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Cup of Joe: Handsome Coffee Roasters in Los Angeles

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Cup of Joe: Handsome Coffee Roasters in Los Angeles

Sarah Lonsdale February 01, 2013

If you're going to call yourself Handsome Coffee, then you kind of have to deliver, right? Fortunately, they do. "They" being the three founders, Tyler Wells, Michael Phillips, and Chris Owens, who share some serious coffee credentials, including stints at Intelligentsia Coffee and a World Barista Championship to boot (that would be Phillips).

A year ago, Handsome Coffee Roasters opened shop in LA's Arts District, enlisting Woodsmithe, a local design/build studio headed by Nathanael Balon, to oversee the renovation of the former print shop. They opened up the space and kept the materials simple and industrial, using copper, iron, and concrete. The result is a renovated space that, much like their coffee, is pared down to the basic elements, no frills—just simple good taste. For more, go to Handsome Coffee.

Above (L to R): Michael Phillips (World Barista Champion), Tyler Wells, and Chris Owens. Photograph via Food GPS.

Above: The tables and stools are made from white oak; copper piping is used for shelving. Photograph by Elizabeth Daniels.

Above: Gooseneck industrial lighting in the hallway with a wall of maple tiles.

Above: Balon came up with the idea of using maple wood in lieu of subway tiles on the wall. He cut the wood in subway tile dimensions and glued them to the Sheetrock; then laser etched some of the Handsome graphics onto several tiles for decoration. Photograph via the Los Angeles Times.

Above: The copper-clad ceiling of the cafe with windows onto the roastery with Belgian roaster. (I happened to be there the day it arrived and witnessed a bevy of grown men beyond excited as they ripped apart the wooden shipping container.)

Above: It's all about the coffee at Handsome: no sugar, no decaf, no wi-fi.

Above: A typical day in LA; bench seating offers coffee imbibers a chance to linger.

Above: The way they roll.

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