Less than eight months after opening a sprawling, Mexican-inspired specialty coffee shop in the city of San Fernando, Compañía de Café is bringing its horchata lattes, carbonated jamaica cold brew and brightly colored custom Talavera tiles to another one of L.A.'s densely Hispanic communities.
Located in South Gate's month-old modern shopping center, Azalea (and within spitting distance of the original Latino-owned, third-wave-coffee mini-chain, Tierra Mia), the new Compañía de Café is one-third the size of the original but no less dedicated to celebrating and elevating Mexican culture through the art of caffeinated beverages.
"We believe that the Mexican-American experience has been left out of many opportunities and that it would be only fitting that we would create our own concepts," said Compañía co-founder Arturo Sneider. "The U.S. mainstream market has had a limited amount of interest in understanding and investing in our communities. As the scale, power, accessibility and sophistication of the Latino community continues to develop favorably, so does our desire and demand for more diversity in our offering."
This means that in addition to the typical specialty coffee stuff — like single-origin pour-overs and iced coffee on tap — Compañía de Café has also built a reputation on offering a distinct lineup of fascinating Latin-fusion drinks. Expanding on classic coffee skills learned through years of working with Intelligentsia and G&B, director of coffee operations Percy Ramirez's menu includes rice-milk horchata lattes, spicy mocha diablos and a series of cheekily named caifanes (loosely, "cool dudes"), including a carbonated agua de jamaica cut with diluted cold brew, served with a tajín rim.
On the food side, Compañía also goes beyond the obligatory. Scones (called "eh-scones"), butter tile cookies (which mimic the Guadalajara-sourced wall tiles) and house-made chipotle pound cakes are all available from the pastry case. However, filling up with a decent meal is also allowed thanks to tortas, empanadas and salads — all overseen by executive pastry chef Tamara Davis, formerly of Bottega Louie.
And South Gate, which began drinks and food service over Thanksgiving weekend, is just the beginning of Compañía's hopeful expansion into many more L.A.'s overlooked Hispanic neighborhoods. Between Sneider, a developer himself, and a number of other partners, Compañía comes primed with years of multilocational operating experience, which they plan to put to good use.
Expect to see more of the brand's signature shops coming to east and southeast Los Angeles soon.
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"South Gate and its surrounding cities make up one of the most densely populated areas of the U.S.," said Sneider. "The Latino customer is very loyal and sophisticated when it comes to its ethnic palate. We know that in Compañia, the community will find great pride and a truly remarkable place to enjoy and celebrate; after all, that is what Compañia stands for."