At the hip café, yoga studio, wellness center and co-working space called The Springs in the Arts District of Los Angeles, all things natural and transparent are welcome. Their products and services are entirely oriented around the improvement of mental clarity and physical purity, from yoga to massage and from their raw, vegan meals to their biodynamic wines.
Nothing enhances mental clarity and productivity like a fine cup of coffee, though, and so The Springs has recently undergone renovations not only to expand their kitchen to include cooked offerings alongside their raw selections, but also a high-quality multiroaster coffee program with a focus on lively flavors unencumbered by heavy roasts.
Attached to their existing cold-pressed juice bar, a newly constructed portion of service counter is outfitted with a 2-group La Marzocco Linea EE paired with a Malkohnig K30 Vario espresso grinder and a Mahlkonig EK43 grinding for Curtis ThermoPro Twin batch drip coffees.
For their introductory roasters, The Springs has welcomed coffees from year-old Arcade Coffee Roasters based out of nearby Riverside, and from San Francisco-based Sightglass Coffee onto their menu. The Springs serves a neighborhood already well-accustomed to the good stuff, sitting just around the corner from the formerly-Handsome-branded Blue Bottle café and a standalone Stumptown location a couple blocks away.
Springs manager Max Gustashaw told Daily Coffee News that the stylistic preferences for the coffee program were inspired by The Springs’ overall ethos of transparency, while the stage was set more specifically by the company’s experience in crafting a wine selection.
“We were lucky to have a cuisine that we could really build a nice wine list around, and created a list of natural wines mainly produced in organic and biodynamic methods, that was about connection to the earth, and the transparency of wine itself, where you did get both fruity qualities and a really delicious streak of acid within the wine. Really intense, focused wines,” said Gustashaw. “When we started thinking about coffee, our palates were sort of in the same area there, and what’s wonderful about where coffee stands right now is that there’s so much that’s going in that direction.”
Gustashaw and co-founder Jared Stein look forward to expanding their espresso program to showcase more fruit-forward coffees as the café component establishes its popularity, while they also praise the standby blend they get from Arcade that incorporates an important balance of the nuttier, more caramelly notes that Gustashaw believes many customers will always depend upon in their coffee.
The latter type of customer will be particularly pleased with the house-made nut-based milks that The Springs has been making for its juice bar and for use by other cafes around town. Made from fresh organic nuts delivered to their kitchen personally by local almond grower George Yemetz, the raw almonds are soaked in cold water for a day before being cold-pressed, a process that removes the fiber and leaves all the fats, nutrients, flavors and oils. Said Stein, “What you’re left with is a delicious, thick and creamy nut milk.”
Stein said that even the more skeptical cafes were surprised by how well suited for espresso drinks their fresh almond milk turns out to be, once subjected to the steam wand. “The second they do it, they’re blown away by how well our almond steams up,” said Stein, who’s not 100 percent sure what to attribute this quality to, speculates it may be the absence of pasteurization or additional chemical stabilizers or additives that allows the fresh, natural fats and oils to do their thing.
With several Springs staffers already bringing some element of barista experience to the table, Gustashaw and co-founder Jared Stein have so far only hired one new person specifically for the position of lead barista, which oversees coffee quality control, inventory and other semi-managerial responsibilities. Going forward, coffee experience will be more strongly considered in new hires, while existing staff has undergone some training and palate calibration with Arcade.
The Springs coffee program is up and running now, with only a few cosmetic details remaining to finish the bar, as well as some work on bathrooms and an adjoining event space. The hot food kitchen renovation is slated for an official relaunch in mid June, at which point the hope is to establish The Springs as an all-day eatery, adding breakfast and brunch to their known lunch and dinner service.