Annenberg Radio

Exploring coffee shops in South Los Angeles

With International Coffee Day around the corner, we talked to two coffee shops and asked why coffee is special to them and their communities.

"A photo of a barista whipping up a beverage at Nimbus Coffee."

Coffee takes a large part of Angelenos daily lives. Because of this, there is a diverse culture around drinking it; from casual drinkers, to those who do it for a more personal purpose. International Coffee Day is a moment to cherish everyone on this spectrum. Hao Xu has the story.

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We talked to two coffee shops and asked about their story with coffee. Why coffee is special to them and why coffee is special to their communities.

Jon Kinnard, the founder and CEO of Black and Latino owned Coffee Del Mundo based in South L.A., believes drinking coffee is not only a relaxation, but also an activity that brings people together.

JON KINNARD: Coffee is important to me because it’s just such a connecter of communities, of people, of different backgrounds and places. Everyone wants to drink and taste something warm and you’re normally sitting at a table and a table is not normally built for one person. So it really provides a soft way to engage other people and really disarm people because everyone can relate to enjoying a cup of coffee.

Perceptions of coffee culture, especially in Los Angeles, is generally white oriented. But there are those like Jon who look at coffee’s origins to show a more inclusive story about the drink and those who consume it.

KINNARD: We work directly with small farms around the world. What we really pride ourselves on is to showcase that coffee is not a European thing, is actually a Central American thing, is actually an African thing. Right. And that’s where the regions of where it can even grow. And so what’s absolutely important is to understand where my coffee is coming from specifically.

During his work, Jon realized that there are people out there, just like him, who have sensitive stomachs. So, he decided to make a coffee shop that can suit everyone’s diet.

KINNARD: Why don’t I create one that’s designed for my diets? Because not everyone is from Europe and not everyone can ingest milk and dairy. And so Coffee Del Mundo where 100% plant based and everything on our menu is designed for the diets of people of color.

Sometimes, Angelenos take coffee drinking above and beyond sipping a cup to get you through the day. More often that you think, coffee is a magical experience for many of us.

Beverly Fuscus is going to introduce Nimbus Coffee, a whimsical space located in DTLA that makes unique-tasting coffee. There is a fantasy theme that comes straight out of a children’s novel. Here, wizards can order the brews from a spell-book.

BEVERLY FUSCUS: This is gonna sound really cheesy, but something really magical. It’s a magical substance that can be enjoyed by anyone. It could be simple, but it could also be made really complex and anyone can enjoy it. I think it’s an element that can be key in a community. We like to make that middle ground where we educate people about what kind of coffee there is with the different tastes. And then how do different people make it and enjoy coffee.

In this International Coffee Day, we have options, from casual to the magical, from South L.A. to Downtown, whichever where you go, you will know where to get a good cup of joe.