Ay, as the American football takes flight, so too do the leaves change, and the world becomes one great back-to-school commercial. These are the last gasping days of summer, where it’s no longer acceptable to wear white, but you can definitely still drink cold brew.
With a heavy heart we move into some of the last days for our 2016 Build-Outs of Summer seasonal special. We’ve seen some great places, and we’ll visit a few more before the harvest ends. Up next we visit Smith & Tait coffee in Los Angeles, one of America’s great coffee cities. “Great coffee without pretense” is their noble goal—let’s learn a bit more together, in the brisk September cool.
As told to Sprudge by Alexandra Morton, Co-Owner of Smith & Tait.
For those who aren’t familiar, will you tell us about your company?
Smith & Tait was born out of a desire to create a place in the community that celebrated the daily ritual of coffee. Owners Lauren Hogarth and Alexandra Morton are both driven by the love of handcrafted coffee drinks and how the process and care that goes into them can shine through and create something amazing between customers and staff. Striving for great coffee without the pretense, the goal is to really open up the conversation about specialty coffee within their community while creating great drinks.
Can you tell us a bit about the new space?
Our shop is located in the heart of West Hollywood, surrounded by retail and neighborhood alike. Nestled at the back of a larger building just off of Santa Monica Boulevard it’s a great find. Customers will feel like they’ve discovered something special, and with the front of house at just about 275 square feet that uniqueness carries on inside. While a bit of outdoor seating will take advantage of Los Angeles’s endless summers the inside is clean and simple with a mix of warm wood, sleek metal, and concrete blending the city and the nature you can see just outside in the Hollywood Hills. As a takeaway coffee shop, we want the time spent inside to be comfortable and fun, with records playing jams from Local Natives to Van Halen and great local pastries available if you need a snack.
What’s your approach to coffee?
Our approach to coffee is to keep it simple and make it taste damn fine. We want to give our customers a consistently great experience so they know they can always count on us for a stellar cup of coffee. Creating an exciting and well-curated menu allows us to focus on crafting great drinks while appealing to the varied palates in the community. Whether customers are looking for a great cup of drip or want to get adventurous and try some of our infused cold brews, we put the time and love into it all. One of our standouts in the coffee program is our craft cold brew. Treating it a lot like craft beer we have a growler program set up so customers can buy a 64-ounce growler of cold brew for the week and sign up to keep coming back weekly for refills for the home or office.
Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?
We are using a custom La Marzocco FB80 and FETCO batch brewers, Acaia scales, and about six Filtron Pros for the cold brew. We’re focusing heavily on the cold brew and creating unique infused brews with fresh ingredients to draw out different flavors in various roasts. For our coffee, we are excited to be working with the rad team at Ritual Coffee Roasters out of San Francisco. We know good coffee starts on the farms and we look forward to using Ritual’s knowledge to highlight the farmers and growing process.
What’s your hopeful target opening date/month?
As soon as possible! We are champing at the bit to get in there and get the coffee flowing. We’re aiming for mid-October right now.
Are you working with craftspeople, architects, and/or creatives that you’d like to mention?
We worked with architect Carlos Florez at Solrac Design in Los Angeles, and the interior design has been done in-house. We’ve also been working with a great team at Family Industries on our merch. The online store is already open at smithandtait.com!
What’s the address?
Photos courtesy of Alexandra Morton.