Dayglow Coffee could only exist in Los Angeles. Opened in Silverlake on Sunset Boulevard in late 2017, the cafe from Tohm Ifergan, formerly of Portola Coffee Roasters in nearby Costa Mesa, is a neon-bright beacon not so unlike the city itself. A multi-roaster that sources coffees from some of the world's most notable roasteries, Dayglow is, like LA, at once itself and a component of its parts.
Ifergan founded the shop to not only provide customers with unique coffees but a side of information as well. Its interior has a clean aesthetic, with the seating and bar arranged in such a way as to encourage customers to interact with baristas as much as with each other, facilitating conversations about individual coffees, their roasteries, and means to prepare them at home.
Dayglow’s menu is intended to be simple and approachable, whether you're familiar with specialty coffee or not. It's divided into 10 different categories, written in relative plain-speak: espresso, milk, sweetened, signature, tea, filter, handbrew, tonic, funk, and cold coffee.
Ifergan's experience crafting coffee cocktails is on full display here. One recent run of Signature Series menu items were all named after Wes Anderson movies, and included the Hotel Chevalier, which combined distilled coffee, fresh lime, and coconut cream, all garnished with mint and grated nutmeg. Another option, the Darjeeling Limited, was a mixture of distilled juniper berries, Tanzanian coffee from King State Coffee Roasters, Darjeeling tea, tonic, thyme, and sweet lime. Having a director's cut menu is quintessentially Ifergan.
In addition to the Signature Series, at any given time Dayglow carries coffees from between 10 and 20 roasters, half international and half domestic. Ifergan and his staff blind-cup samples to determine their specific offerings for the week, and stock their shelves and online marketplace with a dizzying variety of options as well.
They have a robust coffee subscription program that allows customers to sample from the Dayglow stable of roasters, and offers varying tiers depending on how much coffee you go through each month. And these are the coffees you want. They've already featured the likes of Koppi Coffee Roasters, The Barn Coffee Roasters, Little Wolf Coffee, Color Coffee Roasters, The Coffee Collective, Drop Coffee Roasters, Hex Coffee, and Madcap Coffee Roasters, to name only a few.
But subscribers have access to more than just amazing coffees. Instead, subscribing to Dayglow gives access to in-house training videos, brewing blogs, and a community on Dayglow's website who share educational materials on topics ranging from coffee-specific brewing methods to theories on extraction and much more. Dayglow's online presence feels more like a publication than a marketplace and acts as both a library for home-brewers as well as a feedback medium for Ifergan and Dayglow's use. By sourcing the opinions of their community, Dayglow can alter their menu, brewing techniques, and coffee selection to suit customer taste.
This kind of customer feedback loop is second nature for Ifergan, who built his success at Portola's Theorem bar on direct interactions between himself and the people he served. Tasting his coffee there was to have an experience in your taste in coffee, but Theorem itself was intimate and dark and comprised of a handful of seats, a black bar, and a sliding glass door.
Dayglow is an evolution of that experience. One that embraces the city it calls home, holds its doors wide open, and lets the light rush in.
David Palazuelos is a freelance contributor. This is David Palazuelos' first article for Sprudge.