Wood Coffee Co. is not your average caffeine destination.
If you like watching RuPaul’s Drag Race, drinking oat milk lattes, and meeting like-minded people, Wood Coffee Co. is your paradise! This vegan coffee shop builds up the LGBTQ+ community—beyond serving delicious lattes. It is home to regular events designed to offer a safe space for Queer people and support other local businesses.
Queer-Owned Wood Coffee Co.
The Queer-owned Wood Coffee Co. is the brainchild of Texas-native Nolan Wood. He’s worked in the coffee scene for over a decade and has a knack for making people’s day. Six years ago, Wood moved to Southern California with dreams of opening a vegan coffee shop. And in December of 2021, Wood Coffee Co. debuted.
“After various business planning moments at shops all over, I grew to admire the Long Beach community for how “little big city” it feels. The place the shop is located at was only the second place I looked at. And I knew right away it was the spot the shop was going to be,” shared Wood.
Drinks with Oat Milk by Default
Wood Coffee Co. is everything we could wish for in a coffee shop! For starters, the drinks come with oat milk by default—at no extra cost. In addition, you can request various levels of sweetness and add pumps of unique vegan syrup flavors. So it’s easy to Goldilocks your beverage to be “just right.”
At Wood Coffee Co., you’ll find all the classic coffee shop drinks. We’re talking about Americanos, lattes, cappuccinos, and more. But Wood Coffee Co. shines best on the “Specials” section of the menu! It features a variety of innovative drinks with punny names. The P.S. Chai Love You, Cookie Butter Work (Latte), and Orange You … are a few current favorites.
Sweet and Savory Vegan Pastries
As a vegan foodie himself, Wood does a wonderful job curating the pastry case. You’ll find sweet and savory vegan pastries from Devi’s Donuts, Sneaky Vegan Bakery, and other local vendors. Wood told VegOut, “Our food menu is a slightly rotating variety sourced via different local vegan food spots. It’s really hard for me to pick a favorite because I genuinely enjoy everything in our case and on our food menu. Some days, I want a bagel and an espresso. Other days, I’m craving our Orange You … (tonic water Americano with vanilla, orange, and a dash of cinnamon) and a cinnamon roll from Devi’s Donuts.”
Queer Vegan Events in Long Beach
On top of providing exquisite coffee and food, Wood Coffee Co. hosts regular events for Queer people of all ages. There are TV and film watch parties, coworking events, and a monthly vegan market called Queer Vegan Club. Each shindig is designed to offer a safe space for Queer people and build community. In addition, the events often showcase other local vegan and/or Queer-owned businesses. Current collaborators include CutiesLA, Q26, Dear Mama, and Super Bloom Bakery. Wood also shared plans of introducing even more events, such as drag queen story times, self-help workshops, and community organization meetings.
“I think back on my youth and early adulthood and there were very few Queer-centered places I could go before I was 21. A lot of Queer culture is embedded in nightlife and is usually surrounded by alcohol or an age restriction for entering. Those spaces are important to the community but aren’t as accessible and/or welcoming as they could be. Being a coffee shop and not serving alcohol, it’s easy to have events for all ages. And also, welcome folks who are sober and don’t always feel comfortable in spaces where alcohol consumption is taking place,” Wood stated.
LGBTQ+ Business Owners
To fellow and hopeful LGBTQ+ business owners, Wood said, “Doing that thing that seems unattainable is possible, while it may not be easy. It will require a lot of work and unfortunately often a lot of money. But there are resources out there to support you. Start with the SBDC and various other free local [organizations]. Additionally, ask for help and find people who are willing to support you without seeking something in return. Those are the ones who really want to see you succeed.”