Los Angeles is not an easy place to open a coffee bar. Our sneeze guards, letter sign holding our “A” health rating, the giant transformer that we waited 3 months to have installed, and the parking situation around our store in Silverlake are all fine examples of the challenges that we face.

However, over the last three or four weeks, I’ve been constantly aware of the what is possibly the biggest day-to-day challenge we deal with. Water. Hollywood isn’t all that seems fake and imported about this city… No, it goes beyond to the giant imported Palm Trees, the forced greenery… and, oh yes… man-kind residing in what nature intended to be a desert. Water in Los Angeles is piped in from any one of several other states. Somedays it’s Colorado, others its Nevada. Either way, it changes a lot.

We have a delightful Cirqua system… and our tech, Nick Barnette, checks the water almost everyday. However, the balance is not easily kept. Sometimes nothing is more frustrating than when shots are looking gorgeous, running exactly how you want them to, but still they taste and smell gnarly. It also makes more sense as to why Los Angeles has no great beer brewery… The fundamental element for these things is hard to come by.

I write this because it’s interesting to me, to think about the things I never realized going into this. The lessons I never expected to learn. I wonder now what the water at my previous cafes was really like? Good? Bad? Hard? Soft? Well, back to the bar for me… By the way, the water is great today… So is the coffee. I’m happy.


Beer. The Other Everyday Drink.

As a barista, there are two things I love deeply. First, of course, coffee. Second, the vice, beer. My Northwest roots and experience in Minneapolis taught me a lot about beer. I love hops, love things brewed by monks, love beers fermented using open fermentation, I love stouts, I love hops, love the occassional Guiness, and I love hops. When I arrived here, I asked Tonx and K. Gizz (Kyle Glanville) where I could get good beer. The answer was nothing short of depressing for this hop head.

Now, a year and a half later, things are slightly changing and improving on the beer front. 4 new bars have given me hope. New breweries have opened giving better local ale. I’ve written about a couple of them for the New Angeles monthly. This month, I’ll be writing about the third.

I’ll save the full details for the review, but if you are in Los Angeles… and happen to be forced into Hollywood, I first offer my apologies for having to witness the worst of what America has to offer… Then I say, find your way as quickly as possible to the Blue Palms Brew House and settle into a comfy bar stool.

The Intelligentsia crew has officially taken up residence at El Prado. This bar has been around for years, but only recently has it become a safe place to hang out. Back in the day, it was known for comon knife fights, brauls, and other violent outbursts. These days it’s a great place to stop for a nice Belgian.

My favorite bar in Los Angeles is probably the Verdugo. With 30-something taps, all rotating, there’s almost always a reason to stop in. The goal there it to not only carry different and odd beers, but to build relationshops with breweries to get exclusive kegs. Plus, they have beer pong on their back patio. Tomorrow, Verdugo will be kicking off it’s first Oktoberfest. Beer pong, boot races, brauts, and giant mugs of German beer will be happening… Another nice factor is the place is less than half a mile from the LA Roasting Works. So, post-competition training activities will definitely insue this year.

The fourth is less bar and more restaurant… Which is unfortunate at times. Plus, it’s a vegan place. Initially, they were pushing how they had “vegan” beer. BS. Anyway, the menu is sometimes impressive, and other times more novelty than truly great beer, but it’s close to our cafe… and sometimes a non-animal product burrito is just better with a trappist ale.

Well, I should get to writing that article. If you’re in LA, now you know where to go, so you don’t waiste your time.

Men. Man-Up.

Apparently, my attempts in July to renew my domain and URL failed. Oh well. It’s just about as bad as the fact that someone already registered RyanWillbur.com… I really am curious as to what Julie Hursh has planned with it. Anyway, This may leada  to a redoing of the blog. We’ll see. Anywho, enjoy ghostcoffee.net you douches in Indonesia!

What really has been boggling my mind lately is not domain name data and the like. I just have one simple question, when are the men in the Silverlake/Echo Park neighborhood of LA going to ‘man-up’? What I’m noticing is not even something neighborhood specific, but moreover something I’ve seen in many coffee bars. I’m talking about when the burly looking dude sporting a hard hat walks in and orders a single, sixteen ounce, nonfat, no foam, sugarfree creme de menthe, and sugar free white mocha. Yesterday, in my line I had three dudes, in my que was three mochas (two nonfat). Then, some big athletic dude who looked like he could easily kick my ass walked in… and then asked if we had any blended drinks.

Interesting is the contrast of all the beautiful, 30-something women who come in seeking a cappuccino or a machiatto. I’m amazed at the number of women looking for espressos and asking about what kind of coffees were serving on our Clover that day. Now, either they are catching onto what it takes to get attention from Devin Pedde, or maybe all these women are secretly super tasters and their palates are sensitive to sugary, milky drinks.

Regardless, I can’t help but wonder how such orders would sound to a woman. She sees some attractive looking dude who appears to have an idea of what is going on in the world. He gives off an air of dignity and professionalism… and then he orders a drink similar to what I would hear when I was serving the soccer moms of the suburbs.

So to all the men who enter our store in Silverlake, the next time you are thinking about hitting on the fairly attractive screen-play writer who is in line behind you, think twice before ordering that latte and asking for half the espresso and non fat milk.