Moments of Discovery and Enjoyment – Welcome to Civil Coffee DTLA  

Inspired by the flavorful, complex cups of Mexican specialty coffees, brothers Alex and Alan Morales kept asking themselves, how they could create a specialty cafe experience that was just as memorable and approachable to all the folks of various cultural backgrounds in LA.

With previous experience managing cafes and expanding their coffee education in workshops in Seattle and Oregon, the two introduced the first Civil Coffee cart to the world in 2012. Three years later, they would open their first brick-and-mortar cafe in Highland Park in 2015.

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Civil Cafe in Highland Park was an overnight success.

Coming from a multicultural background with a strong focus on hospitality, courtesy, and service, the brothers were able to develop products that were sweet, balanced, and appealing to guests from all walks of life.

In May of 2022, Civil Coffee opened in a space formally occupied by Stumptown, pre-Covid. Now, in the heart of the city, Civil Coffee became part of the group of young, pioneering entrepreneurs investing in our community’s growth and evolution.

On the northwest corner of 8th and Los Angeles, sits Civil Coffee DTLA, an airy cafe with plenty of room to work, have meetings or just sip coffee and lounge. The natural lighting, high ceilings, and modern interior design suggest Civil Coffee drinkers are the hip, young coffee connoisseurs of the future. 

Visitors enjoy some alone time on the comfortable two tops studying or working. Others basque in the sun at the window sipping on a latte with a croissant in coversation, or have work meetings at the conference table. 

It’s also an experience close and personal with the baristas at Civil’s “gorgeous boy” U-shaped bar to talk about single-origin coffees or music.

“Coffee is that one thing people meet for, and we want to be that place. Now that we’re in Downtown Los Angeles, we look forward to building community and an oasis of sorts for locals and visitors alike,” says Alex Morales.

In just a few short months, Civil Coffee had become just that, an oasis featuring community entrepreneurs, civic leaders, and local artists and a space to connect with the neighbors and support up-and-coming “hustlers on the grind”.

Civil Coffee’s best sellers include The Figueroa and The Vanilla Oaty.

The Figueroa is a Vietnamese-like sweet latte inspired by their childhood. It’s made with Civil’s house espresso, sweetened with condensed milk, and topped with cinnamon and a Maria Cookie.

The Vanilla Oaty is made with Civil’s house espresso, house Madagascar Vanilla, oat milk, shaken over ice and sprinkled with Hawaiian black lava salt.

These guests’ favorites are just some of the offerings that have coffee lovers flocking to Civil, as the cafe continues to receive its fair share of positive feedback when it comes to its creative, quality-driven, flavorful beverages.

In addition to signature sweet lattes and food, Civil will be launching an expanded Mocktail Menu with coffee, tea, and fresh squeezed ingredients in September, presenting drinks such as the Espresso Martini, Cafe and Tonic, and White Russian.

The upcoming Mocktail Menu will present locals with another reason to meet and explore uniquely crafted beverages whether they are sober or simply looking for something non-alcoholic to imbibe.

“We’re really excited about a vegan Oatole that pays homage to a classic Latin American comfort drink made with GF Organic Heirloom corn, cinnamon, vanilla, non-alcoholic rum, and oat milk. Shaken, not stirred served over ice,” said Alan Morales. 

For home brewers, Civil offers a selection of Civil beans, featuring their blend and various Single Origins. Need it ground? They will take care of that! They also stock home brewing devices and filters.

Establishing Civil Coffee in Highland Park as a neighborhood hub – check!

Developing Civil Coffee into a homegrown Los Angeles brand – check!

Expanding Civil Coffee to DTLA – check! 

Serving one of the most flavorable coffees in Los Angeles and connecting with people has landed Civil Coffee on Bon Appetite and Eater LA’s BEST COFFEE BAR list. 

After a few sips, it’s evident Civil belongs on our town’s “10 Greatest Places for Coffee” list as well.


Author: Keri Freeman

Military mom and proud parent, artist, writer, musician and film maker. Cocktail connoisseur. Publisher of DTLA Weekly.

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