Most of us now take a “frothy coffee” sometime during the week if not as a daily ritual, and apart from the taste of the coffee, is there really much to set one coffee shop aside form the rest, make them remarkable?
I have just spent some time at Venice Beach in LA, and just up the road at Abbot Kinney, there are a few good local stores, and a few coffee shops and restaurants, making it a really nice little place to hang out mid morning in search of a coffee fix. In this small area, there must be around half a dozen places to get a coffee, but there is always a very long queue at one particular establishment, and it never seemed to shrink, no matter what time of the day or night. So why?
The place is called “Intelligentsia”, and they do coffee, tea, and apart from the odd pastry, it’s really just coffee. Let me run through what happens in this place:
- You queue
- You reach the top of the line and 1 of 4 or 5 barista’s will welcome you over to their machine
- You place your order, 2 soy latte’s in this case
- They tap out the old coffee and wash and wipe the coffee holder in front of you
- They put the correct amount of soy milk in one jug and the correct amount of soy milk for the other coffee in the other jug
- They heat up one jug of milk whilst brewing one perfect shot.
- They poor the coffee shot into your cup, and make a great show of the adding the correct amount of milk on top.
- They repeat this for the other coffee.
- They then wash the milk jugs with specially designed jug washers, ready for the next customer and repeat the whole process
Its immaculate, and no chance of getting an upset tum from reheated too many times milk.
What really blew me away when it cam time to pay, was how my transaction was handled. I only had large notes and $8 in $1 bills, and as the coffee bill came to $10, she simply said “$8 will be fine”. Wow.
So it was the theater of the whole experience that made for a leisurely but very good coffee experience, one that I returned for many times during my stay, as did many other people.
They have found a way to do a regular job nicely, and set themselves out from the rest. It’s not always about price, it’s also about giving the right thing. Remarkable.