Wake Up Call

How The Founder Behind LA’s Coolest Coffee Gets Inspired in the Morning

Meditation and music. But first, coffee.

By Camille Styles
Ally Walsh, Canyon Coffee in the kitchen in Santa Monica

It feels fitting that I first met Ally Walsh high up in the California mountains over a table filled with beautiful organic food and surrounded by creative women. It all just feels so in line with her vibe.

Ally is one of those rare souls who is undeniably beautiful (“model” is just one of the hats she wears) but doesn’t seem to be aware of it or have an innate need to be in the spotlight. In fact, it wasn’t until I asked her about her company, Canyon Coffee, that she started talking a mile a minute as she shared her passion and joy behind the brand she launched with her boyfriend, Casey Wojtalewicz. I was so inspired by her story, effortless style, and serene demeanor that I asked her to share a little about her life back home in LA, namely, how her morning sets her up for an inspired day ahead.

Prepare to take notes on the chilled-out decor in Ally’s Echo Park bungalow, the energizing foods she stocks in her kitchen, and what beauty products she relies on for that natural glow.
Ally Walsh, Canyon Coffee in the kitchen in Santa Monica

What inspired your company and brand? 

Canyon Coffee grew out of mine and my partner Casey’s passion for coffee, which developed over time through our travels and a love for making coffee for each other at home. In the beginning of our relationship, we were both away from each other pretty regularly for work—Casey for music, myself for modeling. We started learning about coffee through visiting local roasters when we were on the road, and we’d send bags home to each other from our favorite spots. Casey started working as a barista, we became friends with a talented roaster, James, and a few years ago we just connected the dots and realized this was something we cared about, and something we could put our love and energy into in an authentic way.

The brand was developed over time through hiking in the canyons of LA, travels around the Southwest (one trip to Northern New Mexico, where we visited Georgia O’Keeffe’s home in Abiquiu, was particularly influential), and a desire to encapsulate the feelings coffee brings, what it means to us, in a package.

Ally Walsh, Canyon Coffee in the kitchen in Santa Monica

Ally Walsh, Canyon Coffee in the kitchen in Santa Monica

What does a typical day look like for you?

I always start my day with my morning ritual. Whoever’s up first, me or Casey, will make the other a pour over. It’s important for me to have time to enjoy a cup of coffee, meditate, and sometimes go for a walk around Elysian Park or get in a yoga class before starting work.

A typical workday for Canyon might include coordinating and producing the many collaborative events we do and shoots for content we create, talking and engaging with our customers over email and social media, fulfilling orders to customers and our wholesale accounts, and on roast days, filling bags! I still model regularly, and on shoot days I’m fully committed to the job at hand.

Ally Walsh, Canyon Coffee

Tell us about your home.

Our house is in Echo Park in Los Angeles, tucked away towards the top of the canyon. We’ve lived here for about a year and a half. I lived in Venice and Santa Monica from the time I moved to LA until late 2017—nearly 10 years. When the house we lived in on the beach in Santa Monica was sold, Casey and I decided to move to East LA. We felt connected to the community over here, which includes a lot of other young creative people starting their own businesses. I found this house open up on Craigslist one day, came to see it, and we signed the lease the next day! I love that we’re situated so close to Elysian Park, our favorite market Cookbook, Honey Hi, and the Echo Park pond.

Having natural light is so crucial to anywhere I live, I also love that I can see trees through all the windows.

Ally Walsh, Canyon Coffee

What time’s your wake-up call?

I’m an early-to-bed kind of person. And I always wake up around 7:30, no matter what time zone I’m in. It’s uncanny.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?

Light some Bodha incense, meditate, and then put the kettle on the stove and make a pour over, either in our Chemex or V60. I’ll usually have some apple cider vinegar in the morning, too.

Ally Walsh, Canyon Coffee in the living room in Santa Monica

Ally Walsh, Canyon Coffee in the living room in Santa Monica

What’s your favorite getting-ready soundtrack?

Nancy & Lee, the album by Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood.

Ally Walsh, Canyon Coffee kitchen

What do you eat for breakfast?

It varies over time. Sometimes all I want in the morning are apples with almond butter and coffee. Lately I’ve been making a gluten free banana bread recipe, which Casey loves! Warmer months frequently means a smoothie, and in colder months I love making oatmeal. I also go through stretches where I’ll make overnight oats with chia seeds every night! That’s my go-to when I have an early morning flight or call-time for a shoot.

Ally Walsh, Canyon Coffee at home, record player

What are your morning media rituals?

When the time allows, I like using mornings to read and be inspired. I like reading articles on meditation, features on artists and other women entrepreneurs, and finding new recipes to make at home. In the car, if I’m not listening to music, I like listening to Krista Tippett’s On Being, the Goop podcast, How I Built This and other similar podcasts.

Ally Walsh, Canyon Coffee

Favorite books:

Just Kids by Patti Smith

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

Goldfinch by Donna Tart

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Anatomy of the Spirit by Caroline Myss

I’m really loving Less by Andrew Sean Greer, and just finished Educated by Tara Westover, which I also really enjoyed!


Ally Walsh, Canyon Coffee in the living room in Santa Monica

How do you make your coffee at home?

My favorite way to brew at home is the hand pour over. I always drink it black! For Canyon, our rule is that every coffee has to taste great black.

Ally Walsh, Canyon Coffee bathroom

Bath or shower:

Bath 1000%! I miss our old clawfoot tub. I always use Sans Ceuticals Body Exfoliant in the shower and I like using epsom salts and coconut oil in baths.

Ally Walsh, Canyon Coffee, beauty products

What’s your morning beauty routine?

I have a pretty minimal approach to skincare, overall. I like to use Osea, Lesse, Poppy & Someday and Earth tu face.
I’ve used the Earth Tu face face wash for years, and just started to use Lesse face mask and oil. Its all organic and sources the best ingredients around the world! Osea Vitamin C Serum and Hyaluronic Sea serum are vegan and all organic as well. I use these daily.

Ally Walsh, Canyon Coffee in the kitchen in Santa Monica

Healthiest morning habit:

A black cup of coffee (black coffee is super high in antioxidants and has been connected to a lot of great health benefits, including lower risks of cancer and longer life!) – and a shot of apple cider vinegar.

Worst morning habit:

Going on my phone before I’ve properly woken up!

Ally Walsh, Canyon Coffee, bookshelf at home in LA

What are your favorite spots in Echo Park? (Ally’s neighborhood in LA)

CookbookThe market where we shop for produce and other pantry items.

Honey Hi. I order the breakfast bowl and Canyon Coffee!

Los Feliz Theater. An old-school theater for matinees.

Love Yoga. My spot for Katonah yoga.

Elf. Delicious vegan dinner and wine.

Bar Bandini. A great little natural wine bar.