Boyle Heights native Juan Romero opened Primera Taza coffeehouse in his neighborhood at the end of July, offering “quality coffee, one taza (cup) at a time.” The coffeehouse’s logo is a mariachi kiosk, in tribute to nearby Mariachi Plaza.
The surrounding neighborhood is on the upswing thanks to the Metro Gold Line expansion, LAPD’s new Hollenbeck station, the new White Memorial Medical Center and the new ELA High School. Primera Taza is part of a fresh wave of amenities that have arisen to meet the needs of a changing Boyle Heights.
“I lived in Boyle Heights for 30 years and I still spend much of my time here because of my family and my job as a Director for a local Community Center in the area,” says Romero. “It was just natural to open a business in the area to maximize my relationships and provide a quality product in my community.”
”We’re going to provide the best coffees, teas, and ingredients to our customers,” says Romero. He’s sourcing coffee from Yancey Quinones at Antigua, who’s roasting right in Boyle Heights. Primera Taza currently brews coffee from Chiapas, Mexico and Antigua, Guatemala. Romero is pulling shots of espresso on a four-group La Marzocco.
Romero sources baked goods from nearby La Favorita Bakery: muffins, bagels, cookies, croissants and Danishes. He plans to add healthy sandwiches (turkey and veggie) at the end of September.
“We want to create a quality business and a sense of pride that we haven’t had in this community.” With that in mind, Romero, President of Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council, plans to “engage the community at different levels, including live jazz and local art. Local artist and friend Fabian “Spade” provided the first art.