Although Field Trip LA is located in one of the busiest areas of Hollywood in Los Angeles, right by Sunset and Vine, it’s a little hidden oasis on this busy tourist block. Walking in, you’ll notice a small but airy space. Very California decor adorns the wall, along with a welcoming chalkboard menu. The cafe offers Verve coffee and a great range of food options, made with fresh ingredients that come from the Hollywood Farmer’s Market, one of the best in LA. They’ve also got quite the menu of coldbrew-based coffee concoctions, from a Vietnamese-style iced coffee all the way to a Miso-Sea Salt Caramel offering.
The fresh ingredients are the result of a partnership with SEE-LA, a producer of eight Los Angeles farmer’s markets, driven to build food sustainability and promote access to fresh foods in various communities throughout LA. Next to the locally sourced food, there’s a compelling coffee menu set to entice not only coffee buffs, but coffee drinkers from all walks of life. Co-owner and chef Minh Phan says they set out serve coffee “that would complement the Vietnamese and cream-topped cold brews. We wanted flavors that were a bit old world, so we can put our modern spin.”
Considering the small space of the establishment, Phan aimed to offer quality coffee without the need for an espresso machine. As luck would have it, Phan notes that Field Trip LA’s opening “came right in the middle of a heat wave this year, so it’s natural that we were inspired by fresh cold brew drinks.” They use a Toddy brewer to make their cold brew base, to which they then add house-made syrups/sweeteners, and top with the infused creams.
Let’s go through the menu, starting with the Vietnamese iced coffee. The only “special” coffee that isn’t topped with cream, this was a classic variation. Smooth, creamy, and strong, but tastefully sweetened with the condensed milk. If you’re used to sharp Vietnamese coffee, expect this one to be slightly different. The cold base produces a mild and pleasant taste, versus the traditional hot brewing method.
Next up, the Honey-Mint. It was elegantly topped with luscious heavy cream. The best way to enjoy these drinks, according to Phan, is to take a sip out of the straw, swirl, and mix in the cream topping with the coffee to truly experience the complexities of the ingredients. The special elements that take your drink to the next level are in the cream, so be sure to mix well.
Although I’ve had mint coffee drinks before, I’ve never truly tasted fresh mint in my drink. I noticed the difference in the natural hints and aromas that came through. The strong mint flavor was cooling and refreshing, while not being too intense. Perfect for a hot day.
Next? Miso-Sea Salt Caramel. I didn’t know what to expect from this one. On first sip I tasted the salt, then the sweetness of the caramel came through. Perfect balance of sweet and salty. The miso was definitely more in the aftertaste, with a subtle nuttiness that tied it all together. It was strange to me at first, but it ended up being my favorite. It’s the most complex variation on the menu and the one to order for adventurous coffee-confection drinkers.
Last on the menu was the Lavender Cream. Very fragrant and floral. The smell hits you before you even take a sip and really stays with you. Anyone who loves lavender will be more than pleased with their order. Be warned—this drink is a floral powerhouse.
I asked Minh what other concoctions she has up her sleeve. “We’re currently experimenting with autumn flavors such as pine, eucalyptus, bergamot, cinnamon. We will be adding cream-topped hot drips as the weather cools.” She’s also looking forward to an expanding dinner menu and an experiment with sparkling coffee drinks. Based on the cold brew treats she’s managed to whip up already, I’m excited too.
Tatiana Ernst is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and photographer. Read more Tatiana Ernst on Sprudge.com.