Meet the brother and sister duo behind Ridgewood’s newest coffee shop

Bryan and Suzette Siranaula, own and operate the latest coffee shop to hit Ridgewood, Cholita Coffee.
Photo by Anthony Medina

There’s a consistent pattern of coffee enthusiasts, roasters and baristas devoting everything they have for a chance to start their own successful cafe in Ridgewood. The historic buildings along Onderdonk Avenue play host to businesses that come and go, but the owners of a new cafe serving Ecuadorian, Peruvian, and Puerto Rican coffee say they are here to stay. 

Cholita Coffee, located at 866 Onderdonk Ave. in Ridgewood, officially opened its doors on Saturday, June 24. Co-owners Bryan and Suzette Siranaula, the dynamic duo behind the new shop are behind the counter, are taking orders and serving up a fresh cup of mostly South American blends. 

Bryan and Suzette Siranaula can be found at their new coffee cafe, Cholita Coffee, on 866 Onderdonk Ave, in Ridgewood.Photo by Anthony Medina

“I wanted to open up this concept of promoting our culture, especially in an area where our culture is very much alive. There are a lot of Ecuadorian families here, too, and they love this idea. They find out we’re Ecuadorian. All of our coffee is inspired by the ingredients that we use in our foods. Little things like candies and desserts,” Bryan told QNS. 

Bryan’s heritage as a proud Ecuadorian and his passion for coffee helped lead him to spearhead the opening of his cafe at only 28 years old. His sister Suzette, only two years younger than her brother, decided to also embark on their coffee journey together. 

Bryan Siranaula says he’s been a coffee drinker ever since he was born, but he didn’t start to develop his skills as a barista until after his time in the United States Air Force.Photo by Anthony Medina

As a United States Air Force veteran, Bryan used his time in the military to explore new places and career paths. Knowing he didn’t want to make the military his full-time career, he found his place in the coffee business. He says being stationed in Washington helped expose him to what could be possible. 

“I was self-taught. So for me, it’s just like learning from just sitting in shops and even Youtube,” Bryan said. 

All that time, picking up the new coffee habit paid off and it opened the way to finding an available storefront in Ridgewood. The co-owners hail from Astoria and Jackson Heights. Coming down to Ridgewood is worth the trip for the siblings, even if they’re up early to find good parking.

They obtained their storefront thanks to a mixture of good timing and smart spending, according to Bryan.

“Savings and investments and just the simplicity of it helps for sure,” he said. “I didn’t have to build out so much space. That’s why I kept it simple. Just coffee.”

Cholita Coffee partnered with Obscure Coffee Roasters, a known cafe in the neighboring Bushwick area, to offer even more blends that stay true to South American and Hispanic/Latino heritage.Photo by Anthony Medina

Coffee and community conversation are drawn out of customers from the interior decor alone and the selection of different coffee styles from the espresso to the classic iced latte. Cholita Coffee offers customers a standard Ecuadorian coffee brand called Choco Coffee, specially shipped from South America.

In partnering with Obscured Coffee Roasters, a neighboring Brooklyn coffee and baked goods provider in Bushwick, Cholita Coffee is able to offer special Peruvian and Puerto Rican blends. Bryan says he hopes to later work with more local shops to provide food options and allow local artists to have their work featured on the currently bear naked walls of the shop. 

“The reason behind the name of the store is because they’ve become like a big symbol in our culture,” Bryan says. “There’s a photographer named Cholita Chic and takes pictures of Cholita in like a pop art style of style.”

Bryan hopes to obtain some of Cholita Chic’s work to place around the shop, alongside other artists who may want a space to express South American and Hispanic/Latino culture.

The name Cholita also carries historical meaning, Byan explained. The term Cholita originates from Peru, although it was used as a derogatory term in its origins. The name is now associated with a particular cultural clothing style, where women dawn a bowler hat and dress in flowing colorful fabrics. 

Patrons who visit the newly opened coffee shop can see for themselves, as a  small statue sits on top of the counter of Cholita Coffee, representative of a traditional Cholita. Cholita Coffee is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the weekends.

Obscure Coffee Roasters and Cholita Coffee will host a joint event on Saturday, July 22, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., when their specialty coffee will be up for grabs.