Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

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Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

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Little Ox: Where Coffee Means Family

Fullerton’s Little Ox coffee shop serves up Korean and Chinese-inspired signature drinks and a homey atmosphere.
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Aydan Azzara
From left: Summer in Taipei, Salted Cream Vanilla Latte, Traditional Matcha Latte. (Aydan Azzara)

The chat between old friends in the seat behind you, the fast taps of a college student’s keyboard in the distance, and the caffeine-thirsty mom of three waiting in line is just an average day in the welcoming corner of Fullerton where Little Ox sits. People venture in for the unique interior and complex menu, and it seems like everyone is talking about this java joint. 

Since it opened in summer 2023, Little Ox is one of the hottest new destinations in Fullerton. With a blend of Korean and Chinese influences, house-roasted brews and handmade syrups, owner Jackie Kim has strived to create a distinctly homey atmosphere. Come in once and you are sure to become a regular. 

The process of choosing the location for Little Ox was a no-brainer for Kim, considering Fullerton has always been a special place for her. 

“My husband and I met in Fullerton. It’s where we both grew up, both went to high school, and both currently live,” says Kim. “We definitely wanted to pick a location that meant a lot to us. This is our way of giving back to the community and getting to meet all of our neighbors and local residents.”

With its open windows and blossoming greenery, Little Ox provides a bright and uplifting environment for everyone to study and moms to get a coffee on the go. (Aydan Azzara)

Prior to opening Little Ox, Kim was in a completely different field of work, doing franchise management brand building for the entertainment industry. While she was on maternity leave and caring for her infant daughter, Kim realized she wanted to do something different. Before anything, Kim is a proud momma, and it was her love for her daughter that inspired the shop.

“The shop is named after my daughter. She was born in the zodiac year of the ox, so that’s why we made it Little Ox coffee,” says Kim.

When you open the doors to the shop not only are you hit with the earthy scent of their signature blend of medium-dark roasted coffee beans from Guatemala and Brazil, but you are also immediately surrounded with a hospitable ambience that Kim has created. The interior of the shop consists of flourishing greenery, polished marble counters, and appealing light-wood furnishing. 

“We took my daughter’s multicultural heritage to heart, so we wanted the design to be inspired by a Korean coffee shop but also traditional Chinese tea shops too so that’s why you see a lot of things like the natural woods,” explains Kim. “Kind of like that modern zen feeling if that makes sense.”

Zen indeed. The main eye-catcher of Little Ox is the glass study room located to the right of the shop when you walk in towards the counter. The room design looks like a large indoor greenhouse, but instead of a sanctuary for plants, it’s a sanctuary for humans hard at work. 

Unlike other ordinary cup-of-joe locales, Little Ox has a menu that will never bore you. From their Pandan Latte to their Genji Matcha and their Mango Yuja Fizz, they have it all. Oh, and did we mention all of their syrups are made in house? And to think it is all inspired by her sweet baby girl. 

Their pantry cookie is the perfect pairing for any signature lattes they offer. (Aydan Azzara)

“My husband is Korean and I have roots in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and I have family in the Philippines too. That’s why on the menu you’ll see some flavors that are inspired by that,” says Kim.

Most of their featured items are derived from classic coffee and tea recipes but with an exclusive Little Ox twist. Their most popular drink is the salted cream vanilla latte.

“We kind of took a spin on Taiwanese sea salt coffee,” says Kim. “So in a lot of Taiwanese coffee shops they actually pair a sea salt cream with black coffee but we put our own spin to it by using our own house-made vanilla bean syrup for it.”

Their drinks feature numerous flavors, all of which are customizable to fit your style. If you dig simplicity and sweeter drinks aren’t your style, their charming staff is more than willing to leave out anything you please. 

A key value Kim emphasizes within her shop and to her staff, is how customer service is the number one thing that they prioritize.

With multiple seating, the calm atmosphere is ideal for those looking to chill or cram for an exam. (Aydan Azzara)

“Genuine kindness and care is one of the values our shop stands for and we hope that our customers can see that. We genuinely try to get to know our customers and by that I think that creates a welcoming warm environment for the coffee shop.”

All those little details make a difference. Only a couple of months after it opened, the coffee shop was already getting heavy traffic daily. 

“I personally really love it. I love getting to know and being able to talk to people,” says Kim. “So the fact that we are able to create a hopefully warm, welcoming space for people—whether it be to catch up or study—that was my intention and I am really happy it turned out that way.”

 

Taken from the Fall 2023 print issue of Inside Fullerton. Read it here.

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About the Contributor
Aydan Azzara, Social Media Manager
Aydan is a journalism major with hopes to transfer in the fall. When she isn’t at the dance studio teaching or choreographing for her company, she is spending time with her six siblings, eating a jalapeño pretzel at Disneyland, or scanning the shelves at Barnes and Noble. She hopes to earn her Bachelor’s Degree in journalism and find a job that allows her to travel.

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