Tag Archives: coffee

10 places in Los Angeles to get a damn good cup of coffee

In the last few years Los Angeles has found its coffee roots. After a slow start the city is booming with exceptional baristas serving high quality beans. And that includes all the features coffee drinkers love: expensive machines, specific dairy options, local roasters, fair trade, and even vendors at farmers markets.

There is also a competition to create the perfect coffee experience. Shops are experimenting with interior design and culture programs – like banning laptops, offering no seating, and – in true LA spirit – wide open outdoor spaces.

This makes visiting the top ten coffee shops in Los Angeles a fun adventure. Here they are, from LA Weekly, with the address included – for more details on each shop read the full article.

 

1. Espresso Cielo - 3101 Main Street, Santa Monica

2. Balconi Coffee Company - 11301 W. Olympic Blvd #124, Los Angeles

3. Coffee Commissary 801 N. Fairfax Ave., #106, Los Angeles

4. Farmers’ Markets – at the Crenshaw market, USC market, Hollywood Yamashiro market

5. Cafecito Organico - 2 locations in Los Angeles - 534 N. Hoover Street & 710 N. Heliotrope Drive

6. Spring for Coffee - 548 S. Spring Street, Los Angeles

7. CoffeeBar - 600 S. Spring St., Los Angeles

8. Intelligentsia - 3 locations:

  • 3922 West Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles
  • 1331 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice
  • 55 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena

9. Cognoscenti Coffee - 3156 Glendale Blvd, Los Angeles

10. Cafe de Leche - 5000 York Boulevard, Los Angeles

 

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Beethoven drank buckets of black coffee – Creativity advice from 90 artists

It’s nice to have creative friends, especially when you hit a creative block. You can call them up and ask them for advice. That’s exactly what Alex Cornell did and he turned it into BreakThrough! 90 Ways to Spark Your Imagination.

Each one is a personal thought from an artist, writer, or musician – like the one below from Alexi Murdoch. Browse the book on Amazon or visit Brain Pickings for more quotes.

From Alexi Murdoch:

Beethoven drank buckets of strong, black coffee. Beethoven was creatively prodigious. (He also went deaf and, perhaps, mad.) Sound syllogism here? I’d like to think so.

The idea that creativity is some abundantly available resource waiting simply for the right application of ingenuity to extract, refine, and pipe it into the grid seems so axiomatic at this cultural juncture that the very distinction between creativity and productivity has been effectively erased.

And so it is that, when faced with a decreased flow in productivity, we ask not what it might be that’s interfering with our creative process, but rather what device might be quickly employed to raise production levels. This is standard, myopic, symptomatology-over-pathology response, typical of a pressurized environment of dislocated self-entitlement.

At the risk of going off brief here, can I just ask: What’s wrong with creative block? Might it not just be that periods — even extended ones — of productive hiatus are essential mechanisms of gestation designed to help us attain higher standards in our pursuit of creative excellence?

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Have you used Fab yet? – The design site has 7 million customers and is booming

If you can, imagine the intersection of Ikea and Etsy. Industrial home manufacturing meets quirky internet designers. That is Fab.com.

From the CEO:

There are now nearly 10,000 products on Fab every single day. (Btw. Ikea boasts having 9500 products on their website.)  We’re building the world’s greatest design store.

 

And it seems to be working, the site hit 6 million visitors in August and a month later has surpassed 7 million. Definitely, worth visiting.

Here are a few of the products:

 

Hemisphere

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The Zero Waste coffee maker

One of the keys to living Zero Waste is to find those genius products that reduce your waste and offer a superior product. I’ve found just that for my coffee and it’s called the Moka.

I like this coffee maker because there are no filters to change or pods to throw out. There are only a few moving parts and it lasts forever (4 years and counting). In fact, it is such a genius design that it was first patented in 1933 and hasn’t changed all that much. Over 200 million of them have been sold, making it one of the most popular coffee makers ever.

Here it is:

 

It comes in several sizes and starts at $20 for the 1-cup version. This is the one my family uses because it serves one person perfectly. We occasionally run into trouble when two people need coffee at the same time, and there is a 3-cup version for only $22. Which sounds like a good deal, but maybe not.

If you’re going to buy one, start with the 1-cup version. If you find that everyone is wanting coffee at the same time (this rarely happens in my household) then go for the bigger one. We actually own both but never use the larger one. Whenever we did a lot of coffee would be wasted and we would always switch back to the 1-cup.

Now, for those coffee experts out there, comes the taste. In my opinion, the Moka offers a superior taste and consistency to any other home coffee maker on the market. The coffee is a blend between drip and espresso, giving it a creamy consistency with a little extra water that enhances the flavor. The only thing that beats it is a professionally prepared espresso, though, many times I find those are inferior as well (the quality depends on the barista).

The Moka is a heat based system, meaning you will have to put it on your stove. The process of setting it up is real easy. You unscrew the bottom and add water and coffee. Screw it back together and then put it on the stove. The water will steam up and then shoot through the coffee (like espresso) as it rises and then condensing in the top. During which a nice smell of coffee will waft through the house and it is ready to serve when the bubbling sound stops (like popcorn in a microwave!).

I have fallen in love with my little Moka and I bet you will too. It is the perfect Zero Waste coffee machine for the eco-minded, or even the coffee snob. And, for the price it can’t be beat.

Logitech creates a keyboard you can spill coffee on

A true innovation. Everything should be made waterproof.

The New Logitech Washable Keyboard K310

Today, we’re excited to announce the Logitech Washable Keyboard K310 – the keyboard that loves a wash. From a light dusting to a rinse in the kitchen sink, this keyboard is easy to clean and easy to dry.

