|Bodhi Leaf Retail, in Orange, CA|
On day 2 of my "LA coffee tour" I headed south to Orange and the new cafe and warehouse of Bodhi Leaf Coffee Trading. I know owner Steve Sims from my first Q Grader cupping class. It was great fun to see him again, full red beard and as much devotion to things Buddhist as ever. He gave me the first class tour, starting at the espresso bar in the front, walking back past the impeccable cupping lab to the warehouse. A thing to behold! Coffee stacked floor to ceiling in the high-bay, but well-lit and cheerful, unlike some warehouses I've been to. Steve explained this is his second (or third?) location. He started in a small warehouse space 7 - 8 years ago. He has had to diversify much more than he imagined, as small batch importing alone doesn't make much, but when its your passion, you also can't let it go.
Bodhi Leaf - I had a simple decaf double shot (decaf Colombia) and later a decaf cappucino. Both delicious!
The next stop was down in Costa Mesa, Portola Coffee Lab. I had the pleasure of meeting Adam Rizzo, the roaster who works hard, constantly moving, while customers sit at the horse-shoe bar surrounding him, sipping amazing coffee and tapping on laptops. Adam is from Michigan! (Yea for the mitten!) Later, Jeff Duggan, the owner came out. It was a pleasure to meet him and learn how his passion for chemistry has led him to not only be a master-roaster, but he also brews beer and makes wine at home! Portola is also opening their 6th cafe in the coming weeks and will be renovating the space in Costa Mesa.
Portola - enjoyed a cup of regular Burundi Gahoro. (Sorry decaf fans, I couldn't resist!)
Last stop of the day was Rose Park Roasters in Long Beach. Quaint on the outside with vintage-style windows and doors, and a classy bike rack. When you walk in, the massive sign on the wall "WELCOME TO THE PROCESS" is just the start of the very cool, modern vibe you get. I ask barista Ronny what it means as he pours a decaf iced latter for me. "A great cup o fcoffee is a miracle. So many things can go wrong, " is the quote Ronny tells me he learned from his boss, Andrew Phillips. So meticulously following a process is the only way to try to get close to that perfect cup. I love it because this is heart of "lean thinking" at the far end of the value chain from where I teach lean!
Rose Park Roasters - decaf iced latte. Colombian. Delicious. (Unfortunately, did not take good flavor notes on exactly what I was drinking. I just enjoyed!)