Folklores Coffee House owners and south side residents Tatu and Emilie Herrera were tired of driving out to The Pearl, San Antonio’s high-end retail area, for coffee that wasn’t Starbucks.
When the Herreras sat down to draft up their business plan two years ago, their focus was on establishing a restaurant but quickly realized the absence of local coffee shops on San Antonio’s south side. Herrera had been working as a chef for the past 10 years for Grand Hyatt San Antonio. Returning back from a vacation in Europe they were inspired to focus on coffee. Using his years of expertise he was determined to craft the perfect cup of coffee with a culinary twist.
“We don’t do lattes or cappuccinos, everybody does them and everybody does them good. My thing was, what’s the next step?” Tatu Herrera said. “Because in cooking there’s always progression, what’s the next thing? So, that’s where I come in and figure out drinks that go well with coffee and that’s where we started our menu.”
This is not your typical coffee shop. Someone who pays attention notices that coffeeshops are more of a grab and go feel, they have less seating and they’re usually kept cold to keep people moving.
Two things they wanted to avoid when starting a coffee business were an uncomfortable environment and limited Internet.
Folklores chose to call themselves a coffee house instead of a shop and is inviting you to stay as if it were at “your awesome uncle’s house” Herrera said. They offer both indoor and outdoor seating as well as board games and free WiFi.
Their number one coffee seller is the “The Siouxsie,” a Mexican chocolate, marshmallow topped coffee. The “Joker in the Pack” is a cereal milk based coffee served with cinnamon. Another local favorite is the “Sheena,” a banana milk brulee also served with cinnamon. In addition to coffee, they also serve bagels, oatmeal and pastries all with the Herrera’s gourmet touch.
If you’re interested in taking a break from hitting the books, check out one of Folklores sponsored evening events such as open mic/poetry, yoga and “Hecho in San Anto,” and free for all attendees. “Hecho in San Anto” is an open market giving small businesses the opportunity and space to sell their products.This event is held every third Saturday at 9 a.m.
“For two years I would do pop-ups to sell food to save for the coffee house,” Herrera said. “A lot of places were cool with letting me set up. But sometimes it was really hard to get into places, so my thing is that I want to give back to people who are trying to come up.”
Four months since opening, Folklores has become a beacon for the south side community. District 3 Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran, a frequent patron of Folklores Coffee House, said in an email it’s a valued business.
“Tatu Herrera has brought his homegrown talent, his craft and investment into a coffee house that is uniquely Southside and San Antonio. As a small business not only are they contributing to the development of District 3 but also providing growth and opportunities for others through their vendor markets and events,” Viagran said. “Folklores is a great example of believing in the Southside and creating a safe space for our community, especially our students.”
Gabriella Robledo, a junior sociology major, said “it would be nice to have somewhere that isn’t far from campus to just hang out.” Folklores is what students have been waiting for.