I first reached out to Bianka Alloyn Brunson and Sabreen Naimah Wilkes of Oakland’s Cute Coffee a world ago, in December of 2019.
It was their aesthetic that drew me in. Playful pastels, hearts and squiggles, and shimmering holographic coffee bags. It gave me big 90s nostalgia, echoing Rugrats-era Klasky Csupo and Caboodles®. Cute’s design (by Brunson, who is a versatile artist) also surprised me in its contrast to the Bay Area coffee I know, which is often monochromatic, steely industrial, or minimalist in stark white.
I made plans to visit Brunson and Wilkes in Oakland, a vision that went the way of most expectations for 2020. In the odd months that followed, Cute evolved. In the winter their branding got even shinier, and in the spring they began to release very small-batch single origins alongside detailed farmer stories. In June, I bought some of their Honduran “Cute Catracha” for my Dad for Father’s Day. We sat on his porch in Forestville, an hour north of Cute, and fell into the coffee’s gentle beauty.
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