Jan 3, 2023 - Food and Drink

Azúcar brings Mexican coffee and pastries to West Valley City

A to-go cup of coffee with "Azúcar" written on the sleeve.

Azucar's white peppermint mocha latte. Photo: Kim Bojórquez/Axios

Salt Lakers don't have to travel far to get their cafe de olla fix.

What's happening: Azúcar, a Mexican coffee shop, opened its doors over the summer in West Valley City.

  • It offers espresso-based beverages, pan dulce and ice cream.
  • Their espresso beans come from Salt Lake City small-batch roaster Logos Coffee Company, while the coffee for cafe de olla is shipped from Mexico.
  • Popular beverages include their Mexican mocha, horchata latte and cold brew cafe de olla, an iced interpretation of the classic.

Context: For Frida Guerrero, 24, who co-owns Azúcar, drinking coffee is like a religion.

  • "You drink it in the morning, you have it for a dessert/snack in [the] midday and then you end your day with … having a coffee with your mom or your loved ones," she told Axios.
  • She drew inspiration to open her own store after visiting coffeehouses in Mexico City and Dubai last year and she wants her shop to become a gathering place for the community.

The intrigue: At first, Guerrero was hesitant to open a coffee shop in a state where the the majority of residents belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

  • The church's health law requires churchgoers to refrain from "hot drinks," referring to coffee and tea.

Yes, but: Guerrero said West Valley City is home to a large Spanish-speaking community, and drinking coffee is an integral part of Latino culture.

  • The business also offers non-coffee-based drinks.

The big picture: Guerrero represents the national trend of Latinos opening new businesses at a higher rate than any other ethnic group, according to the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative.

  • Guerrero said it feels "empowering" to be a Latina business owner. She added that while attending business school at Westminster, she felt out of place as most of her classmates were white and male.

Of note: Guerrero's family is also behind the popular Mexican restaurant La Casa del Tamal in the same strip mall as Azúcar.

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