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Gusto Bread Expands Its Sourdough Panadería in Long Beach, Roasting Its Own Coffee and Making Hoja Santa-Matcha Lattes

Café Cuate will sell Oaxacan coffee from importers based in Mexico, a conscious decision by Enciso and Salatino to keep the money in Mexico, where the coffee is grown. There will also be an atole latte made with their house-ground nixtamal and a 'Xicano' instead of an 'Americano' drink, shaken with piloncillo.

11:13 AM PST on November 17, 2023

Gusto Bread’s new espresso and matcha-based beverages. Photo by Javier Cabral for L.A. TACO.

After coasting on lightly sweetened café de olla as its only coffee beverage option for three years, Gusto Bread, L.A.’s only sourdough Mexican bakery, is finally offering a full espresso beverage menu starting this Saturday, along with a specialty menu including a unique matcha-hoja santa latte and a coffee drink featuring their house-ground atole blanco, made from ethically sourced heirloom Mexican corn.

“This is a whole new exciting chapter for Gusto,” says Arturo Enciso, who owns the celebrated bakery on 4th Street, and his partner and co-owner, Ana Belén Salatino. 

However, the most exciting part of Gusto’s new expansion is that they’re going all in on their coffee program by starting their own roasting company, Café Cuate.

Ana Belén Salatino and Arturo Enciso practicing their new espresso drinks. Photo by Javier Cabral for L.A. TACO.
Enciso playing with his new Marzocco espresso machine. Photo by Javier Cabral for L.A. TACO.

The name of their new coffee roasting side project is inspired by the two identical coffee beans inside every coffee cherry when it is still in fruit form. The word cuate is derived from the word for “friend” in náhuatl and is still used in Spanish colloquially to mean the same thing.

Following Gusto’s mission to decolonize pan dulce from their European roots in Mexico, their coffee drinks will also aim to do the same. Instead of an “Americano,” they will offer a “Xicano” made with piloncillo syrup (from extra dark piloncillo Enciso's family brings from Tijuana). Their atole-based latte will also be the first of its kind in L.A. There will also be a dulce de leche latte and unsweetened mate cocido tea to honor Salatino's Argentine roots. All drinks will also be available shaken and over ice.

"We even tried to decolonize the flavor notes in our coffee a bit," jokes Enciso. He points to a coffee bag of their coffee grown in Oaxaca's Mixe region, where the first flavor note is "mango."

Instead of an 'Americano,' Gusto Bread's variation will be called a "Xicano" and will be shaken with piloncillo his family brings from Tijuana, left: matcha - hoja santa latte. Photo by Javier Cabral for L.A. TACO.
Oaxacan medium-roasted coffee from Café Cuate. Photo by Javier Cabral for L.A. TACO.

All three Oaxacan coffees that Café Cuate will sell are imported from Red Fox and Osito, coffee importers based in Mexico. This a conscious decision by Enciso and Salatino to keep the money in Mexico, where the coffee is grown.

This philosophy also applies to the maíz they buy for their “atolatte,” which is sourced from Tamoa, the only Mexican heirloom corn exporter in the U.S. certified a B-Corporation.

Enciso has been learning the coffee roasting process over the last year from Rose Park Roasters, where he is also contract-roasting the beans for Café Cuate.

A short-pulled espresso at Gusto Bread with fruity and sour flavor notes. Photo by Javier Cabral for L.A. TACO.
Café Cuate's three Oaxacan varietals of coffee will also be available for retail. Photo by Javier Cabral for L.A. TACO.

“Rose Park has been so supportive and opened their doors to me—I want to shout them out for making me their apprentice.” He rents the roasters from them. 

Just two days before the long-awaited opening of their expansion, Enciso stands inside the newly renovated shop that will now be double the size. (Their next-door tenant, an appointment-only boutique jewelry shop, moved across the street).

He is doing a blind tasting with four different types of chocolate to decide which one to use in their “Choco-Latte” drink; the winner was Taza for its fruity, not-so-sweet cacao flavor.

“This mocha variation doesn’t taste like your average sweet mocha, and it leaves you thinking as soon as your first sip—I like that,” says José Pereyra, Café Cuate’s head barista who will be leading the new espresso program along with Enciso. 

Inside Gusto Bread's new coffee and bread counter. Photo via Arturo Enciso.
Gusto Bread's staff take a team photo as they prepare for their first full day of espresso service. Photo by Javier Cabral for L.A. TACO.

Aside from the coffee drinks, Enciso will also offer high-quality decaffeinated options and a matcha latte made with hoja santa syrup, the primary herb used in Oaxacan cooking. Its flavor is root beer-like and tastes minty combined with the matcha. Enciso is sourcing their premium matcha from a local tea importer in Torrance, Den's Tea Inc.

Eventually, once Café Cuate hits its stride, Enciso and Salatatino hope to offer sandwiches, tamales, and slices of tortilla Española. For now, Enciso and Salatino are focusing on finally offering espresso drinks—all the better to dunk their radical concha into.

Gusto Bread’s new espresso menu will be available starting Saturday, November 18th at 8 AM. 

2710 E 4th St. Long Beach, CA 90814. Closest transit lines and stop: Long Beach Transit Line 151 - "4th/Temple" or Long Beach Transit Lines 91, 92, 93, and 94 - "7th/Temple."

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