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Echo Lake Coffee Closes Thursday, Tierra Mia Takes Over

The Diaz brothers pack in in after pioneering co-working sessions and not a few other changes at the former Downbeat Cafe. Roaster Tierra Mia picks up the keys Thursday night.

It was a little over a year ago that the Diaz brothers arrived in Echo Park to remake the stalwart Downbeat Cafe on Alvarado Street.

Sergio and Cesar took their time. They were sensitive to the area's attitudes about change.

They didn't change their name to "Echo Lake Coffee" for a while, and only posted an awning with the name in August.

Now comes this news, Echo Park Coffee Company will close Thursday at 6 p.m.

And starting Friday morning, Tierra Mia, another boutique coffee purveyor, takes over. 

Ulysses Romero, founder and owner, told us in an email that he signed a lease on the Echo Lake space at 1202 Alvardo Street Wednesday.

He said he's picking up the keys Thursday night. Renovations begin Friday and Romero says he'll pretty much be on site seven days a week until the place re-opens as the sixth Tierra Mia location.

Tierra Mia started in South Gate in 2008. The roaster and purveyor of Latin-style coffees has slowly worked its way north, most recently coming to Downtown Los Angeles at 653 Spring St. 

Tierra Mia's Web site says the company does its own roasting and baking. It also mentions that it strives to provide a setting that is "comfortable, contemporary, and highly reflective of Latin American culture."

We like that. We also like Romero says he's friendly with Angel Orozco of Cafecito Organico, another Latin-influenced coffee roaster that's had a postive impact on the neighborhoods it serves.

Tierra faces some competition nearby in Stories, Taza, the Hedgehog and Pazzo Gelato, all just a few blocks on either side along Sunset. 

Nearby business owners are watching carefully too. They know their foot traffic is helped when coffee drinkers come and spend time in the area.

It will be interesting to see how Tierra Mia carves out its own niche, but Latin-inspired food and drink seems one way to do it.

Tierra's arrival also reminds us how full circle Echo Park has come, already.

It wasn't too long ago that Cuban American gentlemen were drinking specialty coffees in what is now Masa of Echo Park. 

Click through to read more about Tierra Mia.

And see Echo Lake's goodbye letter in the gallery above.

Rhonda Reynolds March 03, 2013 at 02:19 AM
Actually the original Cuban American gentlemen from Carmelo's hey day - back to the 1970's STILL drink their coffee at Masa. : ) Really "full circle" - and we treasure them! Wishing Caesar and Sergio all the best! Rhonda & Rob, Owners, Masa of Echo Park
Micki Curtis March 22, 2013 at 02:05 PM
Tierra Mia is hoping to open up next week! Their coffee is supposed to be out of this world!!
Anthea Raymond (Editor) March 22, 2013 at 09:06 PM
@Yes, I'd talked to Umberto. Heard he'd hired about ten people, was looking for a couple more. There's more info about the Tierra Mia website: http://tierramiacoffee.com/Jobs_at_TMC.html AR

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