Daniel Olivares has watched LA’s transformation since his childhood in Echo Park. Gentrification has altered many areas, once rich in Latinx enterprise and culture, unrecognizable. One day, at a hipster coffee shop, Daniel was inspired to bring an important part of Latinx heritage back into the community.
Daniel looked at the Latin American coffees on the menu and thought, “Why are we not serving the coffee that our people are growing?” That’s when he decided to open El Cielito Cafe, which serves artisan coffee directly from Latin America.
Once El Cielito Cafe opened in South Gate, Daniel learned that many coffee farmers took profit losses from middlemen. He realized that he had to change his business plan if he wanted to be different from gentrified coffee shops. “That’s when things really started to shift,” Daniel said.
Coffee farms from Latin America started reaching out to work with Daniel through Yelp. Some of these farms were on their last leg. By working directly with El Cielito Cafe, the farmers were able to make the profit they deserved.
Since 2018, El Cielito Cafe has secured deals with farmers to have raw coffee delivered directly from countries, including El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua. Some of these farmers have invested in their communities, building clinics and schools in their small towns.
By representing Latinx culture through coffee, El Cielito Cafe is empowering the community, both in LA and abroad. “We’re investing in our people,” Daniel stressed, “The customers invest in farmers and their families.”
If you’d like to enjoy El Cielito Cafe’s artisan coffee, from their traditional Café de Olla to their one-of-a-kind Champulatte, you can order online on their web page or visit their location at 8015 Long Beach Blvd B, South Gate.
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