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New Wave of Roasters Redefining L.A. Coffee Culture

Although coffee culture and quality in Los Angeles has lagged behind other west coast coffee meccas such as Seattle, Portland and San Francisco, a new crop of artisan roasters and skilled baristas have been narrowing the gap, especially over the past year.

This according to Los Angeles Times food writer Patrick Comiskey, who recently penned an interesting piece about LA’s burgeoning coffee scene, which he largely attributes to the move of Chicago specialty roaster Intelligencia to the Silver City in 2007, inspiring followers and providing the first real threat to longstanding chains such as Starbucks, Peet’s and Seattle’s Best.

This new wave of cafés — Balconi Coffee, Cafecito Organico, the Coffee Commissary, CoffeeBar, Cognoscenti Coffee, Gelato Bar, and Paper or Plastik among them — is dripping, steeping and pulling some very exotic flavors from these roasts and blends. The best cup of coffee you’ve ever had may be waiting for you in one of these cafes, a pleasure well beyond the usual desultory jolt of caffeine, one in which the complexity and depth of flavor in each sip are as memorable as in a glass of great wine.

Comiskey goes on to contend that new brewing methods and espresso delivery techniques are continuing to change the game in L.A.

New brewing methods seem to burst on the scene each month. Most have evolved from some version of the old-fashioned drip cone, the French press or a combination of the two. In your typical cafe, a barista staffs a pour-over bar where a half-dozen cones are perched over porcelain cups. Some cafes use a stoppered drip cone called the Clever, which steeps the coffee before it drains into the cup, or the AeroPress, a nifty variation of the steep-then-drip method.

But the biggest change in L.A.’s coffee culture may be related to the beans themselves, as master roasters continue to stress the origin and refine roasts to bring out the most flattering characteristics of each raw material. “We don’t want you to taste the roast; we want you to taste the coffee,” Martin Diedrich of Kean Coffee told the Times.

For the full story: LA Times



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