The Journey of Black Dog Coffee Roasters: A Story from Farm to Cup

The world of coffee is a vibrant and diverse industry, filled with passionate individuals who strive to create the ideal cup of joe. One such individual is Francisco Portillo Toledo, the founder and driving force behind Black Dog Coffee Roasters. What started as a dream to share the exceptional coffee from his family’s farm in El Salvador has now transformed into a thriving coffee business. Francisco’s journey is one of determination, innovation, and a deep-rooted commitment to sustainability and responsible sourcing.

The Early Beginnings: A Seed Planted in El Salvador

Francisco’s love for coffee began in his hometown in El Salvador. Growing up, he was surrounded by the intoxicating aromas and rich flavors of this beloved beverage. However, it was his mentor, Samuel, a coffee farmer, who truly sparked his passion for specialty coffee. As a young mechanic, Francisco would assist Samuel with various tasks on the farm, and during one particular encounter, something clicked. As they worked together to fix a mechanical issue at one of Samuel’s coffee roasting machines, Francisco found himself captivated by the process of roasting coffee beans.

A Leap of Faith: From El Salvador to the United States

In 2015, Francisco made the bold decision to leave his homeland and move to the United States. With a burning desire to share the coffee from his family’s farm with the world, he embarked on a new chapter of his life. Initially, he had no intention of opening a coffee shop. His focus was solely on wholesale coffee bean distribution, aiming to introduce his coffee to a wider audience. However, Francisco would soon learn that sometimes you need to shift your perspective and goals when running a business.

As Francisco began knocking on the doors of local coffee shops, he encountered skepticism and uncertainty. The timing was less than ideal, as the world was grappling with the effects of a global pandemic. Undeterred, Francisco decided to offer free samples of his coffee, hoping to forge connections and gain valuable feedback. The response was underwhelming. Francisco grew wary but he persevered and decided to try serving his coffee to others rather than simply giving his coffee beans away for people to try.

All this time, Francisco aimed to share his family’s coffee beans through roasting and coffee bean distribution, but little did he know that making and preparing a cup of coffee was the key for others to take notice of his coffee. Francisco started selling coffee from their first roasting location in Signal Hill and the locals could not get enough. People began to take notice of the exceptional quality and unique flavors of Black Dog Coffee Roasters’ coffee.

Inspired by this newfound interest, Francisco made the pivotal decision to expand his business beyond wholesale distribution. He transformed his operation from a single roastery into a full-fledged coffee shop, starting first by selling drip coffee and cold brew at the front of their first roastery location in Signal Hill. Black Dog then expanded to an even larger coffee roastery in the same neighborhood. They also started selling their brewed coffee and espresso-based drinks outside their roastery from their beloved coffee cart.

By the autumn of 2023, Black Dog Coffee Roasters opened its first brick-and-mortar coffee shop and small-batch roastery in downtown Long Beach on 3rd Street. This location has since become a hub for coffee enthusiasts and a testament to Francisco’s unwavering commitment to his craft.

The Philosophy of Black Dog Coffee Roasters: Sustainability and Responsible Sourcing

At the heart of Black Dog Coffee Roasters lies a deep-rooted philosophy centered on sustainability and responsible sourcing. Francisco firmly believes in creating a positive impact on the communities and environments involved in the coffee production process. To achieve this, he travels back to El Salvador multiple times a year, to oversee his family’s coffee farm operations while also forging new relationships with other small coffee farms near his hometown. This ensures the highest quality coffee but also allows Francisco to establish direct relationships with other farmers, ensuring fair compensation for their hard work.

Black Dog Coffee Roasters’ commitment to sustainability extends beyond El Salvador. Collaborations with coffee farmers in Mexico and Tanzania further showcase Francisco’s dedication to supporting local communities and celebrating the unique characteristics of each region. By embracing these partnerships, Black Dog Coffee Roasters can offer coffee lovers a diverse range of flavors, roasts, and bean varieties, all while promoting ethical practices within the industry.

The Future of Black Dog Coffee Roasters: A Vision for Expansion and Innovation

Francisco’s entrepreneurial spirit and unwavering passion for coffee continue to drive him forward. With the success of the initial coffee shop, he has set his sights on opening more locations and exploring innovative concepts. One such concept involves combining his love for coffee with his passion for cars, creating an immersive experience that marries the two worlds. Francisco envisions Black Dog Coffee Roasters as more than just a coffee brand; he hopes to create a community where people can come together, share their love for coffee, and experience the artistry behind each cup.

You can shop our TRC USA x Black Dog Coffee Roasters collaborative single-origin coffee beans on starting from 1/29/2024 during the COFFEE TABLE TRIP campaign. *Due to shipping limitations, we can only ship coffee beans within the US. 

COFFEE TABLE TRIP Pop-Up Event at Black Dog Coffee Roasters


Black Dog Coffee Roasters

1101 E 3rd St, Long Beach, CA 90802, United States

Friday, January 26th, 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Saturday, January 27th, 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM

To commemorate the collaboration between TRC USA and Black Dog Coffee Roasters, we will be holding a Coffee Table Trip Pop-Up Event at Black Dog Coffee Roasters Downtown Long Beach on Friday, January 26th from 10 AM to 3 PM PT, and Saturday, January 27th from 10 AM to 2 PM PT.

At this COFFEE TABLE TRIP Pop-Up Event, we will be debuting our new TRC USA traveling kiosk which will contain exclusive COFFEE TABLE TRIP products and our new collaborative line of single-origin coffee beans with Black Dog Coffee Roasters. There will be an opportunity to stamp your TRAVELER’S notebook with our TRC USA stamps, as well as Black Dog Coffee Roasters’ signature stamp.

If you are making your way to Long Beach for the event, be sure to check out TRC USA and Black Dog Coffee Roaster’s Map of Recommended Sites to make the most of your visit!

There will be an unofficial TRAVELER’S notebook user gathering at La Taqueria Brand’s (at Steel Craft) outdoor dining area (3768 Long Beach Blvd, Long Beach, CA 90807, United States) on Saturday, January 27th at 3 PM. Users are encouraged to socialize with other TRAVELER’S notebook users while enjoying some delicious street-style tacos.


Have a nice trip!

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