Highlighting Queer-Owned Cafés Across the U.S.: Part One

Join us as we highlight one queer-owned coffee shop in each of the 50 states!

BY EMILY JOY MENESES
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE

It’s not Pride Month, but we’d do well to celebrate Pride everyday! You can support queer-owned businesses all year long—no matter where you are. Join us as we tour the 50 states and highlight a queer-owned coffee shop in each one.

Alabama: Coffee Mafia

Located in downtown Auburn, Ala., Coffee Mafia was previously known as Mama Mochas—a shop that’s been serving the Auburn community for a decade. Visit the shop for a mean BLT and a “daily special indulgence”: a daily rotating latte with surprise ingredients every time you order.

A lilac latte at Cafecito Bonito—one of the shop’s spring specials. Photo courtesy of Cafecito Bonito.

Alaska: Cafecito Bonito

East Anchorage’s Cafecito Bonito is the brainchild of Estrella Elizabeth Rodriguez-Northcutt. She opened the shop in 2021 with the intention of bringing the Mexican flavors she grew up with to her Alaskan town. Standout drinks include the horchata latte, cafe de olla, and agua de jamaica, amongst many others.

Arizona: Brick Road Coffee

You guessed it: Tempe, Ariz.’s Brick Road Coffee is inspired by the yellow brick road in The Wizard of Oz, making it one of Arizona’s only themed coffee shops. Centered around community, the café also hosts and sponsors a variety of events, including queer art markets, book clubs, and health and wellness events. Through these efforts, they offer HIV testing, gender-affirming care information, flu shots, and more.

Arkansas: Pettaway Coffee

Serving coffee by the likes of SEY, Three Ships Coffee, and Fidel & Co to their Little Rock community, Pettaway Coffee has become known as a place of community, warmth, and safety to its customers. The shop also offers pastries baked in-house by Brown Sugar’s Original Recipes—cue fresh pumpkin and blueberry muffins. They also have a non-alcoholic bar serving up drinks like the non-alcoholic Old Fashioned, which features espresso instead of bourbon.

Vanilla cold brew with pumpkin cold foam at WOOD Coffee Co. Photo courtesy of WOOD Coffee Co.

California: WOOD Coffee Co.

Located in Long Beach, a beach town on the outskirts of Los Angeles, WOOD Coffee Co. is a queer-owned and plant-based coffee shop. It has become well-known across L.A. County for its community events and impressive seasonal menus. Highlights on the shop’s autumn menu include the Fruity & Floral (an oat milk latte flavored with orange and rose) and the Too Soon (vanilla cold brew with pumpkin cold foam).

Colorado: Grounds for Dismissal

New to Denver, Grounds for Dismissal is a queer, woman-owned business located inside of the Denver Highlands office building. Try their coffee flight, which comes with four 12-ounce lattes infused with house-made syrups. The café also has an impressive brunch menu, serving up breakfast tacos, fresh pastries, and more.

Connecticut: Molten Java

Located in Bethel, Conn., Molten Java is no stranger to creative and colorful drinks. Standouts throughout the years have included drinks like the blueberry matcha or butterfly pea lemonade. The café also offers Italian soda (seltzer with Italian syrup and a splash of cream) and “Turkish cocoa”—hot chocolate flavored with vanilla and cardamom.

Delaware: kaffé KARMA

Serving as a community space for the cities of Wilmington, Greenville, Hockessin, and surrounding areas, KARMA is a coffee shop by day and a yoga/meditation studio by evening. While the shop offers any espresso-based drink you could want, it also has an amazing selection of food. Notable are gourmet toasts like the Shakti, made with local strawberry jam and salted butter, as well as wellness bowls and breakfast sandwiches.

Surreal interior at The 2D Cafe, featuring murals by artist Chad Mize. Photo courtesy of The 2D Cafe.

Florida: 2D Cafe

Filled with detailed murals painted by Chad Mize, Saint Petersburg’s 2D Cafe is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a café created to make you feel like you’re in a two-dimensional world. Visit the shop to indulge in an incredible food and coffee menu while being immersed in a surreal art experience.

Georgia: Finca to Filter

Located in Atlanta, Finca to Filter is so much more than a coffee shop. It’s a community space that hosts a number of exciting events, like drag shows and the Finca Run Club. The shop’s seasonal menu is also impressive, featuring creative bevs like the Rose By Any Other Name, a latte infused with rose and cardamom, or the Shut Your Piehole,” a sweet potato-inspired latte.

Stay tuned for future installments of this series, where we’ll explore more of the many incredible queer-owned cafés that the United States has to offer.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Emily Joy Meneses (she/they) is a writer and musician based in Los Angeles. Her hobbies include foraging, cortados, vintage synths, and connecting with her Filipino roots through music, art, food, and beverage.

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