Words by Marcel Reyes, SDCN Blog Senior Editor. Photos by Julie Rings, SDCN Social Media Manager and Gan Suebsarakham.

Photo by Julie Rings. 

Photo by Julie Rings

Heartsleeves Coffee, located at 621 West Fir Street in Little Italy, celebrated new beginnings at their Tabula Rasa event on Sunday, March 13. Neighboring Love & Aesthetics' flagship location, guests are greeted by a set of bright turquoise accordion doors. This woman-owned cafe in Little Italy serves locally roasted beans by Swell Coffee Roasters. Event goers were served samples, introduced to the staff of friendly baristas and the owner, Brandi Kirschbaum. “Their mission and vision aligns perfectly with everything we believe in,” Love & Aesthetics’ owner Sean Barnes said, “We know this location is going to be big and they’ve only just begun.” 

“Being the owner of an independent café means I get to be creative all the time,” Kirschbaum declared, “I want to be one of the people bringing the coffee community together. There’s enough room for us all! A coffee network to support each other.”

Photo by Julie Rings. 

Photo by Julie Rings

Photo by Gan Suebsarakham.

Swell Coffees’ sales and logistics manager Mondo Rodriguez, and wholesale trainer Kevin Mayberry served several single origin coffees on pour-over. “We are a part of a movement,” Mayberry said. “Specialty coffee is prying into every mind. People are beginning to appreciate amazingly-sourced and prepared coffees. People that wander into independent shops like Heartsleeves are already taking a giant leap.” Swell Coffee showcased their freshly-redesigned created by Jared Armijo-Wardle, head of marketing at Swell and a SDCN alumn, who was also in attendance.

Photo by Gan Suebsarakham.
Photo by Julie Rings. 

Photo by Julie Rings

Photo by Julie Rings. 

Photo by Julie Rings

Nanelle Newbom, Swell’s director of coffees, thinks small independent cafes drive specialty coffee in general. “Small shops drive innovation and set the pace for the industry as a whole,” Newbom continued. By nipping at the heels of the big guys, and by setting trends that the big guys find too risky, they force us all to continue moving forward. Small shops maintain that desire for relationships, and are a place for the soul of coffee culture to thrive. Without them we would move rapidly toward an overly priced, competitive, fast-paced churner of numbers. The soul of coffee is in its people, and its people are all rooted in independent spirit, in the underdog in good arguments and separating from the pack.”

Photo by Julie Rings. 

Photo by Julie Rings

Devil’s Dozen Donuts, who brought a selection of their pastries as a complimentary treat for guests, joined the celebration. Their donuts are featured daily on Heartsleeves’ menu, a fresh batch delivered by short walk every morning from Kettner to Fir Street. 

Pop Pie Company's Steven Torres and his partner, chef Gan Suebsarakham, were slinging sweet and savory hand made pies that quickly sold out as a special offering at Heartsleeve's celebration of new beginnings. Pop Pie will be celebrating their own grand opening in Spring. They plan to provide a multi-roaster experience for patrons of their shop.

“We feel like we are a part of holding up the standard of a specialty coffee experience,” Torres explained. “It loops back to building lasting relationships with our coffee suppliers and providing an excellent experience where more and more consumers are choosing to spend their dollars at independent small businesses.” Their coconut creme pies featured real coconut milk and young coonut meat, rather than the heavily-processed coconut flavored products that make store bought pies far too sweet. 

Photo by Julie Rings. 

Photo by Julie Rings

Photo by Julie Rings. 

Photo by Julie Rings

Heartsleeves Coffee is open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Visit them for traditional espresso drinks, and their Alice in Wonderland-themed hot and cold lattes.

Photo by Julie Rings. 

Photo by Julie Rings

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