After opening five successful Los Angeles locations, Caffe Luxxe owners Mark Wain and Gary Chau are now serving their coffeehouse formula in Montecito. “It’s such a beautiful and inviting place,” said said the pair of owners in an email interview, explaining that it reminds him of why they started the “approachable luxury” concept: “to offer the highest quality espresso and coffee with a friendly and genuine approach.”
Coffee has always been more than just a pick-me-up for these two. “When you live in a very large city, it can be easy to feel like just another nameless person,” said Chau. “We grew to love that welcoming, communal experience of gathering with old friends, and meeting new ones, over a cup of coffee.”
After drinking many cups together during their time at USC’s business school, the duo went their separate ways in the corporate world. While Chau was visiting Wain in Seattle, where he was working at Microsoft, they explored Wain’s favorite coffee shops. The coffee was indeed delicious, but something was missing: luxury. “We realized instantly what we wanted to do together,” they explained. “Create a neighborhood café that felt luxurious while still being warm and inviting, to source and craft the best coffees in the world.”
For the next six years, they saved and planned until finally pulling the trigger when Wain found himself out of a job and ready to take a risk. Returning to their Southern California roots, Los Angeles seemed like the place to make their dream come true. Thirteen years later, they expanded that dream to Montecito, opening Caffe Luxxe on May 11.
As a “hello” to their new home, the Luxxe team created a limited-edition Montecito Blend. “It is an iterative process of testing, tasting, taking meticulous notes, blending and then re-blending, and comparing those notes against the goals we are trying to achieve” said the owners. The blend can also be ordered online.
The bright, modern interior of the new spot on Coast Village Road isn’t the only thing luxurious about this café experience. Caffe Luxxe is diligent about its sourcing, down to the plantation level. Alternating between farms in Latin America, Africa, and Southeast Asia, Caffe Luxxe sources its beans from growers who focus on sustainable practices, such as crop rotation, tree renewal, and complementary crop cultivation.
They’re also fostering mutually beneficial relationships with their growers. Recently, during a considerable drop in global coffee market prices, Wain and Chau reached out to their partner farms who were struggling to keep afloat and offered to pay above-market rates to help counter the recent shock. As they explained, “We feel that if we continue to create long-term sustainable relationships, all of us will prosper.”