Interesting to see an article like this in the Guardian. It wasn’t nearly as ill informed as I expected and though I’m not too chirpy about his conclusion, I liked how much he covered without, I hope, becoming too tricky to assimilate for non coffee folk.
I hate quick posts so I guess I should say something else while I’m here. LA was great. I loved catching up with everyone and seeing how Intelligentsia Silverlake is progressing. We wondered if it was the busiest quality focused cafe in the World, certainly I’ve never visited one as busy, even Ritual in San Francisco. The interior and exterior are just beautiful and I’m not sure if it’d work as well in any other neighborhood. I know they’ve plans to open thirty four more cafes in LA and it will be interesting to see how they adapt their image to each neighborhood, a luxury bigger chains don’t really get to practice. But back to silverlake,I loved the visibility of the baristas at work and it was a pleasure to watch each of them employ the same solid technique yet each with their own style.
It was nice too to taste Black Cat made by those more familiar with it. We were lucky enough to taste it when Intelligentsia sponsored our Barista Party during this years UKBC, and I remember James and I enjoying its new, cleaner profile. I like how they’ve managed to make it that bit more articulate without losing that soft, deep, chocolate its known so well for. To be completely honest I suppose, the trip had no stand out coffee moments, but rather everything was really good. Does that make sense? Probably the best thing I tasted was Kyle Glanville’s signature drink. I won’t give anything away so close to the WRBC, but all I’ll say is feathers.
I spent my last morning sitting on the back bar of the cafe, possibly for the best part of 4 hours. This time was spent drinking coffee, watching the baristas, and spotting celebrities ( nearly spluttered my zirikana all over my macbook when Sylar from Heroes walked in). The last hour or so consisted of learning about various company takeovers in the industry from a well informed, if a little infected at the time blogger called Tony. Regarding clover, I’ll keep my opinions to myself, which I know is a little mean, especially considering how amazing they are, but I’m horrible, and you should know that by now.
The only other cafes I got to visit on the trip were Choke- the moterbike/funky espresso bar, and La Mill, the super trendy, super plush, lovely staff, poor in the cup newcomer to Silverlake. Choke was so different to anything I’ve ever seen before, I’m not really sure what to say. There are photos, just take a look.
La Mill was an odd one, very not silverlake. I drove by it first of all and hated it. I went in wanting to hate it, but kinda liked it. I especially kinda liked the two red clovers they had. The equipment on display in general was stunning; hario vac-pots, eva solos, fb80s, afore mentioned clovers, roburs, chemexes, hario water glass, and so so many staff. The menu is sufficiently wordy for the prices of the coffees, and our waitress was excellent at explaining how the vac pot worked. There was an awkward moment when I inquired how long they’ve been adding jelly to the coffee and donut drink they serve and the waitress asked when I’d last had it,- the last time being when James made it for the 2007 UKBC, and who was never asked if he minded them using it. I just said a friend made it for me.
Sadly, none of the drinks I tasted at La Mill were good. They all seemed more or less well brewed, but they just didn’t work in the cup. This was the experience of two trips, so please don’t think I just wanna be a hater, I’m just not street enough. In total, I tasted a Kenya they carried off a vac pot, an espresso, two cappuccinos, and their coffee & donut & jelly. None were great but I have to say, the people there, bar 1 guy, were so friendly, capable, and well informed, I’ll be sure to visit them again when I’m back in town.
OK, this wasn’t meant to be a long post. So just one last thing, I was joking about intelly wanting to open 34 new cafes in LA, but I would imagine more are in the pipeline.