When Amparo Rios, coffee culture photographer extraordinaire, informed me that at long last a specialty coffee bar had opened in her neck of the woods, her and I planned a trip out to Valencia, Califonria to go check out House Roots Coffee. This brand new cafe is open just one day a week, but don’t let that fool you – House Roots is serving some seriously great coffees on professional gear, and its baristas are well-known throughout the LA specialty coffee scene.
On Saturday morning, I headed to Valencia in the Santa Clarita Valley, about 30 miles north of Los Angeles. We pulled off the freeway near the massive Six Flags Magic Mountain roller coaster park, and there it was, nestled amongst the sprawling parking lots and office clusters that make up this part of Southern California. In this unlikely place I found the House Roots sign, and noted baristas Thomas Kong and Jimmy Lee inside making coffee for happy locals. Mr. Kong and Mr. Lee have devoted fans back in Los Angeles, owing to their work at Cafe Dulce’s popular pop-up.
Armed with a cortado and a mocha we sat on the saw horse chair and shared coffee and conversation with Amparo, who talked about how happy she is to be able to take her husband out for coffee close to home. We listened to the Beatles playing on a Crosley turntable set up on a log side table.
House Roots makes their espresso drinks on a La Marzocco G3 and were serving Heart’s Kenya Gichatha-ini during our visit. The small cafe is currently only open on Saturdays from 8am to 4pm – when roller coaster traffic is at its peak, no doubt – but they’ve got plans for expanded coffee service in the future. I know now that should the day ever come when I’m roped into taking my daughters to Magic Mountain, I can easily sneak away for a coffee while they ride the X2.
Amparo Rios’ photos tell the story best. Here’s a few more looks from inside House Roots.
Julie Wolfson (@JulieWolfson) is a Sprudge.com staff writer based in Los Angeles. Read more by Julie Wolfson here.
Photos by Amparo Rios for R.E. Photography, used with permission.