Whether you are commuting to work or craving an ice coffee, the coffee scene in Chicago is sure to satisfy your cravings.

Chicago’s coffee scene is increasingly seeing an emergence of Black and Latino owned coffee shops. The rise of these local coffee shops comes from people seeking collaborative spaces in their communities.

“We said, why not have a space dedicated to co-working but also facilitates with high speed internet and a space for people to meet?,” says Nikki Bravo, Co-founder of Momentum Coffee.

Along with her husband Tracy Powell, Momentum Coffee opened in May of 2020 during the pandemic in the South Loop in Chicago, 2119 South State Street.

They had planned to open in March of 2020 but due to the pandemic they waited for about a month until they found a solution that would help them operate safely.

Since their opening, Momentum Coffee operates Blue Lacuna Coworking Space in Pilsen and recently opened Momentum Coffee and Coworking as its newest coffee shop in South Loop, Chicago.

Bravo says the rise of predominantly Black and Latino owned coffee shops is due to the yearning of intentional spaces in communities. A space that’s welcoming for people to come together to share, create, and collaborate.

“It’s exciting to us that the space can appeal to so many different people and still meet all of those people’s needs,” says Bravo.

Momentum Coffee has worked with local roasters like Dark Matter Coffee, a Latino owned coffee shop that has partnerships with farmers in Latin America that transport coffee beans.

Whitney Hampton, operations and planning for Sip and Savor, says the increase is directly related to the visibility of coffee shops in general.

“Black people as a community or as a culture enjoy communing in general. So to have a place that actually speaks to your culture is more inviting, more warm,” says Hampton.

Sip and Savor not only serves coffee but they also host events for the community. They provide resources to emerging entrepreneurs and business owners.

“The biggest challenge for Black owned businesses is accessing capital. Typically we are not able to use the same or the typical ways to finance,” says Hampton. “We have to find methods to creatively finance our businesses. Sometimes it involves using our own money or group economics.”

Sip and Savor have been in the coffee industry for 18 year and their mission has been to cater not only local coffee but to be a hub for the next generation of entrepreneurs. 

They host events like building blocks of business panels, which are geared towards small business owners to give them access to resources regarding marketing, branding and accounting.

“We want to curate an experience. We have tried to pave a way. We want to push the industry to be inclusive,” says Hampton.

Eleazar Delgado, owner of Cafe Jumping Bean and L Cafecito Jumping Bean has the same vision as Momentum Coffee and Sip and Savor, to be a safe space where people can collaborate and enjoy a local cup of coffee.

Cafe Jumping Bean’s original location is 28 years old and the L Cafecito is five years old. Delgado says his expertise in the industry has appointed him to be a person of reference for emerging coffee shops.

“I’ve always wanted to be that person going into the coffee industry. Someone people can reach out to,” says Delgado.

He has a close relationship with his coffee roaster and through them he gets to network with other people. Delgado says he is also a coffee connoisseur who enjoys checking out other coffee shops. This then leads to building relationships.

In the Latino community in specific Delgado says people are looking for new avenues to explore and small businesses have been that pathway for younger generations who want to become their own boss.

“Many of the now emerging Latino coffee shop owners were once my clients,” says Delgado. “It makes me feel good to help people out. It’s the small things that make an impact. It’s important to see representation in the coffee industry.”

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