Discovering Specialty Coffee: South West

Paper or Plastik

By Alexandra Littlejohn, Verve Coffee Roasters

I believe that drinking every coffee, from as many roasters, at as many shops, made by as many different baristas as possible is by far one of the best practices a coffee professional can participate in. Everyone has a different take on coffee. I feel privileged to live in the South West region where we are saturated with wonderful roasters and cafes that are constantly pushing limits and exploring boundaries in our industry; not to mention that there is no end in sight to the thriving passion for coffee in this region either.

Verve Coffee Roasters

Slowly, more cafes here in the South West are featuring slow bars and multi-roaster line ups, and simplicity seems to be the name of the game recently. Cafes are no longer trying to keep up with the large chains, but instead offering slimmer lists of specialty beverages, larger lists and much more exclusive lists of roasters and different varieties of coffee. Some shops are even making such drastic leaps into only offering manually brewed coffee, no takeaway or disposable products, or even no cream and sugar.

Flying Goat Coffee Roasters

One thing is certain here in the South West, we are slow bar and V60 crazy! Almost every cafe that I walk into has a slow bar featuring one, if not many manual brewing methods, but the majority focus on the Hario V60 as the favorite brew method, with various ways to brew on them. Following the V60 is the Chemex, then the Clever, then the siphon, then french press. It seems more and more folks are featuring multiple brew methods for the customer to pick their poison, instead of assigning one method to a chosen coffee.

Lastly, the most interesting trend I see in my region, is the locations of some of our most quality driven cafes. From industrial arts districts, pop-up cafes in business districts to permanent farmer’s markets, folks here are thinking outside the box in terms of location. Strip malls and corner stores seem to be an old fashioned way of opening a cafe. Come down, enjoy the weather, the locations, the quality, and savor the differences.

Blue Bottle Coffee

Here are a few spots to check out in the South West region that I really enjoy and that I feel completely embody specialty coffee, from hospitality to quality:

1. Verve Coffee Roasters, Santa Cruz, CA
2. Serrano Social Club, Modesto, CA
3. Insight Coffee Roasters, Sacramento, CA
4. Handsome Coffee Roasters, Los Angeles, CA
5. Flying Goat Coffee Roasters, Healdsburg, CA
6. Sambalatte, Las Vegas, NV
7. Cartel Coffee Lab, Tempe, AZ
8. Metropolis Coffee, Denver, CO
9. Pablo’s Coffee, Denver, CO
10. Ozo Coffee, Boulder, CO