This East LA Street Pop-Up Combines Black Metal and Coffee ~ LA TACO
Eare you a rocker? Do you like coffee? If you answered yes to both, you must stop by the new pop-up cafe in East LA, Mystyx kafe.
If you live or frequent Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles, you know the streets are teeming with the best street food in the country. You can find anything from tamales, pupusas, empanadas, esquites and the best churros in town at any corner of Cesar Chavez or Whittier boulevards.
But on the corner of Rowan Avenue and Cesar Chavez, Julian “Filth” first appeared to sell coffee with a Gothic aesthetic, on a wooden lemonade stand decorated with hanging bats, lights and figurines of. Attitude Era WWE wrestling stars like Kane and the Undertaker. After a few weeks he moved a few blocks to Cesar Chavez Avenue, between Gage and Record streets, past a local motorcycle shop institution, Mototecnica, where he hopes to stay for the time being.
Although there are a few cafes around the area, Julian strives to stand out by providing a different vibe to customers. “When I walk around different cities, I feel like all the cafes are the same,” he says, brewing coffee in sunny eastern Los Angeles. “They give the same ‘vanilla’ atmosphere. I wanted to start something different, related to the Gothic subculture.
Julian was born and raised in East Los Angeles. He attended Garfield High School, but after struggling in his freshman year, he transferred to Roosevelt – the rival campus. It was in high school that Julian developed an interest in black metal and the Gothic subculture. After graduating he worked in several coffee shops, from Tierra Mia to Kreation Cafe, Urth Cafe and Starbucks. “While working in these cafes, I would always come back to my area and listen to music while making drinks. I was in a black metal band and I also did a solo project.
[His customers] are the mothers of the old friends he once had, and it feels good to serve them coffee.
As the owner of the pop-up booth, Julian wants to connect his interests and provide them to the community. Having the experience of being a musician, he shares that making drinks gives him the same joy and joy of making music as before. For Julian, creating and naming a drink is like writing and naming songs. Asked about his specific aesthetic, Julian shares, “I chose the name Mystyx Kafe because I love everything scary, I wanted the name to be different and obscure, which also connects to the names of my drinks. ”
Although small, the menu is excellent and ranges from his simple black iced coffee named “Black Magic” to his take on the ubiquitous horchata iced coffee, called “White Magic”. It offers daily specials, strawberry and matcha lemonades, and a secret menu that’s only available if you ask nicely. “Everything is magic; the way it works! It’s so cool to see my coffee and the dark side collide. He makes it clear that he’s not satanic or anything, but he’s inspired by bands like Cradle of Filth, London After Midnight, director Tim Burton, and horror movies like the evil Dead.
Providing coffee to the East LA community means more than financial gain for Julian. He also hopes to show other people of color that they can make their dreams and ideas come true. “While I worked in all the mainstream cafes, I was never promoted to cashier, I never received a raise, but listen, I got promoted.”
What matters is inspiring and giving back to the community. As he sells throughout the week, he shares that the local señoras who stop and visit eventually recognize him. These are the mothers of the old friends he once had, and it feels good to serve them coffee. In a culture where instant coffee is the norm, it’s not easy to convert señoras by spending a few dollars on better quality coffee.
These streets are the roads I have always used to go to school and in life. I am the last of my friends to still live here. I want to bring something to this community… I was born here and I want to serve the people here. I want to give everyone the cup of coffee they need for the day. “
When asked why he chose his location, he shared, “The point is, I’m still on Cesar Chavez. These streets are the roads I have always used to go to school and in life. I am the last of my friends to still live here. I want to bring something to this community… I was born here and I want to serve the people here. I want to give everyone the cup of coffee they need for the day. “
Community aside, Julian shares that his girlfriend, Sol, is his biggest support system. This gothic little cafe is a show for two, and without her support he doesn’t think he could make it. Sol shares: “I told him: ‘You are an artist, you make good drinks, and that matters.'”
By combining the Gothic subculture with his passion, coffee and beverage preparation, he was able to make it into something you don’t see in a cafe. She shares that watching him do what he loves makes it seem like they both engage in mystical rituals. It is coffee with frightening spiritual energy. Although it’s only an eight-week scramble, Julian shares his biggest challenge has been the demand. He’s gone from ordering a pound of coffee to brewing for the community, and now he’s gone to ordering 50 to 100 pounds that he brews daily. He wants to keep up with demand but admits it has become a bit difficult with the growing support. Julian sources his coffee from Mexico, Ethiopia and Guatemala. It mainly uses light and medium roasts.
“This pop-up exists for coffee, to show the community that Raza can do it too, and for the love of the Gothic subculture.”
In the future, Julian hopes to expand his menu to include smoothies, refreshments, acai bowls, avocado toast and more. He is currently serving churro cheesecake which he procures from a family friend. Who wouldn’t love the cinnamon intensity between a churro cheesecake and a tasty horchata iced coffee? While there are plenty of cafes on the streets of Los Angeles, it’s rare to find one that runs on passion, all that scary, heavy metal, and love for the community.
Julian says, “I’m just a Mexican who lives in the East LA neighborhood. In the future, when I can have my own cafe, I want Marilyn Manson to hand me the throne, I want to be the next prince of darkness. The Gothic subculture is dying and we want to bring it back to life. This pop-up exists for coffee, to show the community that Raza can do it too, and for the love of the Gothic subculture. “
Mystyx Kafe is generally open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and then from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Monday to Saturday. However, check their Instagram to be confirmed first as this is only a two-person operation.
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