Sneak Preview: Handsome Coffee Roasters, Los Angeles

[Photos: Liz Clayton]

Los Angeles' coffee revolution has gone from slow-to-sudden: longtime reigning Intelligentsia, whose spacious, splashy stores dot the sprawling landscape, has finally been joined (besides by the eccentric LAMill) by a cadre of boutiques—Single Origin, Proof, Coffee Commissary and Cafe Demitasse—striving to make LA a true coffee city. And then there are the not-so-little guys, the out-of-the-box roasters who've set a high bar based on their combined reputations—and good looks.

Handsome Coffee Roasters, a team of pedigreed coffee chaps (including former World Barista Champion Michael Phillips) with an eye on the prize, are set to open both their LA roastery cafe later this month, as well as a satellite cafe in New York, within downtown cocktail-resto Demi Monde, in March.

And what are the Handsome crew intending to do differently?

"We're going to focus really, really intensely on just doing what we do well, and trying not to spread ourselves too thin," said Phillips. "We're going to have a very select coffee menu, no decaf, no sweetners, no alternative milks. Just focusing on brewed coffee, espresso, and mercurial, wonderful whole milk. We're also really aiming to take away what seems to be a barrier to entry to a lot of folks with specialty coffee, by just making it as accessible as possible in terms of customer service and in terms of bar flow."

The cafes won't offer, for instance, a slow-brew bar for filter coffee—instead they plan to serve their drip coffee fast and good. And though an official opening is still a few city permits away, neighbors of the space might chance upon their baristas training wholesale clients or pulling luscious cappuccinos for community dogs. You never know, right? In the meantime, we offer a sneak preview to tide you over.

Handsome Coffee Roasters

582 Mateo Street, Los Angeles CA 90013 (map) 323-606-3593;