Black-owned Sip & Sonder has the tea for The Culture

Dec 4, 2021

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Inglewood has been part of The Culture’s global consciousness for decades. Generation X fell in love with Southern California thanks to N.W.A., Mack 10, and movies like The Wood. Millennials and Gen Z kept the sentiment going as films like Dope and musicians like SiR and D Smoke (along with their entire musical-ass family) burst onto the scene.

Whether you’re native to California, a transplant, or just feel like you know everything you need to because you’ve never missed an episode of Insecure, Inglewood likely has a piece of your heart.

This is where Sip Sonder, a tea and coffee house, was birthed.

Attorneys Amanda-Jane Thomas and Shanita Nicholas met years ago at the law firm where they practiced and formed a friendship. That connection led them to open Sip Sonder’s flagship location in Inglewood in 2018.

Sip Sonder Founders Sip Sonder Founders Amanda-Jane Thomas and Shanita Nicholas (Photo: Sip Sonder)

“Shanita’s goal was to provide the startup community access to business and networks while drinking coffee,” Thomas said in a 2018 interview as the shop’s grand opening approached. “We immediately knew that Inglewood would be Sip Sonder’s flagship home.”

Sip Sonder was created in response to Black and Brown people’s need for spaces that allowed freedom of expression and professional connection. Around the same time, two Black men had been arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks (for, you know, existing) as they waited to begin a business meeting. 

Thomas and Nicholas wanted to create a space where such discrimination was never a worry, and networking opportunities would abound. 

The vibe at the coffee and tea house is upbeat and lively. Guests are free to come solo and enjoy silent contemplation, or to laugh Black and boisterously with friends as they discuss who among them will be Black America’s next billionaire; all while savoring a Sip Sonder blend or enjoying snacks sourced from local Black-owned businesses. The cafe and roastery also hosts community events throughout the year.

For the curious-but-non-Californian coffee or tea aficionado, Sip Sonder sells each of its three coffee blends online, along with tea, gift cards, and other merch. 

Sip Sonder (Photo: Sip Sonder)

The roastery’s medium roast, South Market, is a Papua New Guinea-sourced whole bean blend with notes of caramel, orange, and cedar. It offers two light roasts; the original, called The Nile, that sources beans from Rwanda and delivers hints of cinnamon, red ripe fruit, and apple pie, and a newer offering called Native Reign that delivers notes of black cherry, strawberry, and lavender.

Tea lovers aren’t forgotten, as the cafe also offers four different loose leaf blends.

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Sip Sonder’s flagship store is located at 108 S Market Street Inglewood, CA 90301. The cafe expanded in 2021, opening a second location in The Music Center in downtown Los Angeles. According to its website, online orders placed by Dec.13 will be delivered in time for the holidays. 

Online orders can be placed through its website, and tasty inspiration is frequently served up on its Instagram page.

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