Long Beach coffee cart lets you pay what you can

Cafablanca is a donation-based, social justice-focused mobile espresso cart that's popping up around Southern California.
LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Coffee for a cause. That's the mission behind pop-up coffee cart, Cafablanca.

"Cafablanca is liberated coffee," said founder Cameron Kude. "We are 100% donation-based, social distance-friendly, and social justice-focused."

Long Beach natives Cameron Kude and Juan Fernandez's original business plan looked quite different.

"I initially launched this coffee cart as a catering service for film sets and special events," Kude, who has eight years of experience in the coffee business, said.

But when the coronavirus pandemic hit, Cafablanca took a backseat. Kude said the retrofitted electric rickshaw, with an espresso machine built into it, sat in a parking lot for four months.

In July, things got rolling.

"It wasn't until after the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent civil unrest that I was inspired to relaunch it with a new purpose," Kude said.

At Cafablanca, customers pay what they can.

"There's a lot of houseless people in this neighborhood and so for me to make them an artisan cappuccino makes this so special," Kude said.

Following the massive Beirut explosion in early August, Kude and Fernandez decided to begin donating 20% of proceeds to a different humanitarian cause each month.

"This month we are passing along 20% of our donations to Caravan for Justice. They are a local grassroots nonprofit, doing a lot of important civil engagement work," Kude said.

Right now, Cafablanca is popping up around Long Beach, but Kude said he hopes to take his concept nationwide.

To find out where Cafablanca will be next, follow them on Instagram.

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