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Meet LaNisa Williams of Barista Life LA in South LA

Today we’d like to introduce you to LaNisa Williams.

Thanks for sharing your story with us LaNisa. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Started in a coffee at Starbucks in 2005. Applied cause I needed a job to help support myself, I had just moved to Maryland with my sister. Worked at Starbucks for five years, learned as much as I could. Due to a situation, I had to leave. I then got back into coffee in 2013 when I started working for Peets Coffee. There is where I fell in love with coffee. I learned and asked questions took classes to know as much as possible. It came a time there that I started to see that I wasn’t going to go any further in this company. That’s when I decided to create my own businesses, Barista Life La.

Has it been a smooth road?
No, it hasn’t been a smooth road. I have had my ups and downs. Times that I wanted to give up cause I felt no one took me serious. I’m a 4x felon making something of myself and I would get looked at funny or engorged because of how others looked at me. Being black in the coffee community is not that common. I had a lot of self-doubt.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Barista Life La story. Tell us more about the business.
My company is a coffee company, we specialize in barista training, cafe opening, curating coffee menus, home brewing/alternate brewing methods, as well as coffee education all around. We are known for working with black-owned coffee companies and baristas. We are also known for launching #BlackinBrew which is a platform on Instagram that highlights black people in the coffee community. We don’t turn anyone away we make it our goal to educate and help anyone who wants the help or learn. One of our goals is to give those who need a second chance at life a chance. We Offer free barista training to those that have a background. Our goal with our coffee shop that’s opening is to employ those we train. Get them back into the working world. Let them know that we care about them if no one does.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
I definitely see there being a lot more Black Owned Coffee Companies. More representation of Black people in coffee/ barista competitions. I see Black community being build back up. We are slowly buying back the block.

Contact Info:

  • Website:
  • Email:
  • Instagram: @baristalifela. @hustlerscup
  • Facebook: Baristalifela

Image Credit:

Photo credit: Angel Taylor

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