After months of pouring coffee at the Glover Park-Burleith Farmers Market and Sunday gatherings in their apartment, owners of D.C. specialty coffee roastery Café Los Sueños opened a pop-up yesterday at fro-yo shop Mr. Yogato.
The coffee pop-up, the second to occupy Mr. Yogato, will operate from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. Monday through Thursday. Café Los Sueños will sell cups and bags of single-origin pour-over coffee—and that’s it. Currently, the cafe has Ethiopian, Columbian, Guatemalan, and Salvadoran coffees for $3 a cup. Although the selection will rotate, Salvadoran coffee will always be on the menu, in honor of co-founder Carlos Payes's roots.
“We’re roasters, we’re not caterers,” says co-founder Elizabeth Ryan, Payes' wife. Still, they may be “persuaded” to sell or give away cookies with cups of coffee. “Having food ultimately turns into a restaurant, and we’re more interested in being roasters and serving delicious coffee.”
Café Los Sueños will pour free samples of their coffee throughout this week but will offer loyalty cards in the future with the promise of a free cup after purchasing 10.
Payes left school in the second grade to work in the coffee fields of El Salvador and help support his family. He returned to school at age 13, and, with the support of his father, became the first member of his family to attend and graduate high school. He immigrated to the U.S. in 2005, took his GED, and launched Café Los Sueños with Ryan in May.
“Café means coffee in Spanish, and sueños means dreams—this is the American dream,” Ryan says.
Because education played such an important role in the cafe’s story, Ryan says a portion of the proceeds will go to Cup for Education, a nonprofit that supports education in rural Central and Latin America coffee-growing communities.
For now, Ryan says, they are committed solely to the mission of encouraging sustainability and helping farmers in coffee communities to combat poverty, although a brick-and-mortar cafe is a possibility.
“We will have a coffee shop probably some day, but in terms of where our commitment is, it’s to get as close to the sources as possible,” Ryan says.
Café Los Sueños at Mr. Yogato; 1515 17th St. NW. cafelossuenos.com
Photos courtesy Café Los Sueños