Long Beach, California-based Mexican sourdough bakery Gusto Bread has expanded its cafe to include an extensive new roasted coffee program under the name Café Cuate.
Between the remodeled shop’s almond-colored walls — where wood shelves and built-in ledges in indented archways hold Mexican pottery and brown coffee bags — the cafe features beans roasted by Gusto and Cuate Owner Arturo Enciso.
Previously, a Cafe De Olla based on a custom blend by local outfit Rose Park Roasters was the sole coffee beverage offered at Gusto Bread. As of last week, that menu grew exponentially to include a full range of drip and espresso coffee drinks, both classic and creative. These highlight an initial lineup of three single-origin Mexican coffees Enciso buys from importers such as Red Fox Coffee Merchants and Osito Coffee.
“For now I’m not interested in blends,” Arturo Enciso told Daily Coffee News. “We’re having incredible results with these as just single-origin espressos. I think coffee from Oaxaca is that way. It’s so forgiving, it’s so chocolatey and sweet no matter how you pull it.”
Enciso roasts Café Cuate coffees on the 15-kilo Giesen machine owned by Rose Park Roasters. Coffees make their way into retail bags or to Mahlkönig grinders, Puqpress auto-tampers and a La Marzocco KB90 machine at the revamped bar.
The Atolatte at Gusto Bread combines a single-origin Oaxacan espresso with atole, a traditionally warm, sweetened and spiced drink made from a base of corn and masa. The Xicano is Gusto Bread’s spin on the Americano, blending espresso, hot water and a syrup made from authentic piloncillo Enciso’s family members bring in from Mexico.
“I’ve tried to find good piloncillo here in the states, but it sometimes will have corn syrup or even coloring, and that’s just not the true product I’m looking for,” said Enciso. “I found it in Tijuana. My parents go pretty often, sometimes I go, and we always bring some back, enough to last a good while.”
Founded in 2017 by Arturo Enciso and partner Ana Belén Salatino, Gusto Bread specializes in crafting artisanal Mexican breads and pastries using wild fermented sourdough culture and nixtamal milled in-house from heirloom corn. In 2020 the company opened its brick-and-mortar shop in Long Beach, selling loaves, flatbreads, conchas and sweets, along with café de olla and aguas frescas.
The remodeling that took place over the past nine months added roughly 400 square feet to the shop’s current total of approximately 1,900 square feet. The new interior reflects the vintage Mission style of the building, as well as the owners’ personal Latin American backgrounds, which are further reflected in folk art pieces throughout the shop.
“My dad’s from Mexico City, so I grew up going there a lot,” said Enciso. “During Christmas time we would do a road trip from the Bakersfield area to Mexico City… The architecture there is something I’ve always loved. And then my partner is from Argentina; the architecture there is really awesome. And our building’s really unique, so we try to embrace the building.”
While Café Cuate expands within the Gusto walls, Enciso hopes the coffee brand will eventually attract audiences farther afield.
“Café Cuate’s mission is to support Latin American coffees and showcase them inside of Gusto Bread on the espresso bar, but also it’s a brand I’d like to ship online for other coffee enthusiasts to try,” said Enciso. “I see a lot of potential with getting these coffees to people who have nice setups at home. My goal is to get it into their hands all across the country.”