Family and cultural traditions from Mexico and Colombia are converging around coffee in St. Louis, where La Finca Coffee‘s second location is now open.
Colombian-style tinto made from black coffee with brown sugar and the Mexican-style cinnamon and piloncillo coffee treat Cafe de Olla reflect the international dimension of La Finca Coffee’s menu.
Coffees for those and other drinks are roasted by La Finca on a 10-kilo-capacity Mill City Roasters machine at a 1,000-square-foot roastery near the brand’s original cafe in Eureka, just west of the city.
Located in The Grove district of the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood of the city proper, the new 1,300-square-foot shop includes cultural touchstones beyond coffee, including framed art pieces and a permanent mural from La Finca Co-Owner Alejandra Hagedorn and her Colombian father.
Tortas and the salsas served with them are made according to La Finca Coffee Co-Owner and Roaster John Hagedorn’s grandmother’s recipe from Mexico.
“My grandma back in Mexico had a stand where she sold tortas, and it was a popular place in the town,” John Hagedorn told Daily Coffee News. “Then my mom opened up a place in St. Louis 20 some odd years ago when I was younger. It was a family-run restaurant for about 10 years. Those recipes are passed down from generations.”
Alejandra Hagedorn’s stepfather, who runs a restaurant in Colombia, has shared recipes for arepas that will also be coming to La Finca.
Meanwhile, a 3-group Kees van der Westen Mirage espresso machine powers espresso preparation alongside drip coffee and other beverage options.
Also in St. Louis, the Hagedorns expanded upon the vibe set at original Eureka location, which was inspired by a cafe they visited in Colombia. While the original maintains earthy warmth through lots of wooden surfaces, leafy plants, a record player and a manual lever espresso machine, the new shop emphasizes brightness and modernity.
“What we did with the second location is we tried to keep that Latin feel but veered away from the rustic and went more for the modern tropical, like a nice resort in Cancun or Colombia,” said John Hagedorn. “Bright colors, lots of vegetation, a modern feel but it’s still very Latin.”
On the coffee front, the Hagedorns may soon be expanding their roasting capacity to meet demand in the cafes and from wholesale clients. One possible avenue of coffee expansion may come from Colombia, where Alejandra’s cousin operates a coffee farm.
“If we work something out with her cousin, my dream is to someday have just Colombian coffees, and instead of focusing on origins, it’d be cool to focus on the varieties,” said John Hagedorn. “Having the customers taste the difference in the varieties, and maybe even just wildly different processing methods — anaerobic fermentation, natural process, washed, honey, all these things.”
For now, La Finca will focus on incorporating more family recipes into the kitchen, finishing Alejandra Hagedorn’s new mural and experimenting with new drinks and mocktails.
La Finca Coffee is now open at 4440 Manchester Ave. in St. Louis. Tell DCN’s editors about your new coffee shop or roastery here.
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Howard Bryman is the associate editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. He is based in Portland, Oregon.