Primera Taza


Remember a while back ago when I posted my thoughts on Tierra Mia in South Gate and how impressed I was with not only the store but with the quality and variety of coffee they had ? I wish I could say the same for Primera Taza, but I’m being too critical of the place considering it just barely opened up on Friday of last week. So, with only a few days open I can understand that Taza is still finding its bearings and learning as they go. Having had a father that was a creative entrepreneur all my life, I know what it takes and what goes into running your own business. With that in mind, let’s find out what Taza has going for itself.

primera taza menuA basic menu that gives you a taste of what they’re about and personally I have a few hangs up with it. After a quick glance and trying to figure out what to get, the two lovely ladies working suggested I try one of Taza’s specialties, an Iced Taza de Mocha. Which is Mexican Cocoa, espresso on blended ice. I also tried one of the pastries they offered, a croissant nuked in the micro wave. For $5.40 I was left wanting more. Maybe I shouldn’t have had any breakfast first. Looking at the menu again, nothing caught my attention that made me go, “ohh man I wanna try that!!” – you know. The same with the pastries. Come on where’s the pan dulce !? Sure you have mini conchitas but I would love to see some of the bread I see at the bakery. Orejas, those strawberry filled yo-yo looking things, quesadillas and where’s the café de olla !?

photo-4Besides the eats & drinks, Taza is still fixing up the rest of their space next door to have open mic nights, art shows and other things like that. At least that’s what it says it’s gonna use the space for on the web site. “We plan to have the best coffee and teas in the BH, along with live entertainment and local art. You will no longer need to visit Pasadena, Monterey Park or Montebello for a good cup of Joe.” Hmm I don’t know about that. O.K. considering Taza just opened up, only time will tell if they deliver on that promise. It’ll be interesting to see how it grows and how they continue to develop their over all menu as they cater to Boyle Heights residents. Taza could be more than it’s planning by going with what works in terms of thinking with an East Los mind set. We don’t need a coffee shop that has cheese cake, fruit tarts and frappucinos made with Abuela’s chocolate; we need something more than that, like the stuff we grew up on.  Café de Olla and all that other good stuff like that. Taza has a long way to go I guess and I look forward to seeing it grow, hopefully not with my pansa but grow none the less. So don’t take my word for it though. Go visit Taza, check it out for yourself, hang out for a bit or read the paper like I did and enjoy the moment. You might be surprised what you get.

photo-2Primera Taza Coffee House
1850 1/2 E. 1st Street
Los Angeles, CA 90033

ph: (323) 780-3923

13 thoughts on “Primera Taza

  1. It is true that they should have Mexican pastries,so they can stand out from the rest.
    I will give it a try once the east side gold line extension opens- sometime in August.Hey do they have air conditioning?

    In the meantime i will go my my favs- Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and Daily Brew Coffee House in Montebello about 1 mile from me.

  2. Ugh…I hate it when a Café’s expertise is shown with blended coffee-like drinks. A great café depends on the quality of its standard BLACK coffee. When coffee is black you can tastes its freshness, origin, and how well it was roasted & brewed.

    You’re right, we don’t need more frappucinos. We don’t need them at all.

  3. The competition is going to come from Starbucks on 3rd St. not Pasadena.

    ERH is right – they need to go after Sbux Achilles heel – the shitty low-cal baked goods. The eastside has a concentration of really good bakeries, better than most of L.A. for Mexican breads. They should partner with one.

    Also, I don’t really know Mexican coffee aesthetics, but, it seems like a lot of Mexican food is sweet, and in subtly different ways. That could be a way to distinguish the cafe, by offering more sweeteners. Sbux has white sugar, fake sugar, and the quasi-brown sugar. In the SF Bay Area, you typically have white sugar, quasi-brown, brown, fake, honey, sugar syrup, and little shakers with mocha, cinnamon, and sometimes nutmeg. I’ve seen people drink coffee with corn syrup, molasses, and dark brown sugar. I’m sure you could drink it with maple syrup, butterscotch, and pressed sugar cane. (That would be a cool drink – pressed sugar cane. They sell it at Vietnamese food stands.)

    I’m with Julio about coffee. A basic cup of coffee needs to be available, and very good. I used to be addicted to Peets French Roast, black, sometimes with a little white sugar.

