You Are Marvelous!

The story behind You Are Marvelous! 

David Solow, Luzene Hill, Areli's DNA and CC OWD shop design.

In the fall of 2015, we worked with David Solow to create the design of CC OWD, our second location. David created a usable art installation that interconnected the works of 31 local artists.

Image and shop design by David Solow art + design

David created a to-scale portolan chart of the Earth along the face of the bar, including the bar revealed when the training room door is slid open. The middle of the main bar features a compass rose that represents Durham in the center. In the training room corner, on the espresso machine module with a compass rose representing Addis Ababa, the anchor of the Ethiopian corner of that room. Above the bar, on the upper cabinet, Heather Gordon created a map of the geo-coordinates of the history of the travel of coffee. The red lines angling up and out from the left corner signify Ethiopia, the origin of all Coffea arabica.

Starting from the Durham compass rose on the bar front and moving across the room are brass inlay lines traversing Elijah Leed's black benches and tables. When aligned in place, they represent to scale points across the earth. Across the top of Elijah's tables are a dozen or so small circular brass inlay. They are a map of the stars above Durham at twilight on the autumnal equinox. A couple of the pieces of circular inlay connect directly up to two figures in Luzene Hill's installation of beeswax figures. This is also a kind of map. 

When we started our months-long conversation about what would go into the design of our OWD shop, the root idea was the imagined reverse engineering of Areli's DNA, as it connected to and overlapped with the travel of coffee, and, by extension, with humans on Earth. We were also aware of the neighborhood and city into which we were rooting even more deeply, and we started talking about what was here -- Erwin Mills, a train station, tobacco, slavery, and before all that Native people. And thus began a conversation with Luzene, that led to her work in the shop.

Luzene jumped in deep -- as if the years since we last talked were simply a long moment of focusing attention elsewhere, only to return as if not a moment had passed. She connected with the origin of coffee, Ethiopia, and with the migration of peoples across the Earth through millennia. Her work of beeswax figures (playing from an earlier work through which Luzene, David and I are connected from a exhibition 18 years prior) was to traverse the shop in relation to the other maps. It starts in the Ethiopian corner (above the compass rose of Addis Ababa and across from the red lines on the upper cabinet) with "Lucy." Lucy is arched and projects energy towards the fetal figure that is next in the constellation. 

The figures hang through and across the room, in a kind of dance, each hand sculpted from beeswax and hung as Luzene's "girls," as she calls them, falling up to the sky.

Playing further into the themes of Cocoa Cinnamon, Luzene used spices from across the Earth.  Lucy's beeswax is pigmented with coffee, the fetal figure with paprika, others with cacao, nutmeg and so on....alluding to the colors of people as we migrated across the Earth. This element of the work connects the fact that the spice trade was a major conduit for travel across ancient spice routes, and that, later, maritime expeditions were prompted by the age of exploration and colonization. 

Luzene named her work Dinkinesh. Dinkinesh refers to the name Ethiopians call the Australopithecus (human ancestor fossils) that Western scientists named Lucy in 1974. Dinkinesh, the Australopithecus, is a matter of national pride, which is represented in its name. The word "Dinkinesh," translated from Amharic to English, means “you are marvelous.”

Dinkinesh is the name that we borrowed from Luzene’s work to name our series of Ethiopian coffees. We later added the translation of the phrase "You Are Marvelous!" to the bottom of our Little Waves Coffee retail coffee bags to indicate the wonder we have for people, life on earth, and the mysteries of existence, including the ritual of coffee.


The story behind You Are Marvelous!

Dinkinesh and Invisibilia

We think a lot about management, our guests, our community and the world around us and beyond. One story that we come back to is one that we encountered on the NPR podcast Invisbilia about the power of expectations, the power of kindness, grace, being gentle, seeing people, and doing everything we can to let people feel safe in our spaces. When we put out a sense of curiosity, care, attention, and wonder, and a desire to let things be, it creates a kind of reverberating catalytic effect on the behavior of those around us and beyond.

We go back to this idea a lot, and recently realized that the name Luzene attributed to her work captured that feeling. Like forgiveness, seeing people and having awe for them has such an incredible power for those being seen, for the seer and for all around us.

This is why we named our Ethiopian coffee series Dinkinesh. It's why we put You Are Marvelous on the bottom of our Little Waves Coffee bags. It's why, as we do the strange work of learning how to transition out of the emergency phase of a global pandemic, as we relearn how to connect and communicate in spite of bubble dynamics and hyperbolic media, we present to you our warm weather 2022 wonder menu: You Are Marvelous!

With it, we hope to bring you comfort and love. 

- Leon Grodski Barrera

Durham, 3/4/2022




2022 Cocoa Cinnamon Warm Weather Wonder Menu: You Are Marvelous!



An iced (or hot) oat latte made with lemon powder, cardamom, mace, and house-made vanilla syrup. 

Every 120 or so years, the planet Venus, named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty, traverses the sun. In the 1600s, humans had discovered six planets, but didn’t quite know their true absolute distance (miles) in relation to the Earth, to each other, and across our solar system.



