The Rose That Grew From Concrete at MADE by DWC

The Rose That Grew From Concrete at MADE by DWC

The rose, it grew from concrete
Keeping all these dreams
Proving nature's laws wrong
It learned how to walk without having feet

~Tupac Shakur 


2Pac’s “The Rose That Grew From Concrete” is the inspiration for the Concrete Rose signature drink at MADE by DWC, as his words illustrate what the cafe brings to life. 



MADE by DWC is a social enterprise cafe in downtown Los Angeles that was created by the Downtown Women’s Center (DWC) to help end homelessness for women through job training and employment. 

Each year through the LA:RISE program, 12 - 15 women with high barriers to employment receive job preparation and training and put those skills to work by interviewing at social enterprises like MADE by DWC. The women hired at the cafe are employed for 300 hours, or roughly 3 months. 

Groundwork’s partnership with MADE by DWC goes back to 2013 when the cafe was starting up. We supply their coffee and our Wholesale Account Managers help train DWC employees on the espresso bar once they’ve worked 100 hours at the cafe. Unfortunately, the cafe and its training program went on hiatus for 18 months during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Breathing fresh air into the cafe

Recently, Milly Rodriguez (MADE by DWC Social Enterprise Cafe Manager) reached out to Darrell Baskin (Groundwork Wholesale Account Manager and Educator) to reestablish a training schedule and strategize on revamping the cafe. 

“Because of our location, it's really difficult for the cafe to have visibility,” Milly says. 

This signature drink came about from Darrell and Milly’s brainstorming. Darrell was inspired by the women at DWC in his creation of the Concrete Rose latte. 

“All the women here are trying to put their lives back together. It might be a difficult task, but there's beauty in it,” Darrell says. 

He is instrumental in this task at the cafe. 

“He's been more than just our trainer here,” Milly says.

Photo of Milly with the Concrete Rose latte at MADE by DWC cafe

Milly Rodriguez with the Concrete Rose latte at MADE by DWC


Thoughtfully selected ingredients of the Concrete Rose latte  

At the core of this signature drink is  Groundwork’s Fuerza Femenina (feminine strength) beans, which Darrell accidentally discovered when he poured a bag in an espresso grinder thinking it was Black Magic. 

He pulled a few shots – he says it was “bomb” – and it quickly became one of his favorite blends for espresso. 

“It's a really nice, blank slate,” Darrell says. “Really mild acidity, really sweet.”

Made by DWC has used Fuerza Feminina for many years, and the values that make up this coffee complement those of the cafe; Fuerza Femenina is a coffee produced by the Asociación de Mujeres Caficultoras del Cauca (AMUCC), a women-owned cooperative in Cauca, Colombia that promotes gender equity and economic empowerment for its members. This coffee is composed of the same beans roasted in two different ways that harmoniously blend together. You can only find it at our wholesale accounts like MADE by DWC! 

Closeup photo of latte with rose petals on top

Darrell has planned for MADE by DWC signature drinks to highlight women-owned businesses, so the Concrete Rose latte utilizes vanilla rose syrup from the women-owned Boulon Coffee. It’s completed with Minor Figures oat milk and a rose petal garnish.

With rosy pink accents, this is the first specialty drink in a four-part series inspired by the MADE by DWC brand colors. Each specialty drink will be rolled out with events at the cafe (438 S. San Pedro St.). Make sure to snag a cafe loyalty card because when you purchase one of each of the four specialty drinks, you get your fifth drink free!


Supporting continual growth 

Milly and Darrell are hopeful that revamping the menu and hosting specialty drink events will increase cafe sales – which dipped after it closed during the pandemic – and foster Groundwork’s long-standing relationship with DWC.   

“I want to make sure they feel that support in ways that they can see and touch, not just through donations to the larger organization,” Darrell says. 

When you buy your favorite drink from MADE by DWC, your daily coffee has a purpose, Milly says. 

“Everything that is purchased in here, whether it's coffee or a pastry, goes back to our ladies’ training program,” she says. “Here your dollar goes a little bit further because it goes back to helping these ladies train, have that experience and getting ready for the next step in their journey.”


Funny it seems but, by keeping its dreams
It learned to breathe fresh air
Long live the rose that grew from concrete

Written by
Melina Devoney
Barista Blogger