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Sleek Coffee Bar Opens on Caffeine-Heavy York Boulevard in Highland Park

Kumquat Coffee takes over the former The Juice

Kumquat Coffee
Kumquat Coffee in Highland Park
Mona Holmes

In fairly rapid turnaround, Kumquat Coffee opened its doors in Highland Park on November 24. After taking over the troubled location of The Juice, the owners took less than a month to convert the 800 square foot space into a light and airy spot for caffeinated drinking, and laptop lingering. And all slightly east of the bustle of York Boulevard in Highland Park.

The large front windows are ideal for laptop warriors watching LA life go by. In comparison to the adjacent Cafe de Leche and Collage Coffee, Kumquat’s foot traffic isn’t quite there yet. Owners Scott Sohn and AJ Kim simply want to complement the area and provide another option on York.

Their gathered experience brings a solid cup, as they measure every single espresso shot. Sohn is former GM of Document Coffee Bar in Koreatown, and Kim is former general manager of Reborn Coffee. “The bar was designed and organized for a barista. We’ve carefully considered what would be best for making coffee. We’re not just making the same coffee everyday.”

Kumquat’s coffee beans are sourced from Roastery in San Francisco, but the partners plan to roast their own in the coming months. Kim and Sohn will provide Mr. Holmes Bakehouse goods in the coming weeks, and since there’s a new playground next door, they’re working on a kids menu.

Kim and Sohn hope to stand out with subtle and elegant touches. They chose tea from makers like Red Blossom, Rishi, Hankook Tea, and Esteemed Tea Collective, which specializes in oolong. They installed a beautiful FAEMA E61 Jubilee espresso machine, wooden tables, hip music choices with a non-distracting volume, and single-origin chocolates for mochas.

The four-stool bar overlooks the coffee prep area, where the partners will ultimately serve a coffee omakase menu. “Want to make the bar into an omakase section with a specialty menu,” says Kim. “We’ll provide a mini coffee course. It’ll be a place to share our passion about coffee and tea.”

The cafe is directly across the street from the forthcoming Hinterhof biergarten. Both mark the start of a recent wave of York Boulevard expanding slightly eastward near Avenue 50. Hours are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, except Tuesday, when it’ll be closed.

Kumquat Coffee. 4936 York Blvd, Los Angeles, CA