And, for many families, gatherings begin or end with a warm cafecito. In LA, Latinx-owned coffee shops offer a variety of beans sourced from Latin America, pan dulce, and latte flavors that pay tribute to their heritage. Besides serving excellent coffee, many businesses use their platforms to give back to their local communities and aid farmers by creating ethical supply chains from harvest to coffee counter. Below, you'll find some of our favorite Latinx-owned coffee shops across the city, along with some details about the people behind them.


photo credit: Patria



$$$$Perfect For:Coffee & A Light Bite
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In 2018, after years of roasting small-batch organic coffee, Deanna and Geoffrey Martinez opened Compton's first specialty coffee shop with a mission to celebrate BIPOC voices in the neighborhood. Patria is a great place to have 15 minutes of calm before opening work emails. They display art by local photographers and Latin American artists, and still make slow-roasted, seasonal co-op espresso. We usually go for the creamy Mexican Mocha, a mixture of espresso, your choice of milk, and cinnamon-infused chocolate typically used to make Mexican hot chocolate.

This first-gen, Latinx-owned business in Huntington Park makes homemade agua frescas and ciabatta breakfast sandwiches that would go well with a plush chair and The New Yorker's cartoon section. Their café de olla has plenty of aromatic cinnamon and sweet piloncillo, an unrefined cane sugar with a molasses-like flavor. Everything bubbles together in a pot until the brew becomes a little spicy and a little sweet at the same time.

Cafe Santo does hot chocolate the Oaxacan way, which is about 800% better than your Starbucks hot cocoa. At this Montebello coffee window, you can substitute a morning double shot with cacao-based drinks that get frothed until they're creamy like thick espresso. There's the semi-amargo with hints of cane sugar and cinnamon and the nuez that's flavored with walnuts. But the closest thing to a strong coffee is the simple xoco shot that packs a bitter, earthy punch to shock the system. There's also plenty of coffee, too, all of which is ethically sourced from Oaxaca, Chiapas, Guatemala, and Colombia. 

Go past the flower shops and quinceñera dresses inside Centro Magno (a Boyle Heights mini-mall), and you'll find Picaresca Barra de Coffee at the very back. Picaresca ethically sources its coffee beans from Mexico, Colombia, and Ethiopia and roasts them locally for optimal freshness. You'll find all of the usual coffee drinks on the menu, but the signature is the cafe de olla latte that's sweetened with a housemade syrup made of orange peel, cinnamon, and star anise. There are a handful of tables in the market where you can drink your coffee and eat a chile relleno-stuffed burrito or eggy breakfast sando with smoky-sweet mulato chile jam. 

Tropicana Bakery isn't the Madrazo family's first business. They previously ran a chain of Eastside chicken restaurants called Los Pollos back in the 90s. You can still find plenty of pollo on the lunch menu here, but we come for the guava and cheese pastelitos and strong Cuban coffee. Besides the creamy cortaditos and dark roast espresso to power you through the morning, try the Cuban iced coffee. It's like the lovechild between an iced latte and a frappe. Cuban espresso gets whipped with sugar until it's frothy and then poured over ice and your choice of milk.

Right off the Promenade in downtown Long Beach, you'll find Recreational Coffee's slow pour-overs and booming punk, reggaeton, and hip hop. The coffee here is ethically sourced and comes in a wide variety of roasts, like the Ethiopian blend that tastes a little like lemongrass and pineapple. But their menu also has plenty of reimagined coffee classics. If you're into sweet stuff, there's a sea salt affogato with three vanilla scoops, rich espresso, and a chocolate sea salt topping that adds savory crunch. If you aren't looking for dessert, try the hoppy iced coffee flavored with Wai-Iti New Zealand hops that tastes like Happy Hour.

The Boy & The Bear owner Andres Piñeros began working in coffee back in 2012 in his native Colombia, starting the business as a pop-up before opening a brick-and-mortar here in LA. The Boy & The Bear serves 100% Colombian coffees in three different locations that look like design stores. The shop's beans are directly sourced from the farmers and then roasted using two different techniques. The result tastes a little like berries. Drink it as a smooth Gibraltar, a.k.a. the perfect ratio of milk to espresso, or try the café con panna, a double shot with a dollop of whipped cream on top.

$$$$Perfect For:Coffee & A Light Bite

Santa Monica's Café Bolivar specializes in breakfast arepas. These corn masa cakes are subtly sweet, dense, and stuffed with things like meat, cheese, and creamy avocado. Our favorite is the pulled pork: golden masa filled with pork shoulder that's been slow-cooked for nine hours in a tomato-based sauce, seasoned with Caribbean spices, and topped off with cilantro and pickled red onions. Arepas come two per order and go great with a double shot of espresso mixed with condensed milk.

While this place was acquired back in 2019 by the owners of El Cochinito, Café Tropical has been caffeinating Silver Lake for decades. They still serve their famous Cuban coffee, medianoche sandwiches, and delicious pastelitos just as they always have. If you wander in at 7am in need of espresso and pastry comfort, order a strong cortadito and their signature guava cheese turnover. The cortadito is a 1:1 ratio of milk and espresso, making it less heavy than your typical latte, but not as bold as a pure double shot. The turnover comes with a deep golden crust. It's creamy, sweet, slightly tart, and our ideal way to start the day.

photo credit: La Tierra Mia Coffee


Tierra Mia Coffee


Think of your top three favorite Latin American desserts and chances are Tierra Mia already has an iced coffee version of each of them. This California chain has now expanded to 13 locations after its original South Gate shop opened in 2008. Come for drinks like creamy horchata frappes, pistachio cold brew, and a super-rich chocolate mexicano de Guadalajara. This mocha coffee is lightyears away from your average chocolate syrup-infused drink and packs an intense peanut and cacao flavor. And if you're in the mood for an incredible pastry crossover event, get a churro muffin.

There’s a reason why La Monarca is one of LA’s best panaderías. Their shops greet you with the smell of sugary pan dulce. Homemade conchas and flaky orejas disintegrate in warm coffee. And, most importantly, La Monarca is that reliable friend who's always there for us (mainly because they now have 12 locations across the city). No matter which one you visit, you'll walk out with freshly baked pan dulce, good café de olla and rich, bitter Oaxacan espresso.

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