“Venus was the key. Edmund Halley realized this in 1716. As seen from Earth, Venus occasionally crosses the face of the Sun. It looks like a jet-black disk slowly gliding among the Sun's true sunspots. By noting the start- and stop-times of the transit from widely spaced locations on Earth, Halley reasoned, astronomers could calculate the distance to Venus using the principles of parallax. The scale of the rest of the solar system would follow.”

We mark marvel with this drink by noting humanity’s capacity to learn, seek the impossible, and to look out and imagine well beyond ourselves. We take a deep breath and imagine the clear, dimensional sky as observed from Tahiti in 1769. We consider the awe that must have been, beyond words, for the six or so hours that a tiny spec planet crossed in front of the sun.

Here is an awesome image of the transit of Venus. The black circle is Venus traversing the sun. 

It is important to note that the age of exploration has gone hand in hand with colonization, violence, destruction, and now, the intentional fictionalization to shape and wield power. 

We hope as a species we can tap our awesome side and find the most humane, marvelous, version of ourselves.



This iced mocktail features Little Waves Espresso, orange juice, and seltzer sweetened with cardamom syrup and topped with rose petals. 

In the summer of 2021, two of our team members, Melissa and Mandella, went down a(n awesome) rabbit hole coming up with mocktails for the imagined future day when our cafes open back up again at night. Our OND cafe featured a mojito that summer, and we added several other delicious drinks to our potential future roster.  

One result of those drink explorations was this drink that Melissa devised. We lifted the name from our Valentine’s coffee blend name because we wanted to :) and because it felt good for the “you are marvelous” theme. So we present to you: Love Frequency, for sipping and savoring in the sun.



A pourover of a Little Waves Coffee Dinkinesh offering, served on an espresso tray with a demitasse of the coffee (served straight). The rest of the pourover will be served iced (or hot upon request) with orange blossom added.

So many of us who work in coffee are in awe of Ethiopian coffees. As Ethiopia is the birthplace of Coffea Arabica, it’s easy to revel in the wide array of flavors that one can taste in Ethiopian coffees. This Dinkinesh menu offering is a celebration of just that. 


Dinkinesh refers to the name Ethiopians call the Australopithecus (human ancestor fossils) that Western scientists named Lucy in 1974. 

Dinkinesh, the Australopithecus, is a matter of national pride, which is represented in its name, which, translated from Amharic to English, means “you are marvelous.”

The name came to us in 2015 when our dear friend and artist, Luzene Hill created an artwork at our OWD shop of hanging, pigmented beeswax figures, that explore the color and migration of humans through time, originating in Ethiopia. We then took that name and added it to the bottom of our Little Waves Coffee bag, putting the buenas vibras out into the world as a reflection of what is in our hearts.

Learn more about Luzene’s work here:



An iced milk chocolate with ginger, black pepper, and hibiscus. Named for the tarot card symbolizing abundance, lushness, creativity, and new birth. The Empress urges us to embrace life during difficult times, trusting that love will transcend suffering. 


An iced milk hot chocolate with sweetened condensed milk, allspice, and cayenne, topped with housemade whipped cream, molasses drizzle, stardust, and a golden hexagon garnish.

OND shop captain, Savannah, made this drink to touch upon the awe of the universe and the amazement of our existence,  even knowing how small we are within the context of the universe. 

The golden chocolate disk is a reference to the panels on the recently launched James Webb Telescope (image below), which will look to the near origins of the universe.

James Webb Telescop Image: Nasa - Adriana Manrique Gutierrez



This dessert drink combines housemade dulce de leche, Homeland Creamery ice cream, and milk, topped with a looped made from scratch cinnamon churro, a vanilla wafer, de la Rosa Mazapan, housemade whipped cream, and caramel drizzle. Served in a cinnamon-sugar-rimmed cup.  

Developed by our LKWD shop captain Melissa, Dulce Niñez (sweet childhood) touches back to the feeling of familiarity of home and the sweet comfort of childhood.



This dessert drink features vanilla ice cream and St. Al’s coffee concentrate, topped with dark chocolate and caramel drizzle.




Select warm weather 2022 coffee features:

This Spring, we are excited to be seeing some returns from Rwanda from our friends at Baho Coffee. We will be receiving three beautiful coffees that we are very excited about. They are:  

  1. Ikizere Muzo: A washed coffee produced by 29 women around the Muzo Washing Station in the Gakenke District, Northern Province. This coffee produces a savory cup with notes of chocolate, golden raisins and clover honey, and it makes a delicious iced pour over.
  2. Bugoyi Natural: This lot pleased our palates for many reasons, but mostly for its clean taste and beautiful fruits!
  3. Rugerere Hill Low Oxygen: This lot not only wowed us, it gave us the opportunity to have two naturals on hand that are processed slightly differently in their fermentation process. We’re extremely geeked to showcase this coffee on its own, but also side by side with the Bugoyi. Expect bursting fruit and florals.  


More to come: 

Burundi (Natural)

Sitio Santo Antonio from the Peixoto Family

A close-to-our-hearts coffee: Tierra de mi Padre (Natural Mexican). Stay tuned! 


– Areli