Super light espresso and extra fancy burrs in so-cal

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#1: Post by jedovaty »

Are there cafes here that can provide one or both: 1) very light roasted coffee and 2) espresso from super fancy flat burrs. I am in southern California.

I hesitate to purchase from the likes of Sey, Wendelboe, etc, on my own because I don't have confidence I'll experience the coffee correctly before getting a chance to dial it in.

Ultimate goal is to determine whether "separation of flavors", "clarity", and "syrupy sweetness" are real to my taste buds.

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#2: Post by jedovaty (original poster) »

So... about a week later, doesn't look like this exists in southern California. Anyone have ideas? I'd prefer to try and compare before doing something silly.

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#3: Post by shotwell »

Not sure where you're looking specifically, but endorffeine is highly regarded in the style. You could also look at kumquat and dayglow for other multi roaster shops that take things reasonably seriously.

If you're looking for espresso specifically the Pasadena intelligentsia location has been working through some modern espresso offerings pulled on flair 58s; could be fun.

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#4: Post by TOTK_ »

Endorffeine was just recently pulling some beans from Manhattan as espresso.

As mentioned above Kumquat and Dayglow are also good options for light roasts. I will also add Highlight Coffee in Glendale and Altadena.

I saw someone mention that Reverent Coffee in Pasos Verdes had an EG-1 that they were using for specific roasts as espresso and a quick glance online it looks like they carry Sey, Onyx, etc.

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#5: Post by jedovaty (original poster) »

Awesome, thank you both!

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#6: Post by caeffe »

2 spots since I'm assuming you're in OC

Try Hopper & Burr in Santa Ana
On their menu is "Litmus" - they'll serve you coffee 3 ways: espresso, cappuccino, and filter.
I didn't get to try Litmus when I went but at that time they were using Sey coffee. I ordered a capp togo since I was somewhat in a hurry - barista warned me that the "apricot" flavor may not show up as well in a capp compared to an espresso; I probably should have listened and ordered the espresso... next time :)

Have you also tried Portola Coffee at SOCO in Costa Mesa? They do roast their own in the premises, not sure I'd call them light roast but their espresso blends in my taste buds border on the "fruity" spectrum. They were named a roaster of the year before. They actually used to have a mini cafe where they were pulling shots and custom drinks/coffee cocktails on a single group LSM Lever - alas, no longer there but the regular cafe and the roastery is still there.
LMWDP #162

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#7: Post by jedovaty (original poster) »

Hopper & Burr has been on my to visit list, although they look more milk based than focusing more on the light roasted coffee (I still want to visit them, but not on my next trip).

I used to buy beans from Portola when they roasted in the back of that cupcake store on Barranca, before they had their store front at soco :) Will have to try them again someday.

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#8: Post by ojt »

Edit: just realized I was answering from a wrong POV.

I'm not sure tasting the coffee at a shop will actually help much more than just answering whether you currently like that type of coffee and whether they brewed it to your liking at that moment. It could be argued that light roasts, as coffee itself, is an acquired taste.

The super duper flat burrs will make it one way, whereas your hg-1 will make it in another. In my opinion the same, or almost, notes can be pulled with both, adjusting recipe accordingly.

If you really think you want to get into light roasts, I think the best way is to buy a bag once in a while. There's a lot of variance out there in terms of flavor profile and what is light roast.

Anyway, as for my shop vs home experiences, I just recently had a cup of pour over in a high-end shop using an EK43. It was good! So good I bought a bag of the same coffee from them, a Burundi roasted by Manhattan. Not the lightest I've seen but definitely on the light end of the roast spectrum. Well, I'm happy to report that I got the same, or almost, taste notes at home using Origami and my Kinu M47, vs their V60 and EK43. Intense sweetness, kind of resembling fresh mint at times, with a background of perhaps raspberry bubblegum (this kind of almost artificial round sweetness) as reported on the bag.

A lot depends on how you brew the coffee. Of course with different equipment, water, etc, you need to adjust your recipe. But you can get pretty damn close with pretty basic equipment.

In my opinion the order of importance is:
1. Beans
2. Water
3. Technique / brewing experience
4. Grinder
5. Brewing gear

And of course the coffee done with very high-end gear has the potential to taste better but the returns are very much diminishing.

Anyway, it's just coffee. Lightly roasted, but just coffee. Get some and brew it :)

BTW, I can recommend Manhattan as a roastery. Have yet to be disappointed by them.

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#9: Post by Jeff »

Osku has a good point. Even if you find a cafe with the coffee, gear, and skills you're looking for, unless you try at home, what is your point of reference?

With a traditional conical burr set, lever machines, pulling medium-ish and darker roasts, and potentially very different water, I would have a hard time guessing what made the difference between home and a "high-end, light-roast" shop.

I'd try something affordable at home. A subscription to Tim Wendelboe, Coffee Collective, or probably several others isn't terribly expensive. Wendelboe's "espresso" roast is still lighter than a typical US-based roaster's "light" but extracts more easily than their "filter". I have not tried CC's options other than their lightest. Over the span of a couple months, you'll likely get at least one bag of natural and one bag of washed, perhaps from varying regions.

Filter methods can be pretty forgiving. For espresso your gear should be able to do a good job, though you may have to accept messy pours, higher flow rates, and longer shots than you may be used to.

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#10: Post by Elagins »

If you're in or near San Diego, Mostra has some pretty decent Pegasing and Colombian light roasts, although they're pricey and I wouldn't trust their baristas to pull an even passable shot. Café Moto and Manzanita also produce some excellent roasts.