Handsome Coffee Roasters - headed by Tyler Wells, Mike Phillips, and Chris Owens - recently broke ground on the construction of their 3,500 square foot facility in L.A.’s Industrial District, steps from the Arts District and Little Tokyo, forming an anchor in the Mateo Street corridor. Curious about the space, Eater popped by for a tour around the currently empty venue (but with newly poured concrete floors!) headed by Phillips, who also happens to be the 2010 World Barista Champion. Strutting around in worn selvage jeans and a vintage cotton work shirt, Phillips previewed Handsome's front coffee bar area where floor-to-ceiling windows will look out to the street. Calling it a “Silver Lake-style” bar (as in Intelligentsia Silver Lake’s ideal set-up), customers will step right up to the counter where a baristas takes your order and shuffles you through to pastries and the register.
Taking a minimalistic approach, Handsome plans to offer only two main products – espresso and brewed coffee. Espresso will be served “with milk” in various quantities – three, six, and 12 ounces – instead of the classic macchiato, cappuccino, or latte. And there will be no chocolate or milk substitutes available (sorry drinkers of soy milk). Brewed coffee will feature the coffee itself without trumpeting the brew method. So, beans highlighted as opposed to method. A small area at the far end of the retail space will feature brewing products and beans available for purchase, as well as a demonstration space where customers can learn more about Handsome’s approach to coffee.
Beyond the coffee bar, one will find a floor-to-ceiling glass wall separating the bar from the roasting space where a new roaster will reside. The current back area, which resembles a bachelor-pad den of sorts (including the Handsome Van and training lab equipped with a brand new La Marzocco Strada espresso machine), will be used as green coffee storage. As of now, if you pop by any given weekday morning, you might be surprised to see a friendly bearded barista wearing a straw hat and denim apron offering a preview sample taste. [EaterWire] — Matthew Kang