Cafe Dulce has stolen your heart and filled the void of your hometown coffee shop.

Mouthwatering Matcha Lattes. Decadent Desserts. Best Breakfast Burritos. 

But how well do you really know this delectable destination?

Amidst the Friday lunchtime rush, a man in a gray, coffee stained shirt emerges from the entry of Cafe Dulce. James Choi: owner and founder of Cafe Dulce. From the moment he greets us, it is evident that he is an incredibly chill, down-to-earth guy, who radiates positivity. While setting up a table of free pastries for “Feel Good Friday” and simultaneously answering his coworkers’ questions, he is somehow able to remain entirely zoned into our conversation with a calm sense of ease.

His poised, collective, and focused attitude embodies that of a Trojan Alumna. After graduating from USC with a degree in accounting, James worked at Ernst and Young for a few years. And when his mother decided to open a bakery, and her business partner bailed 3 weeks before the grand opening, it became clear to James that he would need to shift gears. He made the switch from financial accounting, teamed up with his mother to open this bakery -- and BOOM -- Cafe Dulce was born.

If you’re a frequent Cafe Dulce go-er like we are, you know that it’s more than just a coffee shop. Countless places serve coffee throughout campus – Starbucks, Coffee Bean, Trojan Grounds, and plenty more. But Cafe Dulce always has a line of customers spilling far out of its doors. Every cup delivers quality taste, every bite offers savory flavors, and every encounter leaves a lasting impression of kindness that embraces community. Cafe Dulce’s friendly nature, that magnetic pull that brings you back day after day, stems from the company's ethos. James says that Cafe Dulce is a place that serves "people” not “pastries and coffee.” It is a place where

“Everything we serve is only as important as the person we're serving it to.”

James actively builds a company culture of kindness that he hopes will inspire his customers to act with the same regard. When searching for employees, he looks for people with a “predisposition of happiness.” For James, demonstrating appreciation in every interaction is what makes a person leave feeling better, and this is Cafe Dulce’s ultimate goal.

So next time you stand in line at Cafe Dulce impatiently, stressed from your day and frustrated by the shortage of oat milk – take a minute to reflect on your gratitude, and show an extra bit of appreciation for this Cafe Dulce community that we are so fortunate to be a part of.

#SpoonTip: Be sure to rack up those points with their rewards program: 5-star rewards

Keep reading for an inside look at our conversation with James. 

Q/A with James:

How did Cafe Dulce get its name?

“Dulce is representative of the melting pot that is LA. Located in Little Tokyo, with a Spanish name, and serving Malaysian pastries. I also am infatuated with the word.”

Where else do you see Cafe Dulce locating?

“Norcal, maybe San Jose and Newport Beach. Ideally, we would have 10 extremely successful locations throughout California. More than that and we may lose our charm.”

Most photographed item?

“Fruity Pebble Donut Hole”

Dulce [dulse] or Dulce [dulchay]?

“It’s pronounced DULSE.”

Why are the ice cubes so massive!?

“Large ice cubes don’t melt as easily – so your latte doesn’t become watery too fast”

James’s Favorites:


Any Day: A Cappuccino

Warm Day: Iced Dulce Latte


Pastry: Guava Cheese Pastry

Salad: Kale salad with Tuna; add sundried tomatoes

Sandwich: Apple Tuna

Ultimate Combo “The James”: Warmed up Roti with a cup of Joe Pro Coffee

The Cafe Dulce *must try list*:


Iced Blueberry Matcha Latte, Apple Spiced Tea Latte, Rose Milk Tea Latte, Dulce Latte (this is a sweetened with condensed milk)


Roti Buns (Original, Mocha, Green Tea, Red Bean, Blueberry, Snowcap (with cream cheese)), Fruity Pebble Donut Hole, Green Tea Donut, Triple Berry Cake, Gluten Free Carrot Cake


Breakfast Burrito, Kale Salad, Pesto Chicken Sandwich

Check out the menu here.