by Joseph Matye, creator of KoffeeStain.com
Let me just say…If you love coffee but your not sure about Los Angeles, Handsome Roasters may change your mind. Handsome Coffee Roasters is located in the Arts District, near Little Tokyo, in downtown Los Angeles.
So…time for a road trip.
I am old school, so I checked an online map, got familiar with the layout of the streets and just winged it, GPS free. As I got off the 101 in downtown, I knew the general direction I was headed but it took some wandering around before I found myself on Mateo Street. What a cool way to start out discovering this place. Around every corner I found something new. My whole family was drawn into the experience. There was no mistaking that I was in the depths of urban, classic, downtown Los Angeles; street murals, food trucks, warehouses. Awesome!
Let me ask the reader: If you were a major coffee roaster providing roasted coffee beans to over 20 cafes in L.A. and wanted to set up a cafe to highlight your product, how would you do it? Keep it simple? Draw attention to the quality? Be accessible and hospitable? Sure, after all, this cafe would be a commercial for your product – fresh handcrafted, world class coffee. Whether for a consumer or a cafe owner, this cafe would highlight what you do. And Handsome must have done something right, because a lot of people agree that they knocked it out of the park.
Handsome Coffee Roasters has a simplified espresso menu, which replaces the traditional Italian terms such as macchiato, latte or cappuccino with the total volume of the drink or (espresso to milk ratio). Although I respect and value the rich history and traditions in the world of coffee, replacing this specialized vocabulary is a refreshing step towards removing the barriers that could keep more people from enjoying handcrafted coffee. I, for one, love this idea and hope this is a trend that will continue with other cafes in the future. Cafes, are you listening?
I ordered a 3 oz. espresso and milk. (See the menu photo.) The coffee and milk ratio has been exacted for each cup size they offer. My order was made and presented with a second demi cup that contained the “extra” espresso left over from the process, like a split shot; one with milk, one straight. This was perfect because I often order a straight espresso to taste before I try a Macchiato at a new cafe. Water and glasses are available to clear the pallet if needed, but I was so excited to give it a try that I went straight for the espresso before it cooled. It had good acidity and featured bursts of different flavors, too many for my untrained pallet, leaving my mouth with a clean feeling. Incredible!
Being in a warehouse district, a patio is impractical. Some bench seating is available on the front sidewalk but there is no patio to speak of. There is also a small selection of pastries to choose from and what they do have is very good, but this is a coffee roaster not a bakery, so do not expect a large selection. You can also try the eggslut food truck Saturday & Sunday from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, parked just outside the front door for some food before or after your coffee. I wish I had more time to give them a try, but I will be back! The food looked great. I will be visiting Handsome Roasters again for sure! “Well done, Handsome.”
Read about Handsome’s story
Joseph Matye, creator of KoffeeStain.com, is a coffee enthusiast sharing the results of the trek through his personal coffee evolution. Joseph loves to visit great cafes, learn more about coffee and document his experiences for others. He calls it, “Espresso Driven Experiences”.