  4. That place looks pretty generic and soulless inside…when it looks like that the coffee and food better be damn good for me to look at those Starbucks wannabe pendant lamps!

  5. Congratulations on the long-awaited opening of Primera Taza! Finally, a coffee house for BH residents to go to without making a trip to Highland/Echo Park and support an independently-owned business.
    The space is going to expand and calendar events soon as explained by the owner, with a Grand Opening event next week.
    It’s a beautiful spot. Great ambiance with more seating than the Starbucks on 3rd and quality coffee and teas. I had the Iced Taza de Mocha on ice that had little bits of Mexican chocolate. Yum. The owner and baristas are super cool. I’ve deemed myself a loyal patron.

  6. good coffee is in the BH and East Los
    -the coffee at the bakery on Chavez near Soto, where Willie Heron is fixing an old mural of his, always delivers.
    -cafe de olla at La Parrilla and also at Moles La Tia is the bomb

    they may not be cafes, or have wifi, or fit that cafe setting where you can sit and feel, well whatever you feel sitting at a cafe, but if you are on the run and just need a cup to go, we got spots and more I am sure that I don’t know about. Don’t we all got somewhere else to go anyway? A job? I hope. Anybody got one? I’m looking for one more.

  7. I’m with Julio, the most important thing is a good, simple cup of coffee which means good beans and good brewing practices. As a former barista, I do tend to be a bit puritanical about my coffee but I can still enjoy a nice cup from a diner or other restaurant. I don’t have much love for “dessert drinks” though. I might as well drink a ice cream shake or something, y’know?
    Anyways, I hope this place gets better and does well.

  8. I thought I would see cafe de olla sweetened by piloncillo and some hot churros. I saw this at Cafe Canela in Plaza Mexico — Lynwood.

  9. I would like to say that Primera Taza has good espresso. The first time I went there I ordered a regular latte. I wanted to taste the freshness of the brew. I also ordered a vanilla latte for my wife. The espresso was nicely brewed, it had a nutty flavor and was not bitter like “Starburnts”. I notice places over heat or roast their coffee in order to give the impression that they are serving a strong cup of coffee, in reality they are only drinking burnt coffee. Coffee should taste good. The strenght of the coffee should be determined by the quantity intake (and the individual bean). Finally the milk was nice and foamy.

    My wife liked her vanilla latte, it was sweet.

    Sure their menu is not large enough to accomadate everybodies munchies, but they are growing and hopefully they are smart and do what is best for themselves.

    Sure, Primera Taza does not have “the best” coffee in Los Angeles, but it is above average. It is about time Boyle Heights is not getting something that is mediocre.

    The best thing about Primera Taza is, Whenever I am to lazy to brew my own espresso in my little Target espresso machine- I can walk on over to Primera Taza.

  10. I have been interested in this place for months, I’m very glad they finally opened. I will be visiting soon, but seriously I was expecting more of a ‘local’ feel with cafe de la olla and pan dulce done with extra care and served in a nicer, more welcoming environment than your average panaderia.

    That said, I can’t wait to try it.

    P.S. the best cafe de la olla is at Moles la Tia. Yeah, it’s $3.00, but it’s bottomless and amazing.

  11. I’ve been there twice and both times had Primera Taza’s version of an Americano (the Cafe Chicano–clever, I like it). The first time iced, the second hot; both times very good. They use good coffee, and the owner (born and raised right around the corner) said they get the beans locally from a guy who roasts right here in BH. The owner also mentioned this is only a “soft” opening so they can get everything working properly and the grand opening comes later this month.
    I say give em a chance and support local coffee and local business!

  12. i ask myself why do people have to be so critical
    can we just be happy for someone that opens up there own business. CONGRATULATIONS Primera Taza! THE OWNER IS A GREAT PERSON and Primera Taza will be very successful. i don’t know why people say that there isn’t any mexican bread because i always go there and the owner has a variety of pastries that are DELICIOUS…may i add that the drinks there are superb starting with the caramel blend, the ice taza de mocha and the chano chai latte i love the flavor of the drinks there. very tasty. The space is going to expand Just wait and see! with a Grand Opening event next week.It is going to be come check it out for yourself and stop hating…
    It’s a beautiful spot.

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