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Tiny Mission Cafe Aims to Make Speciality Coffee More Accessible at New Location

The trio behind Grand Coffee expects to debut their bigger digs at the beginning of June

Adrian Lopez, Kimberly Kim, and Nabeel Slimi of Grand Coffee.
Adrian Lopez, Kimberly Kim, and Nabeel Slimi of Grand Coffee.
Andria Lo

Adrian Lopez, one of the three leaders of the Mission’s Grand Coffee alongside founder Nabeel Silmi and Kimberly Kim, says the barstools of their first cafe were wonderful — but the scope wasn’t big enough. That’s why the business will open a second location at the beginning of June, if all things go well.

The owners each have a dedication to uplifting voices in the coffee industry and their communities — Silmi spent his childhood in between San Francisco and Palestine, while Lopez and Kim are proud of their Mexican and Korean American identities, respectively. Lopez says that inclusive ethos keeps the trio hustling. “We’re trying to expand the original mission,” Lopez says. “This new project is a nod to that third space of the first shop, but we want to provide a more thoughtful, curated experience while keeping things affordable and accessible.”

The coffee shop announced its second location through an Instagram post in mid-April, but the word had been out for a while. The new shop will be at 2544 Mission Street, between 21st and 22nd Streets, and will offer Grand customers outdoor seating for the first time. New coffees, new signature drinks, and a gallery space are all perks of the second spot, too.

Customers will have the option to share a Chemex with friends, but Lopez is excited to offer drinks that pay homage to the owners’ cultures. One such drink will be a tea flavored with tepache, “a bubbly sparkling pineapple beverage,” Lopez says. Drinks inspired by misugaru, an ancient Korean drink made of rice and barley, offered with coffee or without are in the research phase; the drink will feature “ginger, jujube, cinnamon, possibly ginseng if we’re feeling lush,” Lopez says. Riffing off of that, a “mexigaru” drink will blend the grain-origins of misugaru and the owner’s Mexican roots even further. “I’m shooting for pre-Colombian,” Lopez says. Corn, chocolate, pepitas, and some of that leftover pineapple will join vanilla and allspice.

Food is still a bit TBD. They may have a La Cocina partner to supply pastries, but may continue their ongoing relationship with Oakland’s Bake Sum Pastries. Lopez says they’d like to have the supplier be an independently owned woman-led business. Working with La Cocina could mean the business brings someone into the business as a partner, or just that they would purchase items daily. “It could be cheesecakes, it could be something else,” Lopez says. In any case, grab-and-go savory options will come from a La Cocina vendor.

For the wholesale arm of the company, the plan is to keep roasting in West Oakland where the business has roasted their beans for more than a decade. Partnering with businesses to highlight their coffee is as important as ever; recently, fast casual restaurant the Grove took on Grand as their coffee supplier. They’re also supplying Rai Littlejohn’s pop-up Deathless Coffee with beans, too.

Everyone who has ever thought about having a coffee on Mission Street is welcome in the new shop, Lopez says. Erik Marinovich, a San Francisco-based designer who’s worked with Nike (and Grand in the past), will offer input on everything from lettering on menus to the overall design of the space. They plan to offer discounts to customers from coffee-producing countries. “We want to uplift folks’ everyday experience,” Lopez says. “As much as we want the well-heeled tech employee in the store, we want the tias, too.”

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