Anya and Matthew Schodorf founded Café de Leche in their adopted home town of Highland Park, Ca in 2008.
Anya, a Native of Nicaragua, grew up in San José, Costa Rica and Glendale, Ca. Matthew is an Ohio native who grew up in Ventura, Ca. They met and fell in love in Highland Park in the summer of 2001.
Over time they found their love for coffee manifest itself in the pursuit of their shared American dream, to own a little cafe they could call their own.
What's a 'Café de Leche?'
We're often asked, 'what's a Café de Leche?' '¿Que es un Cafe de Leche?'
Growing up I would often hear my mom tell all of us kids 'Pasame mi cafe de leche'. Every morning I would wake up to the smell of frijoles, handmade tortillas, and delicious coffee.
During my childhood I would often see my mother prepare coffee using 'colador de tela', a homemade coffee brewing system. It wasn't very fancy, honestly to me it looked like she was using a calcetin 'sock' and a little pot of water.
In Nicaragua, as in many other countries in Latin America, this system is considered the traditional method of making coffee. However, for the most part, Nicaraguans preferred instant coffee over brewed coffee. So I also grew up drinking the instant coffee, "Presto".
Presto was the preferred coffee of choice in our household. In order to prepare un 'Cafe de Leche' you must use instant coffee, milk and a bit of sugar. My mother used to heat the milk in the same small pot every time. We used it so much that it was stained black at the bottom, but it was our favorite pot for heating up milk. The milk couldn't be too hot or too cold, and once the milk was done the instant coffee was mixed in, along with a bit of sugar. I started enjoying coffee done by the traditional way when I was 10 years old.
Yes, I know what you are thinking 'Presto' instant coffee, that is a sin in the specialty coffee world but I LOVED IT, so no apologies.
'Mamá Rosa', as my husband would call her, is my mother. We named our cafe because of her. As the story goes, she was visiting from Nicaragua, and we were having breakfast and there it was, my mother calling out to my husband, " Mateo pasame mi cafe de leche". Right then, my husband looked at me and said, " That is it", "That will be the name of our cafe". Gracias Mamá!
Sometimes when I take my first sip of cafe de leche in the morning, as if by magic, my soul is transported back home. The smell and taste of this drink evokes happiness in me. The aroma of the coffee in the house flirts with my senses and creates a feeling of comfort, a feeling of home, a sense of family. The smell of coffee brought everyone to the table. It was a family ritual that I still enjoy to this day.
We hope Café de Leche brings the same feeling of happiness and family to you as well through our small batch, hand crafted coffee. Que siga la tradicion!