Spring For Coffee – Los Angeles, CA
Great things come in small packages, and that’s certainly the case with Spring For Coffee. Located in the heart of Downtown LA, this cafe puts out some of the best coffee in Los Angeles– all in a shop the size of my closet.
Upon entering Spring For Coffee, you’ll realize it stocks some of the finest espresso equipment around. Gracing the left side of the counter are three huge Mazzer grinders stocked with a rotating carnival of freshly roasted beans (I’ve seen them use Ritual, Jaguar, Intelligentsia, Stumptown, and Equator). On the right side are a collection of individual drip pots as well as a choice of brewers: I spied a traditional french press, Chemex, and Eva Solo.
And sitting pretty amidst the chaos of grinders, cups, beans, and baristi is Spring For Coffee’s piece de resistance: a La Marzocco espresso machine. Customized with controlled settings and accurate to a tenth of a degree, this incredibly pricey Italian beast is the best espresso machine money can buy.
The baristi are unquestionably talented– they can pull a mean espresso! Their attitude is one of confidence backed by a genuine passion for what they do. It wasn’t until I started extracting my own espresso at home that I really began to understand and appreciate the skill involved in producing an exceptional shot of espresso. Once you get a hang of juggling temperature, grind settings, tamping pressure, and bean age, it is possible to get a really get a fantastic shot. As you can imagine, consistency is the biggest hurdle to overcome as a barista. Even I could pull a flawless shot (a seldom occurrence), but to pull them perfectly one after the other is really something else.
Looking back on the time I’ve spent in Los Angeles, this tiny shop on the corner of 6th and Spring St is the one place I return to over and over again. With such a small space, the atmosphere is pleasantly convivial, with smiles and laughter abound. Conversation among strangers is inevitable, though the small space (with no indoor seating!) means at least one person in line is constantly shifting around to avoid the steady stream of customers entering and exiting.
When I stop by in the mornings, I usually forego my usual espresso and stick to a cappuccino. While I’m normally not a fan of milk with my coffee, Spring for Coffee’s is really something else. All their milk comes from Strauss Family Creamery, which is so naturally sweet it tastes like there’s already sugar in my cappuccino! In addition, espressos here are all double ristrettos– 14 grams of coffee instead of 7 grams, extracted for about 25-28 seconds, resulting in a rounded, rich chocolatey flavor.
So with great coffee and great people I’d encourage you to stop by the next time you’re in downtown LA. Hopefully you’ll be one of the lucky few and snag one of the six chairs out on the sidewalk– watching the crowds go by is always a fun activity on gorgeous tree-lined Spring Street.