A warm and welcoming new coffee shop opened in the Mission this past week, first rolling up the gate on Monday, May 17.
Abanico Coffee Roasters is a wholesale coffee roaster that has finally opened its first cafe. It’s brewing and mixing specialty coffee drinks, using beans roasted in house, swirled with steamed milk, sweetened with piloncillo, and dusted with cinnamon. The space is light, cool, and airy like an art gallery with a colorful mural behind the bar. And two years in the making, this is the cafe dream of owner Ana Valle, who says she hopes to bring specialty coffee with a touch of cafecito comfort to the Mission.
Valle is originally from El Salvador, where she grew up sipping cafecito with her grandmother. “It was our special thing,” Valle says. “It was how she nurtured me.” She says that Mexicans, Salvadorans, and Cubans all have different coffee traditions, but to her, it’s a common ingredient and comfort that all of those coffee-growing countries share. Her family moved to Daly City in the ‘80s, during the Salvadoran Civil War, but they were always driving into the Mission on the weekends. “The Mission has a place in my heart,” says Valle. “It feels good to be here.”
Valle worked in sales at Levi’s, before changing careers in 2013 and becoming a coffee roaster and Q Grader, formally trained in how to grade and score coffee. She’s still wholesale roasting with a cottage license out of her home in the Sunset and supplying coffee to Bi-Rite and Luke’s Local groceries, and Lucho’s Yucatecan restaurant on Ocean Ave. Those with a nose for good beans may recognize her work by the dainty fan on the bags — abanico literally means “fan,” and to Valle, that visual was Latina, feminine, and another artfully crafted piece of her culture.
The new coffee shop will happily make you an espresso or a pour-over, but they also have a short menu of specialty drinks, which are in fact special. There’s a cafe con leche, sweetened with condensed milk and dusted with cinnamon, and a cafe con morro, infused with morro seeds and allspice. (While Mexican horchata relies on rice, Salvadoran horchata relies on ground morro seeds, which infuse a fruity flavor.) The cafe coco y choco combines coconut milk and a sprinkle of cacao, and the iced cafe de olla is sweetened with piloncillo raw sugar and scented with cinnamon. None are cloyingly sweet — you can still taste the beans, just balanced and layered with different aromas and flavors. And pastries come courtesy of neighboring Kahnfections, so don’t sleep on the croissants.
Abanico opened in a former furniture store on Mission between 17th and 18th. Valle first started chatting with the landlord in 2019, but between construction, permits, and the pandemic, the cafe took two years to finally open. Previously, the landlord considered making it an art gallery. That impulse was fitting: the space has large windows, white walls, and there’s also a big colorful mural behind the coffee counter, featuring local artist Jason Jagel, and it makes a warm and welcoming coffee shop.
Valle says she felt called to open a cafe to build a sense of connection. As a specialty coffee professional, she’s seen how the best beans are often exported out of the countries that grow them. But “why can’t a Latina serve specialty coffee to Latinos?” Valle says. “Why is there that food equity gap?” She says she hopes to build connections between growers, roasters, and customers, and serve a little cafecito comfort to the Mission.
Abanico Coffee Roasters is now open every day from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., starting with takeout and retail, at least for now. There is a bar with a few tall seats for indoor sipping, and the shop may expand hours and seating.