South Gate Coffee Shop Strives To Help Latin American Farm Workers


SOUTH GATE, Calif. — When you’re sipping your $6 latte, do you ever think about where the coffee comes from or how it gets to you? This was something Daniel Olivares thought he knew.

“I drank Starbucks and thought I knew coffee,” said Olivares, owner of El Cielito Coffee.

But he quickly realized he was not educated in coffee production and that most comes from Latin America.

“I’m Latino, my friends are Latino, there’s no representation, but obviously we are the ones producing coffee,” said Olivares.

In order to get that representation, he opened his own shop, El Cielito in South Gate. He said it was the perfect spot because it felt like home to him.

“The feeling of everyone saying, ‘Buenos dias, Buenos tardes,’ it was something I was missing because it wasn’t in Echo Park anymore,” said Olivares.

But once El Cielito was up and running, he really learned the business behind the bean. He says the middle men who bring the coffee from the source to the roasters, take money away from the farmers, so he decided to go straight to the farms.

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