By: Jacqueline Gonzalez Photos by: Rachel Benavides
Corpus Christi native Brenda Rodriguez is brewing up a new kind of coffee. She felt there was an unfilled niche for Latin-inspired coffee flavors in Corpus Christi, so when she was laid off from her job last March due to the pandemic, she chose to use the extra time to fulfill her dream of creating her own coffee line.
The inspiration came from a love of coffee shared with her dad – while visiting family in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio, they would explore different coffee shops. Rodriguez’s palate was introduced to the decadent flavors, textures, and tasting notes of Central and South American coffees, and soon, a desire to fuse Latin American charms with the delicious morning brew became something the duo looked forward to.
Unfortunately, her dad passed away three years ago, but with the creation of Café Latina, Rodriguez was able to fulfill their desire to share the beauty of Mexican culture and traditions through coffee. Using her love of these exotic flavors as a launchpad, she began to create notes that brought to life the traditions held dear to Mexican families. “I want people to be able to taste the flavors of our culture and enjoy the smell. I want them to know my background,” she says. Flavors like Pan de Polvo, Café de Olla, Mexican Chocolate, and Dulce de Leche boast a Latin-inspired touch that is reminiscent of her family’s traditions and those of Mexican culture. The notes of cinnamon, anise, brown sugar, and chocolate allow her to share the delicacies created by Latina grandmothers, with the nostalgia of fiestas and family get-togethers.
The packaging is designed to share tidbits of inspiration behind the flavors. For Café de Olla, customers learn that coffee used to be made by placing coffee beans in a large ceramic pot and boiled over a long period of time. Rodriguez feels it’s important to know this information to understand the hard work that went into creating these flavor profiles, as opposed to the ease of using a Keurig or French press today. The culmination of delicious flavor, nostalgic aromas, and the educational aspect of the history of the product help customers not only enjoy the flavors, but also appreciate the culture.
The best is yet to come for the Café Latina brand. Rodriguez is currently working on adding two new flavors: Pumpkin Empanada and Churro. She also hopes to place her coffee in Mexican restaurants, and eventually open a coffee shop in Corpus Christi or San Antonio. Make sure you stay in the loop on all things Café Latina. Great things are in store.