Playa Vista’s Cafe Ruisseau creates a welcoming place for customers to enjoy great coffee

Everyone’s business could use a little help these days, so every month we’re featuring companies owned by local residents or located in Westchester/Playa to help promote shopping locally and to support community members.

Here’s the scoop on Playa Vista’s Cafe Ruisseau. Owned by Edward Ackah-Miezah, the family-friendly coffee shop specializes in signature drinks like the Honey Lavender Latte, Toasted Marshmallow Chai and London Fog, and offers an assortment of treats, including vegan and gluten-free options. Next time you’re in the mood for a latte, check out this cafe which puts a priority on building great relationships with their customers, while serving top-notch coffee and drinks.

Q. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

A. I am a Brit, born to Ghanian parents and was raised in London until my stepdad got a job with Boeing, which brought me to the Seattle area in the 90s. Seattle is where I was first introduced to coffee, but more importantly where I met Brooke, my best friend and wife of 22 years. We have three amazing kids and a few others that we think of as our kids. We’re a fun family and spend a lot of time together hanging at beaches, playing basketball, taking trips and just being together. I think that the quality that we have together as a family is what we’ve been able to bring to the cafe. It’s a space where folks can feel welcomed and known and have a genuine experience that goes beyond the beverage we make for you. Being a mixed race family (we’re actually a “mixed culture” family since we all belong to the human race, but you know what I mean), we have a strong and innate proclivity toward inclusion and diversity. That being the case, 2020 has been a year of a lot of deep and moving conversations between us. Since my kids are a bit older now the conversations about the social movements taking place in our world have forced all of us to really think deeply, listen intently and be deliberate in how we act in the world and how we treat other people. It’s been a challenge but I think we are better for it.

The Ackah-Miezah family enjoy spending time at their coffee shop, Cafe Ruisseau.

Q. Please tell us a little bit about your business?

A. Our business has been around since 2005, when we started doing a very mobile version of what we have in Playa Vista. Essentially we had cappuccino bars that we brought to special events, bringing the entire cafe experience to our clients. We have done tons of TV and film sets including Spiderman 3, Dear White People, Bosch, The Bachelor, Iron Man, Mixed-ish and My Name is Dolemite, to name just a few. We’ve also done a zillion private and corporate events from real estate open houses to teacher appreciation days at schools. Everyone loves coffee, but more importantly, everyone loves being treated with respect, kindness and like individuals–not just customers. I think that distinction is what has allowed us to stand apart and succeed in a very competitive space like third wave coffee. We’ve been in this space here in Playa Vista since 2016.

Q. What do you like about running your business and being an entrepreneur?

A. I love coffee, I really do. There are so many layers to it and variables with it that make it something that can never be completely figured out. It’s like a good relationship, where after so many years you are still finding new things you love about it. I also love providing a place that members of the community can connect and collaborate. We have a very big outdoor area, very COVID friendly, that lends itself to all types of activity. It’s not uncommon to see friends meeting up for coffee or parents connecting over a cold brew while their kids enjoy a large safe space to run around a bit. We also have a dope wall mural that is a really cool Instagram backdrop for selfies. It’s a very satisfying feeling watching other people utilize and enjoy the space that I love so much.

Q. How has COVID impacted your business?

A. COVID had absolutely impacted our business. Being in business for the last 15 years, we’ve been able to weather a lot of changes and ups and down, but COVID-19 definitely feels like a slap to us. We are located in an outdoor cabana on the i|o Playa Vista business campus next to Tocaya Organica. Pre-COVID we had a few thousand people on the campus every day working. Now literally 95 percent of those people are working from home. We’re surviving really by folks from the communities around us seeking us out. We’ve gotten a lot of customers from people sharing about us on Instagram @cafe_ruisseau and showing us love on different Facebook groups. We’ve shifted to offering an order ahead feature through our Cafe Ruisseau Rewards app available on the app store and Google Play or through our website. We’re selling whole coffee beans through the site and a subscription option to have beans shipped to your house weekly, bi-weekly or monthly, or for pick up at the café, as well. We also have merch, so you can rep your fave little cafe with a hat or T-shirt. All of the ideas we had, but didn’t pull the trigger on before, we’re rolling out now. I think we’re going to be OK, I hope we’re going to be OK, somebody please tell me we’ll be OK!

Q. What else would you like the community to know about your business?

A. We just want folks to know that we are doing some special and magical things over here. We’re not going to throw shade at the other coffee shops around–that’s just not our style–but we do want everyone to know that there are alternatives to the big coffee giants out there. We’re here, we’re family-owned, we’re Black-owned, and you won’t regret spending your time and dollars with us.

Q. What are some of your favorite local businesses?

A. We love The Conference Room in Playa Vista and N’ice Cream is a favorite for sure.

Visit caferuisseau.com for more info.

Posted October 2020.