When Angelenos think of Studio City, coffee isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. It’s surprising, too, in a neighborhood with a range of food—sushi to vegan to gastropubs—that there’s just about nowhere to get a good cup of coffee. That is, until Coffee Source opened its doors this past February.
Situated on Ventura Boulevard in a strip mall, Coffee Source is small but well-equipped; the shiny, imported Giesen roaster is the first thing you see when you walk in, usually with head roaster Casey Kooyman working on the almost-daily batch of beans. The cafe’s reclaimed-wood tables and similarly unfussy decor give a sense of what they’re about—a focus on the coffee, with a plan to keep things small and simple, at least at first. “Right now we’re just working on trying to get our consistency down and cover everything we need here before we expand,” says lead barista and manager Alanna Herbert, a veteran of top coffee shops in northern California.
Once you get past the sights and smells of the roasting, you’ll find single-origin (mostly organic) and custom-blend espresso drinks, as well as popular cold brew, drip, and ice blended choices. They’ll even make one of their special cold-brew sparkling-espresso drinks to cool you off. Other brewing methods include AeroPress, Chemex, Hario V60, French press, and even a syphon if that’s calling your name. Coffee Source pulls shots from a La Marzocco GB5 with beans ground in Mahlkönig grinders.
Those beans come exclusively from distributors Bodhi Leaf Coffee Traders and Ally Coffee Merchants, which Kooyman mentions are all fair trade. Apart from coffee, the drinks menu includes organic matcha, sencha, Earl Grey, and chamomile teas, along with chai tea from Tipu’s. Pastries from Crème Caramel LA, like their rich chocolate fudge brownies, berry tarts, and cookies, set off the drinks nicely. Coffee Source is also working with a local baker, David Vanlochem of Duidough, who makes the moist banana and zucchini breads they offer. In the future the cafe hopes to offer more savory options, like sandwiches, but for now they’ve got Western Bagel products for those looking for a quick bite.
“We’re the only coffee shop that I think is different here on Ventura,” says Herbert. “We want to be the next go-to coffee shop in the area—not only on Ventura Boulevard but in all of Studio City. Eventually, we’d like to start retailing to all of the surrounding shops.” With growth as the goal, the Coffee Source team is working toward perfecting their brewing, roasting, and overall coffee-shop experience before becoming what Herbert calls a “coffee lab,” with an eye on offering cuppings and an array of classes focused on coffee.
If that sounds ambitious, Coffee Source has already proved a popular presence in Studio City in just a couple months, showing how much the neighborhood needed a good local coffee shop. It should be fun watching them grow.
Tatiana Ernst is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and photographer. Read more Tatiana Ernst on Sprudge.