You can miss Tilt Coffee Bar in Downtown Los Angeles’s sprawling madness. Unless, of course, you know what you’re looking for. In fact, so long as you head down the unassuming walkway, and check behind the tall apartment building, and are following the signage, it’s pretty hard not to find Tilt. Because, well, of the tilt.
“We want our shop to be modern and timeless,” co-owner Kyuho Choi says. “When we found this unique space, we instantly knew that this place would be perfect to serve good coffee. There aren’t many spaces in Downtown LA that have this park-like setting.”
Choi—a three-time competitor at the World Latte Art Championship— founded Tilt with his business partner Suk Hong at the end of last year. Hong, who acts as Tilt’s designer, naturally has an architectural background. Choi, with his six years of experience on bar, is the lead barista.
Tilt exclusively serves coffee from Portland’s Heart Coffee Roasters, pulling shots of espresso with a Synesso MVP Hydra 2-Group and grinding with a Nuova Simonelli Mythos One Clima-Pro. They also offer drip options via FETCO and Kalita products—all ground with a Mahlkönig EK 43.
The specialty menu at Tilt is inspired by Choi and Hong’s trips to South Korea, whose playful coffee culture is apparent in drinks like the Cloud Mocha—wherein layers of espresso, steamed milk, chocolate, and cold cream reward big gulps with palate-pleasing temperature variability. And the Ice Cloud Latte—layers of espresso, milk, maple syrup, and cold cream that are mixed as one sips with a straw.
“We have chosen our beans and teas based on our personal experiences,” Choi says. “We’ve had good personal experiences with Heart Roasters and we want our customers to have the same experience. We decided to go with Heart because of their consistency.”
While it’s still a very young cafe, big things are already planned for Tilt's surrounding green space, which will eventually play host to a community area for movie screenings and other pop-up events. In the meantime, though, Tilt will remain a place to take in the California sunshine and relax.
“We are still a baby in the coffee industry at this point,” Choi says. “We want to focus on our coffee for now—to provide good coffee and meet the expectations on our customers’ taste buds.”