We’ve all experienced that moment of distraction, followed by panic, resulting from a cup of coffee or soda, or anything else, spilling all over our keyboard. That’s life. Spills, messes and mishaps will happen, but that’s okay because this keyboard can handle whatever life throws at it. That’s why we call it life proof.

 

The only question I have is can I bring it in the pool!

The iPhone as your wallet – Apple creates Passbook for iOS 6 – check-in to flights, buy a Starbucks coffee

The best way to learn about Passbook is to see it in action, the video below auto-starts at 1:32:55 (except on mobile devices):

 

In my personal quest to shrink my wallet, maybe even get rid of it, I love this feature. No more loyalty cards and gift cards, just my phone.

More on this new app from Apple:

 

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The Art of Fermentation in coffee, bread, beer, cheese, yogurt…

The list of fermented food in our lives is staggering: bread, coffee, pickles, beer, cheese, yogurt and soy sauce are all transformed at some point during their production process by microscopic organisms that extend their usefulness and enhance their flavors.

The process of fermenting our food isn’t a new one: Evidence indicates that early civilizations were making wine and beer between 7,000 and 8,000 years ago — and bread even before that.

But was exactly is fermentation? And how does it work? Those were the questions that fascinated Sandor Katz for years. Katz calls himself a “fermentation revivalist” and has spent the past decade teaching workshops around the country on the ancient practice of fermenting food.

“If you walk into a gourmet food store and start thinking about the nature of the foods that we elevate on the gourmet pedestal, almost all of them are the products of fermentation,” he tells Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross.

 

Listen to the full interview on NPR’s Fresh Air‘Fermentation’: When Food Goes Bad But Stays Good

 

The book - The Art of Fermentation.

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Starbucks to improve its baked goods – purchases artisan bakery, La Boulange

Starbucks got the coffee right. Now, it is trying to do the same with the food.

The world’s largest coffee chain announced on Monday plans to acquire for $100 million a small artisan bakery chain, Bay Bread and its 19-unit La Boulange bakery brand.

The move comes just months after Starbucks (SBUX) purchased the tiny Evolution Fresh juice brand and at a time Starbucks is pushing hard to expand beyond coffee and vastly improve its baked goods and other food offerings. Food is one of the chains fastest-growing businesses, now accounting for $1.5 billion in revenues even as its sales have grown by double digits over the past two years.

“After more than 40 years, we will be able to say that we are bakers, too,” says Howard Schultz, CEO at Starbucks.

via USA Today

 

The bakery chain, La Boulange, reminds me a lot of Le Pain Quotidien.

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Start-up perks – the standards, impressive ones, & no way that’s amazing

We asked more than a dozen startups (Thrillist, Fab, Tumblr, Jetsetter, StumbleUpon, Asana, Eventbrite, Warby Parker, Rent the Runway, Coloft, ZocDoc, GetGlue, Foursquare, Birchbox, Modcloth, Evernote) what perks they offer and we’ve grouped these perks into three tiers, giving you the sampling of who offers what and why these companies think it wise to spend money on them.

The Standards

  • Free snacks
  • Free coffee
  • Casual dress code
  • Dog-friendly office
  • Ping pong table, pool table, foosball table or basketball hoop.

Wow, That’s Impressive

  • Catered lunch every day.
  • Paid vacation day on your birthday.
  • $100 Uber car credit each month (StumbleUpon) or car service for late nights (Tumblr).
  • A “Fun Committee” to plan company outings, such as ice skating, scavenger hunts.

Really? That’s Amazing

  • Unlimited sick and vacation days, because “we believe in treating everyone like an adult,” says Braley. (Thrillist, ZocDoc, ModCloth, Foursquare).
  • A tab at the local coffee shop, so teammates don’t have to eat the cost of networking (Jetsetter).
  • In-office massages, chiropractor and acupuncture sessions every week (Eventbrite).

Just small selection of the perks from the articleAre These the Best Startup Perks You’ve Ever Seen?

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Growing coffee trees in California

In this day of the $6 cup of coffee, when bragging rights mean knowing not only the varietal but the beans’ latitude, anything exotic gets the antennae waving. Which may explain why Jay Ruskey of Good Land Organics is inundated with requests to visit his north Santa Barbara County farm, where he is the only person cultivating coffee in California. He’s been turning down the requests—until now. This month the curious can sign up online for an agritour and the chance to see how Ruskey coaxes a plant inextricably tied to Latin America and Africa to flourish on U.S. soil.

The coffee-growing experiment is part of the UC small farms initiative, which supplied Ruskey with bushes and an expert, Mark Gaskell, who has worked in Central America. While coffee is normally grown at altitudes approaching thousands of feet, Ruskey’s farm sits at 650. The beans thrive in his coastal canyon largely because of the lack of extreme cold or heat and the low winds.

via Los Angeles Magazine

 

Ruskey's Coffee Trees

 

He now has 470 trees in the ground, which would fill half an acre if they had been planted in a continuous block. By chance, he planted the young trees among mature avocado trees and found that the two were good companions, as the coffee benefited from the rich soil generated by the avocado trees’ mulch.

…his mature trees are mostly Typica, the Arabica type from which most others developed, and Caturra, a mutation of Bourbon discovered in Brazil. He also has 100 young trees of Geisha, a rare Panamanian strain of Ethiopian origin, legendary for its superb quality.

He is sufficiently convinced of the feasibility of his project that he and Gaskell are working to organize a Santa Barbara coffee growers association with several other farmers who have planted or committed to planting coffee trees.

via Los Angeles Times

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