Compañía de Café: A Coffeehouse Like No Other

Sure, there are many new eateries popping up along Ventura Boulevard, but one of the most exciting openings this year happens to be about 20 minutes north in the city of San Fernando: Compañía de Café, a specialty coffeehouse and café inspired by Mexican-American culture.  The Scoop: The café is the brainchild of Gaby Arvizu, who was born in Mexico and raised […]

Sure, there are many new eateries popping up along Ventura Boulevard, but one of the most exciting openings this year happens to be about 20 minutes north in the city of San Fernando: Compañía de Caféa specialty coffeehouse and café inspired by Mexican-American culture. 

The Scoop: The café is the brainchild of Gaby Arvizu, who was born in Mexico and raised in the northeast San Fernando Valley. After graduating from Stanford University with a degree in urban planning and working in commercial real estate in Los Angeles, she looked at the neighborhood she grew up in and realized that her community had not changed with the times and did not have the same kind of shopping and dining experiences as other areas. She used her skills and knowledge to create Compañía de Café in an area of San Fernando that is now slowly undergoing gentrification. Gaby is partnering with Arturo Sneider and Bob Lustig who bring their own respective restaurant experience and Latino heritage to the mix. So far, so good—a second location will open in Southgate within a month.  Their goal: to create an engaging, respectful environment that serves to inspire, connect and communicate—with well-priced, creative food and drink symbolic of the culture. 

The Talent: Award-winning barista Percy Ramirez from Zagat’s most recent “30 Under 30” is the director of coffee operations and is known for his creative take on coffee. Executive pastry chef, Tamara Davis, made a name for herself with unique desserts at downtown LA’s famed Bottega Louie. 

The Look: The design of the towering space is modern but rooted in Mexican culture, with pink walls, Talavera tiles (a pattern that carries schematically throughout the food and design), wall planters, colorful bird cages, silver masks abstractly merged in overhead lamps, and a mural with 1,800 tiles featuring images of historical icons. There is a reason and a story behind every design detail. The space is loosely set up like a house with a living room space, mismatched colorful furniture, communal tables, a back kitchen with an open window, and a hallway with photos that tell its history. There are also single seating areas for computer use and free Wi-Fi.

The coffee bar.

Sit in different types of environments.

Peek through a large window towards the back of the café and catch a glimpse of the bustling cooks in action.

The Food: The pastry counter looks like a jewel box filled with scrumptious, colorful treats: galletas (cookies), pastelitos (cakes), pan dulce (scones), sweet and savory empanadas, tamales, tortas and quiches. There is also a selection of gluten-free options.

The Drinks: The coffee bar features Forty Ninth Parallel and George Howell coffee, as well as a Mod Bar set up to prepare single servings. There are classic espresso and latte drinks, plus hot and cold specialty drinks not found anywhere else in the 818—or even the whole of Los Angeles for that matter.

The Coffee Classes: Percy holds a monthly coffee class on the last Thursday of every month from 3 to 4:30 p.m for $10 per person. Reservations are suggested as the class is capped at six guests. These intimate classes focus on the art of coffee cupping (as seen below)—which is similar to wine tasting—observing the taste and aromas of lightly roasted coffees. In addition, Percy discusses the differences in water, coffeemakers, various coffee regions—and covers basically any question about coffee. By sampling coffees, he teaches how to identify and describe various coffees based on acidity, bitterness and sweetness. At the end of the class each guest enjoys a fresh brew. Free, shorter classes focusing only on cupping are held on the first three Thursdays of the month. 

The cold coffee menu features caifanes—carbonated, house-made, cold brews infused with agua de jamaica or tamarindo (above), as well as other house-made aguas frescas, blanco frescas and iced horchata lattes.

Custom-made coffee drinks are a specialty. A real treat are those made with house-made ganache.

All serving pieces are made in Mexico uniquely for Compañía de Café and are available for purchase.

Look for seasonal treats every holiday. These just arrived for Halloween and Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) and can be pre-ordered.

Compañía de Café, 110 N Maclay Ave., San Fernando, 747-500-7102

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