We decided to take a roadtrip to California that included Los Angeles and the Central Coast. While the primary purpose of the trip was rest and relaxation, we do love coffee, so coffee stops were an important part of the trip. Several places were just so-so, but we really enjoyed two roasters.
Verve Coffee, in Santa Cruz, does a great job of roasting and preparing coffee. We had tasted their coffee in San Francisco, but had never been to their stores. We decide to visit the roasting plant and espresso bar on Seabright. The sign on the building definitely caught our eye.
The inside of the roasting plant is neatly organized around their 60′s era Probat. This one is 15kg, but they are currently having a larger machine completely refurbished. The staff made us feel very welcome and their coffee was outstanding.
A week later, on our way back to Phoenix, we stopped by Handsome Roaster in the Arts District of LA. It is a very new roastery with some very seasoned owners. The roasting plant is right behind the espresso bar and features a lovingly restored 50′s era Probat 22kg machine. In speaking with Chris Owens, co-owner and roastmaster, they do all roasting manually.
The store is very well designed and they are attempting to simplify the coffee experience without dumbing it down. They also are trying to add kindness and approachability into the experience. We thought the drinks were excellent and that the baristas were informative and welcoming. Certain rules are applied which have gotten them into some bit of controversy: there is no sweetener and nothing but whole milk is offered. We applaud their work and wish them success.