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LatinoLA Gets Xocolicious

Coffeehouse featuring organically grown, indigenous, healthy cacao-based drinks will benefit Semillas Community Schools

Published on LatinoLA: December 1, 2009

LatinoLA Gets Xocolicious

At XOC?ôLATL Cacao, Tea And Coffee House it's not uncommon to hear baristas say, "Would you like a shot of chile in your hot chocolate?" That's because XOC?ôLATL [pronounced "sho-kO-lat"] is unlike any other coffeehouse in Los Angeles; serving up intoxicating drinks like the "Xocolicious," hot chocolate accented with spices and chile.

Built on a unique identity around organically grown, indigenous, healthy cacao-based drinks, XOC?ôLATL offers spiced (and non-spiced) chocolate, coffee and tea with a strong emphasis on community, culture and education.

"The idea is to use an indigenous seed like cacao to begin planting a new future for Los Angeles, a city that is in dire need of cultural and educational regeneration," says XOC?ôLATL'S program coordinator Willie "Huitzil" Reyes. "More than just a coffeehouse, we strive for XOC?ôLATL to be a cultural center for the community; a place where people can come to discuss current issues, view contemporary art and listen to great live music."

What does Xoc??latl mean? Derived from a seed called cacao, or cacahuatl in the native language Nahuatl from Mexico, "Chocolate" comes from the Nahuatl word "xocolatl," made up from the words "xocotl" meaning bitter seed, and "atl" meaning water or drink. Chocolate, in its indigenous form, is a natural high, a healthy energy drink, and a profoundly important cultural beverage. Like green tea, the energy coffee-drinkers seek is reportedly distinct, stronger and healthier in traditionally grown and brewed cacao.

The concept for XOC?ôLATL was born out of a need to provide nutritious meals and generate additional funding for Semillas Community Schools, a non-profit organization that re-engages students with indigenous cultures. As state budget cuts continued to effect local school budgets, Semillas needed to find additional revenue sources that would make it less vulnerable to future cuts, part of the solution was to launch XOC?ôLATL as a social enterprise for community self-reliance.

"Xocolatl has been designed to reflect the indigenous heritage of our community, as well as the international mindedness of our world-class schools as a project to overcome the under-funding of public education in California," added Marcos Aguilar, Executive Director of Semillas Community Schools.

In addition to offering beverages and gourmet sandwiches made with organic ingredients, XOC?ôLATL ( will be a place to learn about native culture and serve as a stimulating international intellectual space. When a patron enters XOC?ôLATL they can select from more than just a latte, breve or espresso - they'll find a Xocolicious place to be!

Already equipped with free wi-fi, XOC?ôLATL will soon offer international magazines from the seven continents, superfoods based on indigenous diets, art exhibits, film nights, poetry nights and current issues nights to regenerate the community discourse and invite a broad cross-section of urban LA into a space of free-flowing ideas and edgy creativity.

The grand opening will take place from 10am ÔÇô 10pm on Dec. 12 at XOC?ôLATL Cacao, Tea And Coffee House, 4987 Huntington Drive North, Los Angeles, CA 90032 and includes feature performances by Quinto Sol, punk fusion group Ollin, urban son band Gabriel Tenorio y su Domingo Siete, lyrical MC Olmeca and local favorites Las Cafeteras. The inaugural event will also include spoken word by Poets del Norte and In Lak Ech, fire dancers at sundown, an art auction and booths offering cacao workshops, live mural painting and giveaways.

XOC?ôLATL Cacao, Tea and Coffee House was founded upon the culture, tradition, community and wellness generated by Semillas Community Schools and started with the support of the Cal State Federal Credit Union, and the guidance of Antigua Cultural Coffeehouse. XOC?ôLATL Cacao, Tea and Coffee House brews roasted and raw chocolate drinks and a professional espresso bar. Menu items featuring cacao include ancestral recipes, family secrets and modern variations. For more information please visit

About Semillas Sociedad Civil: 
Semillas represents two community-based charter schools in East Los Angeles, Xinaxcalmecac Academia Semillas del Pueblo for grades kinder through eighth and Anahuacalmecac International University Preparatory High School of North America for grades ninth through twelfth. Semillas students strive to become internationally-minded, culturally wise community members. For more information visit:

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