Cold Cocked is a surprising punch in the face—the bright white of the space it inhabits is jarring after the dirty chaos of Wilshire Boulevard, and the neon boxing glove displayed above the bar is alternately a challenge and a welcome. Instead of a standalone cafe, Cold Cocked is part of Platform 35, a food market hall in Koreatown. Its neighbors include LA staples like Guisados, and seating is a picnic-inspired cafeteria-style setup, with constructed leafy trees and an enormous wall of windows that let in plenty of sunlight. More obviously: It’s a coffee shop that serves a very specific style of coffee.
You can’t get standards like a cappuccino, though there is a nitro cold brew and a drip coffee option. There’s an espresso machine, but don’t ask for a shot in a cup, and you can barely get anything to go. Owner Adam Fleischman is serious about getting people to stay, to enjoy their drinks in chilled stemware with metal straws. He admits that he can get “combative” about this, but his passion comes from an honest place: Like all the best cocktails, his drinks are best enjoyed immediately.
So what is Fleischman serving up? Imagine a collection of all the best signature beverages you’ve seen at coffee championships, all the ones that sparkle with thoughtful consideration and challenge your palate to experience coffee in a slightly different way. This menu is full of such drinks. Each one begins with a cold liquid base that steeps for three days (Fleischman is secretive about the recipe beyond that). A double-shot of espresso goes on top of that base, returning to the one-two punch theme: it’s a lot of caffeine. Each drink is shaken in an electric cocktail shaker to ensure it’s at frothy perfection, and then the options veer in exciting, different directions from there—like the Denmark, a drink made with a powdered licorice root that’s not readily available in the US. And on a secret menu is a drink Fleischman claims will get you high, based on an herb he was playing around with while making cocktails at home.
All the ingredients in the cafe are organic. Salt plays a big role, but Fleischman aims for “much more subtle” flavors, with both experimentation and balance the driving force behind every drink. Most are served cold, though a coconut cortado and a Mexican hot chocolate have each made the cut. The menu also features tea, including a lavender-infused Yerba mate. There aren’t decaf options, though Fleischman plans to create decaf drinks if there’s demand for them. For now, Cold Cocked is meant to be an afternoon pick-me-up, something a little different to get you ready to go back to work or to have as an aperitif before a night out.
Great cocktails come with a side of philosophy when Fleischman is on bar. The all-white decor includes plaster busts of Socrates, Voltaire, and Minerva, and one single question can launch him into expounding on any number of topics. Though most of Platform 35’s seating is spread out, Cold Cocked has barstools where customers can sit at the counter to chat with the baristas like any good neighborhood bar. It’s part of what makes this concept stand out from other LA cafes.
“Our coffee punches you harder,” Fleischman says with pride. Each drink is a process, hand-crafted in a way that slows down the pace of service. But the wait is worth it. Fleischman hopes his style of beverages catches on and wants Cold Cocked to be scalable to several locations like his previous projects. Until then, head to Koreatown to experience the new way Cold Cocked is punching up the coffee scene.
Valorie Clark (@TheValorieClark) is a freelance journalist based in Los Angeles. Read more Valorie Clark on Sprudge.