FLORAL PARK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Dalila Abigail Rivera knows nearly all there is to know about the beans at Rivers Cafe USA.
"We can tell you exactly what harvest it is, when was it roasted," she said.
That's because the coffee is grown on her family's farm in her native El Salvador. The beans make the transcontinental journey to Jericho Turnpike in Floral Park, where Dalila, who goes by Abby, runs the cafe, alongside her husband Gil Lopez.
The traditional blend undergoes a fermentation process, while the yellow honey variety is simply sun-dried and roasted to preserve its namesake flavor.
In addition to drip coffee, espresso drinks are available. Local bakeries supply pastries including tres leches cake and pastel del leche cookies. A member of Abby's church provides the muffins.
Abby arrived in the United States when she was 15 years old, starting a new chapter in Hempstead with her family.
"Our country's situation was really bad. It was so dangerous over there that we had to make the move," she said.
For Abby, now 30, it feels like more than 15 years have passed since then.
"I can just relive the moments that I had when I didn't have a job, when I had to sleep in my car, when I had to get coins because I didn't have enough money to take the bus," she said. "I'm sure that I'm not the only one who has been through that."
It was at church, Puerta Del Cielo in Lindenhurst, that she met her husband Gil, a native of Guatemala. He played guitar for the church band, and she sang.
After their wedding in 2019, the two decided to build a business together, a legacy to pass down to the children they hope to have someday.
Opening a cafe felt like a leap.
"We didn't know if it was going to work. We didn't know if people were going to actually like it," Abby said.
Without experience as baristas, they honed their skills watching hours of YouTube tutorials.
As they grew in knowledge and confidence, they say their Floral Park community embraced them like family.
"We have learned, and we keep learning, and we're going to keep improving for this town because it has been amazing to us," Abby said.
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