I first reached out to Bianka Alloyn Brunson and Sabreen Naimah Wilkes of Oakland’s Cute Coffee a world ago, in December of 2019. It was their aesthetic that drew me in. Playful pastels, hearts and squiggles, and shimmering holographic coffee bags. It gave me big 90s nostalgia, echoing Rugrats-era Klasky Csupo and Caboodles®. Cute’s design (by Brunson, who is a versatile artist) also surprised me in its contrast to the Bay Area coffee I know, which is often monochromatic, steely industrial, or minimalist in stark white.