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El Cafecito in Quito

El Cafecito in Quito

It’s mornings like this that make me think that my tea house will be a great place to visit on Sunday mornings to enjoy life a little bit more.

Yesterday, I visited El Cafecito in Quito. As I talked with the Canadian owner, I mentioned how I hope to stay in Ecuador for a bit to run my tea shop. I told him the name would be “California Tea Houses” in English and “Casas de California” in Spanish because calling it a “tea lounge” would just be too complicated. He said I shouldn’t have two names and, to keep it real, I should change the name all together. A few minutes later he came back and told me to change it to “Mama California” or “California Mama.”

He explained that “Mama” was important in Ecuadorian culture. It gives a homey feeling and good vibe. People, he told me, would see my tea lady and think of mom and how “tea warms the soul.” He recalled drinking tea with his British grandma and how she would tell stories. And that is what tea time means, he went on, sharing conversations, sharing time with people. Then I told him my slogan, “Why sip alone?” And he said, yeah, that’s it.


My Ecuadorian companion for the afternoon agreed that “Mama California” was the right name. On the taxi ride home, I asked my Ecuadorian taxi driver and he also agreed “Mama California” was better than “Casas de California.”

So I here I am changing the name again. But I know this is a good thing. When people take time to actually think about your projects and goals and give you good advice, you should take it. It’s like me helping the cafe owner at the Lake Cuicocha last week and giving her ideas on her business. Pay it forward, or  “give and it will come back to you” as they sing in my church back home in L.A.

“Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind– the race is long.” This lyric from “Everyone’s Free To Wear Sunscreen” sums up life’s journey. Sometimes you help a stranger, and sometimes a stranger helps you. What matters is that you keep the cycle going.

I hope to contribute to the cycle with Mama California.