In 2003, Carlos Figueroa got a job slinging lattes at a kiosk in the Fox Plaza mall. Back then, it was just another beverage. He hadn’t discovered the magic of coffee. Now, he’s the head roaster at City Bean Roasters. You may not know the company’s name but you’ve probably tried their coffee. From Trejos Tacos to Nate n Al’s to Habitat, it’s served, literally, all over the city.
Before it was a coffee shop, City Bean was a twinkle in Sol Salzer’s eye. In the late 1980s, he was the frontman for a traveling circus. Tromping across the country, he noticed the burgeoning coffee scenes in Seattle and Chicago, which were teeming with specialty roasters. Los Angeles had nothing like it, not even a Starbucks, so Salzer decided to fill this gap in the market. In 1992, he and business partner James Marcotte opened a City Bean cafe in Westwood.