To Top

Meet Lilian Alves of Beantween Coffee

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lilian Alves.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
My family came to the US almost 20 years ago for my husband to pursue a law education at UCLA. When we first began this new adventure, our children were five and seven years old, and after my husband completed the program, we decided to stay in the US to give our kids a better education. We settled down in Los Angeles and were happy to be located in the heart of Southern California. However, it wasn’t an easy beginning, and there was so much change all at once…I tried not to show my children how much it affected me, so I would cry when they weren’t nearby. I remember one of the most difficult experiences being the realization that I could not understand what the teachers of my children were saying about them. I felt so hopeless until one of the teachers ended up purchasing an English/Portuguese dictionary to communicate with my son, and it was at that moment I knew things would get better – there was hope.

Some time passed, and I wanted to set up my own career in the US with my entrepreneurial spirit. I went back to college (morning classes were key for this busy mom!) and soon opened my own home-based Interior Design Boutique called “Alves Concepts Space Designs.” While my kids were away at school every day, I was having fun making people’s homes more enjoyable with my designs, and I learned so much about the American culture in the process.

Many years later, and with my kids now in college, the opportunity to develop a coffee business arrived, and I jumped at the chance. This transition meant that I would put my design business on hold for a while, and then slowly but surely, “a while” turned into indefinitely. It wasn’t a sudden change in interest–it was a decision I made based on my roots. When my ancestors from Italy and Portugal immigrated to Brazil, they started their own businesses as farmers growing coffee. I grew up going to my grandparents’ farm, playing on the coffee plantation, and enjoying their freshly roasted coffee every day. Those priceless memories have always been ingrained in my mind, and they were the primary reason I decided to pursue the Commodity business. In fact, they still serve as part of my motivation and a source of inspiration today. Plus, I’m constantly weaving my love of design into the work I do every day! From designing our website layout, coffee bags, and purchasable gift sets to setting up different coffee tastings and brand photoshoots around Los Angeles, I can put my talents to good use and enjoy both of these passions simultaneously.

After years of gaining knowledge of the coffee world, I can genuinely say that I am happy about my decision to have changed courses and pursue this path. Not only do I thrive in settings where I am challenged, but I am so proud to offer the best of Brazil’s coffee to people all over the US and introduce them to the arena of specialty, organic coffee. We are so proud to say that our Organic Gourmet Coffee comes from coffee growers that work hard to produce the best coffee for us. They always send me videos with updates to show me how beautiful the coffee trees are growing, and they just sent one of them making coffee in the morning at the farm. Priceless!

The process of getting the beans all the way from Brazil and into our classic black and red coffee bags for people to purchase off of the shelves is very involved. First, we import the green beans (unroasted coffee beans) from Brazil, and then we roast them in Long Beach, CA. I’m at the roasting facility every week to personally be a part of this step. Then, of course, we have to prepare the beans for each individual order. After our customers select their roast (Blonde, Medium, Dark, Espresso, or Decaf), they can choose to have their beans prepared either whole or ground. We love being able to offer options to our customers because we recognize that coffee IS personal, and everyone’s cup of coffee looks a little different.

So where are we now in our journey, and how far have we come? Well, we are excited to share that while we are still available for purchase in various markets, Beantween is also now being served in select cafes and restaurants throughout Los Angeles! You can enjoy our coffee at Sampa’s Pizza Cafe in Marina Del Rey, The Stanton in Hermosa Beach, Boccato’s Groceries in Hermosa Beach, Natureba Juice Bar in Redondo Beach, Silvio’s Brazilian Barbeque at Hermosa Beach Pier, Glowing Juices in Echo Park, Ritual Açai in Glendale, BMore Protein Pub in Long Beach, Ubuntu Cafe in Long Beach, and Caboco Restaurant in Los Angeles. One of the things that makes me the proudest is when the owners of these facilities say that they can’t have any other coffee than ours now that they’ve made the switch. It warms my heart that we are making an impact on both the management and customer level.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Beantween Coffee was born to the consumer in 2018, two years prior to when the COVID-19 pandemic began in the United States. We grew our business during our first year by selling our coffee to 20 local grocery stores in Los Angeles, including Erewhon Market, and hosting continuous coffee tastings. As you can imagine, everything changed dramatically when the pandemic hit…not just for us, but for everyone–both consumers and businesses were significantly affected. The pandemic forced me to stay on my toes because we had to make changes weekly, and sometimes even daily, to adjust to the new demands of coffee consumption. We were continually coming up with new marketing strategies for how to best market our coffee without any personal interaction and ended up turning to social media as our primary platform to connect with our customers. As part of growing our online presence, we developed a blog to help teach people different ways to implement coffee into everyday life and special occasions. It has been an incredible tool for us to build Beantween! From recipes and holiday dessert/coffee pairings to tips for staying caffeinated while traveling, we are always sharing fun, new ways to enjoy our coffee! Although these past two years were challenging in many ways, our gratitude for our customers has increased exponentially, and the experience has allowed us to grow internally as a company so that we can best serve the needs of our community. And I can’t forget to mention how thankful we are to our loyal online customers that have shared reviews of our coffee on Amazon and Instagram because they’re helping to spread the word and connect us with new audiences.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
We pride ourselves on being a woman-owned, specialty coffee company in Southern California. Some of our other unique traits are rooted in our originating as a family-run company, as well as a coffee roasting business. Our initial venture as Grower’s Coffee was importing green coffee beans from Brazil and then supplying them to coffee roasters here in California. We soon realized that we wanted more–we wanted to make a difference in the coffee world by delivering a sustainable, fresh bag of coffee to as many tables as possible. So, we started roasting Beantween Coffee and supplying it to local grocery stores. Our organic coffee is grown by socially and environmentally responsible farmers who practice Fair Trade rules to uphold social and environmental guidelines. We also have prioritized contributing back to our community by donating a portion of each purchase to a nonprofit organization of the customers’ choice. We believe that these factors really resonate with our consumers and make us stand out amongst other coffee brands.

We want people to know that we offer some of the best and healthiest coffee on the market. Deciding to work with organic, specialty-grade coffee is a choice we have made so that we can provide a healthy, everyday option for the drink we all know and love. When dealing with an item that we consume daily, and sometimes even multiple times a day, it’s crucial to ensure the product is healthy and high-quality. The process of harvesting specialty-grade coffee is above standard in that coffee is harvested by hand (being sure to take only the ripened fruits) and placed into a special bag called the “GrainPro® Hermetic Bag,” which protects against mold growth and insect infestation. Coffee stored in this bag is then secured until ready to be used and will digest much easier in our bodies. Beantween coffee is also kosher certified, which means that the production process, ingredients, and food-service operation comply with the standards of kashrut.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Small companies are always looking for support from consumers! My suggestion and hope are that, if possible, you purchase from local and/or small businesses that truly care about the product quality they are selling. Although small businesses may not be as familiar, they put in so much time and effort to ensure that they’re putting the best of themselves onto the shelves. We also encourage everyone to do their research on the sustainability of each company and how they are doing their part in preserving the planet. It starts with awareness and educating yourself, and then taking the necessary steps to swap out products. It can even be as simple as replacing your current, mainstream coffee with a sustainable brand like Beantween Coffee. And don’t stop there; keep going! We recently began repurposing our used coffee bags by donating them to local Manhattan Beach elementary schools for crafting and are so excited to continue our sustainability journey. Remember that no matter how small the action may seem, you always have a voice and the opportunity to make a lasting impact on the world around you.

Contact Info:

Image Credits:


Suggest a Story: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in local stories